DoubleDay’s Double-Down on Dan Brown
Imagine walking into a coffee shop early in the morning before work. You’re hungry and tired because you overslept your alarm by 20 minutes, so you had to skip breakfast. After looking at the menu you order a croissant and a latte. Both come out on time, and taste fine, …
Imagine walking into a coffee shop early in the morning before work. You’re hungry and tired because you overslept your alarm by 20 minutes, so you had to skip breakfast. After looking at the menu you order a croissant and a latte. Both come out on time, and taste fine, like a croissant and latte should. As you’re finishing up the waiter brings you the check, but to his surprise, you politely tell him, (in an email maybe), that “while you appreciated the food and his service you will be taking your hunger and patronage to another café.”
Now I think we can all agree that only a crazy person would do that, but why is okay for Doubleday to have an open call to design the cover of the next Dan Brown (who by the way has an estimated net worth of $178 million) book. Full disclosure, I’ve worked for free, but it was under a strict adherence to a collaborative principle. I learn in direct exchange for my time. Debbie Millman put this relationship well in that:
“What most people don’t seem to realize is that speculative work is not about free work or an ‘opportunity’ for exposure. It is an abuse of power. The ‘client’ or ‘chooser’ has it and the designer has none. The best possible outcomes in design come from a collaboration of ideas and energy and talent.”
Without a doubt, there will be a tremendous amount of exposure for the winner of this design. However, it will come on the heels of thousands of rejected designs that took hours to make, as well as contribute to the devaluation of design in general. The winner will see his or her cover on bookshelves everywhere and can tell their friends “look, I did that,” followed by the inevitable “for free.”
If you’re interested in seeing other posts about book covers, take a peek over here!