How to fix the broken business model of Pixish

February 12, 2008 at 8:10 pm by in design

In my last post, I complained about how broken the entire web2.0 spec work business model of Pixish was. And I stated how inadequate Derek Powazek’s response was to this critisim.

In this post, I’m gonna offer a couple of ideas on how to change it for the better. Actually, I’m just gonna offer one idea — it’s simple really:

  1. Artists create portfolios/profiles, with pieces tagged for easy searchability.
  2. Potential clients create an Assignment. Ask for what you want and state your price.
  3. Get Portfolio submissions. Artists submit portfolios of their work and counter offers for payment.
  4. Optional: Peer Review. Community voting helps find the best match.
  5. Pick Winners. Select your favorite. Pay initial payment up front.
  6. Client and Artist work together to develop final design/illustration/photo/etc.
  7. Optional: Allow the comp process to be open and allow the community to offer critiques.
  8. Artist gets published and paid.

See wasn’t that easy? It’s no longer spec work and it could even help both creatives and clients. You can keep your voting system (step 4) however frankly I don’t see much benefit there. The real benefit is to make it easy for designers to have their portfolio promoted and allow for them to quickly submit their portfolio to a project.

The open critique system (step 7), I just threw in. Don’t know if it would work but it’s an interesting idea. Might help designers and clients who feel like they are working in a vacuum and butting heads.

I hope Derek Powazek takes some of this and others advice on Pixish. I do think that designers could use a place to promote themselves better. Photographers have Flickr and other sites for promotion of their trade. Illustrators can use flickr too, but it isn’t as useful for them. Of course, illustrators who specialize in drawing furries have DeviantArt.

Designers often just build their own sites. This however makes it difficult for potential clients to find and compare designers styles and experience. It’s even worse for solo individuals, bands, non-profits, and the like who want a simple logo or graphic but don’t have much money. For them a small-time designer with little experience is great, but it’s hard to find people like that.

Connecting clients and creatives is a niche Pixish could fill, and unlike their current web2.0 spec work business model, it’s something I could support.

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  1. i think that a minimum dose of spec work, help a little, i mean, is people who anyways don’t want to pay correctly for a work, and a good designer/illustrator/photgrapher (if you are a beginner can do it, in my opinion) don’t play this game, but the problem is that can devalue the market. this is the great problem of pixish, is a potential enormous spec work machine.

    i agree totally the point that pixish not help to promote your work. personal and collective websites, flickr, blogs and even Deviantart do.

    ahhaha true! and anime fanart. and general crappy fanart too. but they are good works there too.

  2. Great well reasoned post. You’ve presented a much more valuable solution to the “problem” that Pixish seems to want to address.

  3. What about sites like or They take a “design contest” approach which empowers clients more so than professionals but it does connect clients and creatives nonetheless.

  4. @Immotion Design contests are kinda the ugly cousin of Spec Work. Not really a good thing per say but at least it’s more upfront about it. Speaking of which, Derek has come out to say that Pixish is basically just a contest site too.