Project Board

11 months ago from , Community Manager at Designer News

Starting this week, we’re once again partnering with Crew to help connect DN members with design/development projects within the community. Call it a win-win to both help and support those friendly faces you see online everyday.

Say hello to the DN Project Board.

There are two ways to get involved:

Submit a Project

Whether you need help building an app, website, logo, print project, or something else, getting started is easy…

  1. Submit your project to our Designer News Network
  2. Get an automatic budget recommendation
  3. Designer News' handpicked professionals will come to you

Apply to Work

Or, if you’re a designer or developer that can help with said projects above, apply today!

Questions?

Send them to max@designernews.co or, see the Crew FAQs.

20 comments

  • Jon MyersJon Myers, 11 months ago (edited 11 months ago )

    I hope this doesn't turn into Fiverr or 99Designs.

    On first glance, this seems very down market for both Crew and DN. At least the way the projects look as they are presented.

    The projects look like they have not been vetted at all and are presented poorly.

    It appears that there is a complete lack of critical thinking necessary to solicit designers for projects.

    "Designs can be based on our current app" - Yayyy, let's throw wallpaper in the air and see what sticks to the app.

    Yes, there are declared budgets that might look impressive to some. In reality, the project descriptions read like "we want a coding, designing, illustrating unicorn to help us out with some kinda design, uhh, stuff, cards, apps, logos, magazine, stuff".

    Thus, your effective hourly rate as a designer could easily sink to $5 - $10/hour with the way these read in favor of the Scope Creeps.

    Conversely, you're doing those submitting the projects a disservice by not pushing for more clarity and scope of what these projects entail, what are the actual deliverables, and thus, as these read, they will lead to client disappointment.

    14 points
    • Duncan RussellDuncan Russell, 10 months ago

      Thus, your effective hourly rate as a designer could easily sink to $5 - $10/hour with the way these read in favor of the Scope Creeps.

      This was exactly my thought when checking the ads. If I was replying to a request for work from someone I've never met, I'd in the very least expect a proper briefing document before I could decide whether I'd take up the job.

      1 point
    • Mikael Cho, 11 months ago

      Appreciate your thoughts here Jon. To be clear, we have no intention for this to ever be something like Fiverr or 99Designs.

      For project summaries, the goal is to give a high level overview of the project and a general budget range. If it looks interesting, you're then able to engage directly with the client for more details on the scopes, determine final deliverable assets and negotiate a final budget.

      While I agree we need to have accurate project summaries to vet projects properly, we also want to involve the designer working on the project in this process. Every designer brings their own unique processes and perspectives to a project. And everyone benefits when those are brought to the table. At this stage, if we dictate exactly what and how each project should be delivered, it leaves the designer's voice out of the process.

      The goal is that you know you're applying to a project where the client has agreed to a $10,000 budget, as opposed to a $1,000 budget so you can better decide which projects are right for you to pursue and where to spend your time.

      I'm not sure I see the current project summaries as reading like they're looking for a unicorn.  One project is for an logo mark design and the other is for the UX/UI design for an application.  Neither involve coding or much cross disciplinary skills.

      At Crew our average project size is $10,000 and every project is reviewed by a human. We try to go as deep as possible to get a ballpark estimate and vet potential clients. While finalizing the estimate and scope still comes from the designer, this process has been shown to keep project budgets from being a race to the bottom as negotiations are focused on skills and ideas rather than who can propose the smallest budget.  

      Not every project is going to be the right fit for everyone - we know that.  But we are trying to make it easier to find the ones that are.

      Thanks again for the thoughts Jon. If you have more suggestions, I'm all ears.

      13 points
      • Jon MyersJon Myers, 11 months ago (edited 11 months ago )

        Hi Mikael,

        Thanks for jumping in and providing such a thoughtful response.

        I’m competing for the most prolific commenter award here, so let me respond in kind. lol :)

        I’m sure you sense my sarcasm, but just to be clear as well, I don’t think it will become something like Fiverr or 99Designs.

        It was simply a dramatic way of emphasizing how this effort looks very downmarket, cheap, off-brand and off-mission of creating products of excellence that achieve market fit and successfully serve humans.

        I did indeed see the two project briefs that were there.

        There was a third one previously, which is gone now, that contained some of the references you cited.

        So, I’ll take the bait and allow me to bang on what is there.

        ::Pressing the Button:::...

        Neither of the two briefs actually mean much, if anything. They’re a few sentences of product psycho-babble.

        *Designer for a logo

        Yes, perhaps that is more legible in terms of scope, however, then again, maybe it’s not. It sounds more like the the redefinition of a brand, and visual system to support that brand, and perhaps not just a logo. Otherwise, why not just head over to 99Designs and let the Graphic Junk Monkeys throw loads of those literal, vertical stacked hunks of pixel poo at the logo beauty pageant wall so the inmates can vote it up.

        Maybe there are more details after signing up and reviewing the brief.

        The briefs don’t beg inspection. I suspect the only motivation is for those moved by the budget number.

        I would at least give the project owner the respect of forcing them to be clearer here or otherwise, you’re doing them a disservice.

        *Designer needed for an Apple iOS app

        First there is zero mention of what type of “design” is needed. We have inferred UX/ UI in this instance. Again, maybe there is more behind the wall, but nothing about the brief suggests anyone knows what the hell they’re doing.

        This string of four-sentences brief has the immediate dank stank of a middle-man who has the relationship, who is making a high-profit off the work someone else is doing, for doing little.

        I spot a gap in language, which red flags it - - - “re-design of an app” - - - “our current app.” I’m channeling a vision of someone with a relative, spouse or parent who is awarding this work.

        Prove me wrong. It’s fishy AF.

        “Need a smooth ticketing system designed”

        Okie dokie, one “smooth ticketing system” coming right up. I’m ze smoothiest of smooth ticketing designers let’s geterrrr done boys. Fire up the smooth ticketing creation rigs gitttt ur hubs going, we gonna ride dis bus smooth AF.

        “better account management features”

        Ahh yes, yes, indeed, my crystal ball is channeling “better” at this very moment. Wait, wait, I see it. I’m pretty sure! We got it!

        Damn it, the better mirage faded. I’ll find “better” sometime, promise. I think we’ll have “better” in a week or so, lemme holla atcha ya’ll.

        This brief is not the talk of someone very close to a problem. This is the language of off-loading cognitive processing.

        What the actual fuck does “smooth” and “better” mean in this case?

        Smooth as a baby’s ass, smooth as silk, smooth sailing - Sade the midnight bus driver known as Smooth Operator, who you can follow in real-time and process e-commerce transactions with whereby you can buy Smooth Operator gear and clothing for your friends and family.

        I’ll tell you what they mean, absolutely nothing, zero. Zilch, nada.

        It’s a load of deflective horse-shit.

        Nobody knows because it’s a load of abstract, incoherent bullshit to off-load the heavy duty thinking on designers.

        Someone was too lazy to think it through and they want designers to think it through for them, for free, because they have a promise of a vetted big budget. Ohh, and designers can compete to form these requirements and might when the lottery of the big budget posted in return.

        Fuck that noise.

        This is perhaps a digital product of many consequences. On the user side, this (apparently, based on the tea leaves displayed) could have a lot of consequences that must be considered. Consequences that the project owner has to consider, legibly define and consequences the designer/ design team iterate against to establish further legibility.

        Force the project owner to be clearer about these details or tell them and their budget to take a hike. Everyone is wasting their time.


        Understanding Why

        I’m trying to understand why.

        It feels like a glorified job board where the designers compete in a horse race of free work to wrap up spec (not design process, I’m talking basic requirements) around that budget figure, and project owners will be disappointed because you weren’t firm enough about gathering details up front.

        Clarity: Make it or Break It

        Thus, it breaks down to one thing - Clarity, lack of clarity causes conflict, misunderstandings and project breakdown.

        The quest for clarity must start with the project owner, and you all, Crew as the hosts, at the very beginning of creating a digital product. You have to insist on it from the project owners, force them to write down basic requirements, describe it in practical language, guide them through it and then solicit the input and refinement of developers and designers.

        We don’t know or might not have access to the business logic that we are determining. Going back to this casual lil’ $10,000 app for a bus line with sprinkles of ecommerce and ticketing. The business logic implications alone and thus, impact on the designer/ developers time to work that out on their behalf to bid against could add enormously.

        Paper Chasers in Da Hizzzouse

        On this note of clarity, the push for clarity filters out ‘some’ of the dumb money chasing the product game. I see a vantage point of your world that maybe you see, maybe you don’t, but regardless, many see it. I know and appreciate Crew serves a wide range of customer personas. Including some prestigious corporate customers. That’s awesome.

        However, allow me to describe one significant persona that you are serving, which is the elephant in the room.

        As stocks and other asset classes deliver disappointing returns, the app game, the Saas game, the digital property game has become a new asset class. There is a lot of clueless money chasing digital products in search of higher returns at the moment because they heard about a friend of a friend stacking digital product cash.

        Doctors with app ideas, real estate moguls who want to shift some money into an “app idea”, rich industrial age daddies who want to “buy their kid an app” to give them something to keep them busy and earn cash flow.

        I’ve seen the trail of tears behind those efforts more times than I care to count. One look at Product Hunt spews of effort everyday is Chicken Soup for the App Soul. Fun, some kids are just hacking stuff together, awesome, I love seeing it. Others are tossing out incoherent frankenstein minimum viable pieces of shit on a shingle and chasing dattttt paperrrrrr.

        Product: Third Time is a Charm

        Of course, some do have incredible breakouts. We live in a hits driven business, but we can do more to set project owners up for and digital product teams for success.

        The commonality of the breakouts of this persona that I see. Often, they’ve had to build the product three times over. Often, they are high-up in their respective vertical world, successful as domain experts in fitness, trucking, yoga, music, advertising, sales, and so on.

        The Expert’s Frankenstein Game

        Often, they Frankenstein da Fuck outta their initial product development efforts, because they know everything. Everyone is too chicken-shit to tell them that bolting a bunch of crowdsourced, social, mobile, location, fucking shit and cliches together a la metaphor meets Facebook meets Uber meets Snapchat with gameification, digital currencies is not that clever, is stupid and pre-determining failure.

        They tried it with a cheap team in a developing country, because it’ll be easy, right, fucking failed it. They tried it with a high-priced pro who was collecting checks and nodding their head in agreement, fucking failed. Then, if they’re lucky, they finally met someone and a team that told them no and forced them to focus on one thing, not ten fucking things.

        Crew: Insist on Clarity and Create the Tools to Gain It

        Again, to emphatically state, a designer should not work for free trying to read the tea leaves of someone with an idea or vague brief to form the requirements. This is where you all come in.

        Absolutely insist on more coherency, specifics and definitions up front - not at the expense of the designer.

        If the project owner cannot describe their product, how in the hell can we design it.

        I do this with all prospects that approach.

        The Product Clarity Quest

        I’ll start in the with a customer in abstraction, fine.

        Yaaaayyyyy we have an idea. Yeehawwww!

        We’re flying kites with keys in lightening storms, climbing to the rooftops screaming innovation, we be flashing lightbulbs, Skype calling, shisha smoking, throwing glitter in the air like we don’t care, bean bag chairs, post its, sharpies, ping pong tables, sketchpads, white boarding shit, going and flowin chart, where they flows and goes nobody knowssssss.

        Thx Obama.

        We wax in it, we frolic about the idea in the abstraction - and it’s the top of the funnel, then we get specific as fuck. The bottom of the funnel.

        I have a document (now experimenting with Dropbox paper for this one) that lights this spark.

        Steal this, The Product Clarity Quest: https://paper.dropbox.com/doc/The-Big-Idea-AFzZXszaND4HAZWhvuqJE

        Overall Project Estimation Process

        If the prospect is willing to do some work and take the quest, I’m willing to assist in gathering requirements, but it is on them - not me.

        Describing your idea is not “the design process” as far as I’m concerned. It’s just - having an idea.

        1. Product Clarity Quest - should this product even exist, why. They have to come to that conclusion - not me. I don’t have to live with this baby, they do. It’s their money. Does the product idea solve pain, entertain and delight to the point where humans at a significant level of impact or scale will pay attention, invest their time and maybe give up their money? How close are they to the problem? Are they another LeanStartup Survey Monkey or are they right next to the problem and human we’re serving - Great - move to step two.

        2. Requirements - this goes in Google Sheets. The customer, not me, has to be able to think through what screens may be needed to capture their idea and what they expect to happen. Yes, yes, I know there will be more, things forgotten, but - they/ someone on their end, will likely have to support the product with all kinds of business logic and logistics. This document forms the basis of our understandings and binds us in a contract. “This is what we agreed on.” - We can see its revision history, have some latitude with changes and have a finite end point.

        Reacting and Estimating

        My Time: Maybe an hour at most. Why, the request has clarity and we have agreed on scope.

        • Trello Board & Gantt Chart - shout out to Elegant, their Trello plugin for generating gantt charts is dope. A plan, what a concept. We take the requirements, we onboard them in my system for Trello, we are then able to legibly draft a time and cost estimate against these deliverables - because we can see them. - The prospect gains a better idea of “what” they are getting, how we arrived at the timelines and cost. If they agree to the proposal, we are ready to go. They’re already in the system. This also gives “finite” dates and consequences so the project doesn’t languish as the never ending project.

          • Proposal: High Level Vision - Sketch, PDF - I don’t play the design as decoration dog and pony show, spec. However, you want to have something to give the prospect so they can understand that you get it, have a vision and it’s a more aesthetically pleasing way to deliver the burning questions of why you, your design process, timeline and cost. It shows “your style” - this - - - finally, eases into the design process. Bout, damn time.

        Sent to Prospect

        Proposal email with a brief introduction. A link to a proposal “Quick Start Guide” - a one pager with links to - High Level Proposal, Requirements in Google Sheets so we know what we’re agreeing on, Trello project board with timelines so they can dig into the details, and next steps defined with links to a contract to sign against the requirements once they are locked. Finally, an invoice is generated against the contract, which once paid, work will commence.

        The Design Process

        So, indeed, everyone has their “process” their secret sauce, their recipes for design. Like I said, I just do not see how this particularly process prepares all parties for success and I don’t equate being able to vet and articulate a product/ business idea as “the design process” - that happens first.

        You will be surprised

        So, if you decided to hop abroad the Ramble Railroad with me, you will be surprised. I actually REALLY LOVE your company. I’ve never worked with you all, but know people that have - and have heard great things.

        Further, I’ve been admiring your marketing from a distance.

        Don’t believe me, here’s proof - I was citing your marketing as inspiration here in a private community:

        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10051350/crew-idea.png

        I love what you’re doing with marketing, I see it. I just don't get this one.

        That is - of course - longer, more than you expect. That’s how I roll.

        Also, probably not what you expect - my time investment here - on this - is minimal. It rolls out.

        Peace my friend,

        -j

        1 point
  • Jonathan PoritskyJonathan Poritsky, 11 months ago

    Congrats! This looks fun. Maybe someone will be looking for some motion graphics :-)

    4 points
  • Kristaps Elsins, 11 months ago

    Is it just me or others too find review process veeeerrryyy slow. I have my profile 100% complete and "pending review" more than two months now.

    3 points
    • Jj MoiJj Moi, 11 months ago

      same here

      1 point
    • Kris KimKris Kim, 11 months ago

      Hm my process was quicker but they dropped me out due to inactivity. Whenever I applied for some projects, there were absolutely no response, whatsoever, making me wondering if something wrong with my profile or something..

      0 points
    • Maxwell Lind, 11 months ago

      Kristaps, jj, Rowdy - following up with Crew to get some clarification on your review. Did you all signup via DN?...or through Crew directly?

      0 points
    • Michael SaccaMichael Sacca, 11 months ago

      Kristaps, JJ & Rowdy, Michael from Crew here, I lead our Partnerships.

      I'm really sorry this has been our experience. Were you applying to Crew or to the Designer News network?

      Either way, shoot me an email directly - michael@crew.co and I'll get you setup.

      0 points
  • John PJohn P, 11 months ago (edited 11 months ago )

    How many more revenue streams does this site need?

    It's just a simple forum with less than 50 posts a day? QBN managed to run for 14 years with a single small banner ad and is still pushing way more posts a day than here.

    3 points
    • Benjamin Digman, 11 months ago (edited 11 months ago )

      FWIW, I'd support as many revenue streams as they can manage without it negatively impacting the site experience. It was not that long ago that we almost lost this community due to lack of revenue so if they can up the income without turning this into a digital billboard farm, I'm all for it.

      3 points
      • John PJohn P, 11 months ago

        It was not that long ago that we almost lost this community due to lack of revenue

        My point was more that the amount of traffic this site serves this should never be an issue. Something is implemented really carelessly if this actually takes serious money to run.

        0 points
  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, 11 months ago

    Link is broken for me.

    0 points
  • Jeff WittersJeff Witters, 11 months ago (edited 11 months ago )

    Hopefully they will keep the $85 projects to crew.co site instead of wasting peoples time here. Then again pigs may fly first....

    0 points