On Friday we posted a design contest asking readers to submit logos for developer Rocco Termini’s latest restaurant creation – Dog é Style. The contest brought about a backlash from the professional design community suggesting that the developer was being cheap and that Buffalo Rising should know better than participating in such a scheme. In hindsight, maybe we should have posted some more information regarding how the contest came about, but at the time we were not aware that there would be such a negative response.
Months ago Rocco suggested to me that he thought that the fun restaurant name deserved to have equally fun participation from the community at large. Instead of having his in-house design team come up with a logo, the developer wanted to open the floodgates and see what the community could come up with as a humorous exercise. He told me that he felt that our readers would want to play along. It was not about “being cheap” at all, despite what some people are saying.
For anyone that knows Rocco’s sense of humor, you know what direction this was intended to go. It was the jocular name of the restaurant that brought about the idea for a logo contest. Rocco has design professionals, from architects to engineers and interior designers, in the office with him that he pays to handle his creative endeavors. If there was going to be a logo designed by a professional, the team would have done it in house, just as they did for Tappo.
The point of the contest was to invite participation from a wide variety of people, from design students to artists with a sense of humor, to someone with a witty imagination and access to Photoshop. This was not intended to be a slap in the face for the design community – the $200 sum was solely based on a “Thanks for Playing” premise, not a way to skirt design fees. Obviously it did not come across that way in the end.
After the contest took a turn for the worse, I spoke to members of Rocco’s design team who told me that they had been looking forward to designing the logo, but also understood that Rocco wanted to engage the public. They told me that Rocco was adamant that the public design exercise be a part of the program, that it would be a stitch, and that it would bring about a mischievous Buffalo spirit. Obviously that was not the end result, and a lesson has been learned about engaging the community in matters that should be handled by professional designers, i.e. ones that are already retained to work on said developer’s projects.
For those who did send in logos, or who are intending to send in logos, Rocco thanks you for your participation. For anyone who took offense at the contest, we apologize for being insensitive to the talented graphic designers who comprise Buffalo’s professional design community. The intent was not to deliver a low blow, but merely to have some fun.