Economic recession always creates disruption and change, especially in the creative arena. Disney was founded in the heart of the Great Depression, as Mickey steamed into port to raise the spirits of a nation. The iPod was born out of the sour taste of a bursting dot-com bubble and went on to revolutionise the music industry worldwide.
The recent global recession is no different. Allied to the speed and scale at which technology continues to evolve, there has been a huge shift towards a global resurgence in entrepreneurialism.
In a reaction to recent hard times, more and more individuals are turning their hobbies into businesses and trading globally through the internet whilst also enjoying their working day. There are an estimated 22 million self-employed individuals in the US alone and this number is growing.
Logos with impact
As with any new business, these individuals need beautiful and memorable design to set themselves apart from the crowd. Without the budget for a designer or design agency, these businesses rely on their designer friends (if they are lucky enough to have one) to knock them up a logo for free.
It's usually the last thing on a designers to-do list (I should know – I am one). Failing that, they try to design a logo themselves, usually in Microsoft Word!
The result of this process is that plenty of new and promising businesses are being launched around the world sporting poor design that does nothing for their professional ambitions or reputation.
This insight fuelled my idea for Withoomph.com.
It's an online design toolkit aimed at startup clients with very little budget or design skills, and allows them to create a logo which can then be applied consistently to all brand touch points and channels.
Our competitors either throw complex interfaces at their customers and hope for the best, or they crowdsource amateur designers from around the world, resulting in poor quality work. From a designer's point-of-view, crowdsourcing is one hell of a crowded pitch, where you are sometimes competing against 300 other designers for a mere $200. That's great for clients, but not so good for designers.
Withoomph is different. We have built a system that uses algorithms to create great logo designs instantly, which are simply delivered at the push of a button. The logos are created by combining one or more icons together, as well as colour palettes, typographic elements and shapes.
Withoomph.com aims to build a connected design community that employs a huge team of designers and developers who can build out the product and service these customers worldwide.
We believe the industry is changing dramatically and the shift from traditionally designing through the process to designing the process itself is becoming more evident. Necessity is the mother of invention.
Should enabling technology democratise design? Let us know below...
Darren Hughes is the founder of Withoomph.com and has 18 years experience in creative agencies, specialising in design, advertising and digital.
This article first appeared inside Computer Arts 236: the freelance issue – you'll find the digital edition inside the Computer Arts app.
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