Architectural Crowdsourcing: Is it the end of professional design?

There has been a lot of talk (and even more tweets) in the architecture community about “crowdsourcing” and how it may be the end of the architectural and design profession. In a nutshell, crowdsourcing is the concept of making connections between customers (people with a need) and suppliers (people who can fulfill that need) using the Internet. The “crowd” fulfilling the need for the customer typically post their solutions in a contest-like format. The customer then selects the solution that best fits their needs.

The professional design community, e.g. architects, interior designers and landscape architects appear to be divided on the topic as to whether crowdsourcing is good for the industry, or whether it “commoditizes the art form”.

For those that believe their design practices will be commoditized by crowdsourcing and the Internet, our message is simple: “This is not for you. DzineBox and sites like it is for designers who are ready to step into the future of designer-client relationships”.

Crowdsourcing gives home owners a place to purchase quality design for small to medium sized project. Crowdsourcing is not a good platform for designing a 100,000 square foot office park, but it’s a great platform for someone interested in remodeling their kitchen, adding an addition to their house, decorating their living room or landscaping their backyard.

Today, many people wouldn’t consider a professional designer for these projects. Crowdsourcing gives people with home improvement and remodeling projects access to professional designers. The designer can use crowdsourcing sites like DzineBox to supplement their income.

At DzineBox we only allow professional designers to join our design team. We spend time getting to know our designers and vetting the “real” designers from those who simply know how to use Photoshop and AutoCAD. Secondly, we let the home owner and designer choose how they want to interact with. A designer is free to bid on any project anywhere they want. However they are not required to provide a complete design as part of the bidding process. DzineBox helps home owners and designers get to know one another online without having to travel to the designer’s office or the customer’s home.

In the words of Seth Godin, “We can’t please everyone, in fact, we’re not even going to try. Pleasing everyone with our work is impossible. It wastes the time of our best customers and annoys our staff. Forgive us for focusing on those we’re trying to delight.”

We believe this truly embodies our mission. We are design professionals ourselves. We are passionate about what we do. Our proverbial heads are not in the sand. We are going to upset some people. But we also hope to thrill our clients: both home owners and designers alike.