Spec Watch

Raw numbers - Crowdspring

Like most design contest sites, Crowdspring features some basic statistics on their home page - the number of designers (referred to as 'creatives'), current number of open contests, number of overall design submissions and the average number of submissions per 'project'. The one notable difference with most other design contest sites is that Crowdspring does not feature a running tally of 'award money'.

At the SXSW panel debate in March, a Crowdspring founder did offer this insight:

"Crowdspring, in 10 months has escrowed over a million dollars in awards, and has paid out $750,000.00 in awards."

It is impossible to extrapolate that figure up to today's date. However, like their competitor 99designs, we can perform some basic arithmetic and work out some very rudimentary statistics of our own. Figures were accurate at time of notation.

"4,444 projects to date"

Whether this figure includes refunded contests is unknown.

"341,838 entries to date"

That would include logos, website design page concepts, brochure layouts, stationery packages, etc. if every contest has been awarded, and the final design is considered as the one that wins that actually wins, there were approximately 334,394 designs submitted to Crowdspring for which no compensation was ever received.

If, on average, each submission took 1 hour (not unreasonable once we average complete time required from reading the contest brief, developing a concept, development and sourcing, creation and uploading to the Crowdspring server) that represents a total of approximately 334,394 hours.

That is the equivalent of 38 years of unpaid designer time.

if we account for the various differences in artwork type (ie: a website page submission may take several hours or more) that number is substantially higher. If we average out the average hourly wage down to $10 per hour (an unrealistically low figure but simple for calculation) that represents an amount that's close to $3,343,940 of unpaid man hours.

Yes. That figure is somewhere in the region of three million dollars.

If we were adjust to realistic hourly rates, that figure would increase significantly. Even if we assume that every winning design had 4 preliminary designs before selection, that still amounts to 319,618 design entries for which no compensation was ever received and the calculations can be reworked accordingly. Unpaid man hours 319,618. At average 1 hour per design at $10 per hour, that still represents over three million dollars worth of unpaid designer time.

The average number of submissions per contest works out to approximately 77 per 'project', roughly ten less than 99designs' 87 per contest.

"29,689 creatives"

We have no information on how many 'active' designers are actually entering Crowdspring 'projects'. If there are 29,689 active designers, that means an individual would have about a 14.9% chance of winning anything. However, it's highly unlikely there are 29,689 active designers and that figure probably represents the number of user accounts that have been opened since Crowdspring's launch last year.

If every individual designer on Crowdspring had entered and won 1 contest, that would mean that 25,245 designers have submitted work to Crowdspring without any compensation. We know that some designers win multiple contests, while others never win any, so it is difficult to extract any real data.

We can, however, play with what we have.

Let's say, for sake of argument, that all winning designers have won an average of three 'projects' each. That works out to a total of 1,481 winning designers.

That would mean that 28,208 designers have spent a collective 38 years worth of design time, submitting 319,618 designs and contributing labor that is very conservatively estimated as being worth three million dollars.

Without ever receiving a penny for those efforts.

While the numbers are significantly lower than 99designs, it's worthwhile to note that Crowdspring launched in May of 2008, while 99designs has been in business for several years longer, having been formed out of Site Point design contests (and possibly conflating those statistics with their own).

Updated: New information and statistics have been published on Crowdspring website. See Crowdspring by the numbers update for more details.

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