Sunday January 18, 2015

Logo contest: engagement or exploiting free work?

(CBC)

Listen 5:20

A logo contest for Canada's 150th birthday has some professional designers accusing the federal government of trying to get free labour from young Canadians. 

The contest is open to Canadian residents 18 and over. The winner will receive $5,000 for their efforts, but according to Graphic Designers of Canada president Adrian Jean, they will hand over all legal rights to the design.

"It's really exploiting that desire in students to participate in something that they've wrapped the Canadian flag in and say that it's a big celebration and really there's nothing to celebrate here, it's a speculative logo contest," says Jean.

'It's really exploiting that desire in students to participate in something that they've wrapped the Canadian flag in and say that it's a big celebration and really there's nothing to celebrate here, it's a speculative logo contest.' - Adrian Jean

Jean says the contest is an unfortunate example of history repeating itself. He points out that in the leadup to Canada's Centennial celebrations, the government held a similar design competition. But when the entries were deemed to be of poor quality, the government turned to professional designer Stuart Ash, who created the iconic Centennial leaf logo.

Ash has also raised concerns about the contest. "I believe that the approach by the Government to our sesquicentennial in 2017 does not address Canada's stature and sophistication as being a world-class society and global leader," he said in a media release.

'Our government is proud to engage students in Canada's history and we've done so through the Canada Day Poster Challenge, and the Canada History Awards. We have tremendous faith in our youth's creative excellence.' - Canadian Heritage Statement

But Canadian Heritage maintains that the contest is in keeping with the spirit of the celebration. "The Canada 150 Logo Challenge is an effort to engage youth in Canada's history and to encourage them to celebrate our country's birthday. In an email to The 180, Len Westerberg of Canadian Heritage wrote, "Our government is proud to engage students in Canada's history and we've done so through the Canada Day Poster Challenge, and the Canada History Awards. We have tremendous faith in our youth's creative excellence."  

Photo credit: woody1778a