Monday, February 14, 2011

Essex Studios Opens Logo Contest Rather Than Pay for Art

Logo contests have become a rather popular tool of marketing on the cheap. These contests promise artists recognition (for winning a contest?), an audience, but almost never money. I've seen a number of non-profit organizations and for-profit companies use this tool as a way to save money. In the end, companies and organizations own a logo for which they didn't have to pay. The benefit to the artists is nothing more than being able to say, "See that? I designed it....for free."

As unfortunate as it seems, I've come to expect such strategies to avoid paying artists for their work here in Cincinnati. But even in this pool of cynicism, I was disappointed to learn Essex Studios has just opened a call for submissions to a logo contest.

Essex rents studio space to artists and has events like Art Walks, in which artists can participate for a fee. With access to artists and artist's money, I would think Essex Studios would consider switching things up a bit and pay an artist for designing a logo.

Since when does supporting the arts mean artists supporting us?


Ned Stern said...

Good points about getting free art. This also reminds me that, about once a month, I get approached to donate a painting for a charity art auction. These are always for a good cause and I generally donate on a selective basis once or twice a year.

These donations, however, can represent more of a loss to the artist, than just the donation. As an accountant explained to me, the artist cannot deduct the retail cost of the painting on his/her Federal and/or State taxes. The only deduction allowed is the for cost of materials.

The second loss is more indirect. In many cases, the auction price paid is less than the art work would have sold for in a retail enviorment. This, in turn, can affect how the public views the value of the artist's body of work.

There are some progressive organizations that will buy the art from the artist, for a discounted price. They then auction it with the starting bid somewhat higher than the discounted price. This allows the artist to at least get paid a bit more than just the cost of materials.

I am in no way suggesting that artists shouldn't donate their work. It feels good to give. They should, however, be aware of the other factors.

VisuaLingual said...

Wow, this is disappointing.

custom logo design said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

Unknown said...

I stumbled across your blog as I search for logo contests - honestly. I thought this was a great way for me to help out an art student at the local college. If a student wins for a doodle completed in minutes and pockets (looks like anywhere between $150-$500.00) the prize that is good. I bet that same artwork ends up on a resume and I bet that is the first person I call when I need art again. I'm just starting a business, I am the whole company. Little guys need logos too so it's my wifes cousin, The Artist (cause he's done jail time for grafitti), or me. Those are my options. Or spend what I can where I can feel better about it. Is a logo art? Maybe I should have asked that first. Rono

Kate Boone said...

Found this post doing research for an upcoming event.

As an Essex Studio artist and a designer, I would have to disagree with your choice of people to make a statement regarding contests.

The money that is raised by the "guest artists" for the Art Walks is spent entirely on the promotion of the Art Walk itself. There is none left-over with which to pay a designer for a logo.

Second, most of the people who submitted were resident artists or those who are frequently guest artists. Both benefit from having Essex presented in the best possible light and are more than happy to contribute what they can to that task.

And that is the point. I researched many studio spaces before acquiring one at Essex and I can say without a doubt that you get the most "bang for you buck" there. If they need to save a few dollars here and there to continue to provide space at a reasonable cost. . . More power to them!