It's long, but well worth the read. Plus Dan Apparatus makes an appearance.
The whole issue of spec work / contests / crowdsourcing is an old saw we pull out here on GeePee every couple weeks. This might add to the conversation, or it might just be yet-another-blog-entry. In either case, it raises some good points.
Personally, I'm conflicted. I don't want clients who are looking for a $50 logo. I don't make those kind; the last branding project I worked on billed five figures and was 'worth' a lot more than what some kid with a stolen copy of Photoshop Elements could muster. At the same time, as those pretend-designers grow legion it changes the perception of what design is supposed to do and what the value is. In sum, stupid work makes for stupid clients.
Good read indeed. As someone who hires the designer/artist, I would love to only hire the cream of the crop artist-wise and pay them top dollar, but budgets & artist's availability always creep into the equation. If I could, I would hire Arik Roper, Justin Hampton, EMEK, Daniel Danger, Tyler Stout, Jermaine Rogers, Jeral Tidwell (yes these are the guys I'm dying to do business with) et al for the bulk of the 50-75 posters I do a year, but sometimes the economics don't work cause we don't sell the posters at the show - we give them away to the fans as they're exiting. That's why for me, it really works when the artist can accept the ability to sell the posters themselves in lieu of their full rate. Plus, usually there isn't the budget to pay a meaningful fee for a poster for a band that's playing at a club.
that being said, I'm grateful I've gotten to work with amazing artists like Moctezuma, Ken Taylor, Mike Davis at Burlesque of North America, Mark Sgarbossa, Vance Kelly, Craig Varian, Mile 44, Zebulon Love, Julie Hill, Stephan Walter, Rhys Cooper, Kyle Baker, Gavin at TinyLittleHorse and am looking forward to our future work together.