Round table: Discussing the PortlandOnline contest, the Portland design community, and spec work

When the City of Portland decided to launch a design contest this week for the redesign of PortlandOnline, they tried to avoid some RFP entanglements. Unfortunately, that decision had them offering a link from the site to the winning designer—instead of a cash prize or contract.

Well, members of the Portland graphic design and Web design community responded. And it wasn’t favorable. Because the contest carried with it the strong stench of spec work.

Now, the Portland AIGA is working to bring the graphic design and Web design community together to discuss the whole PortlandOnline issue and potential next steps for the community.

Heather Dougherty left a comment about the round table on the original spec post, but I felt it would be wise to raise it as a post, itself.

AIGA is hosting (and moderating) a roundtable discussion between many of the local professional design orgs and we invite you all to attend to witness and participate in the conversation. Admittance is free and open to all, though for capacity reasons we’ll need to limit it to around 60. The City is unfortunately unable to attend this first gathering on such short notice, but is busy assessing their calendar in order to schedule the next meeting. They are very open to discussing the matter with us but simply cannot attend tomorrow. We hope this won’t deter YOU from attending. The discussion promises to be lively and informative regardless.

“We should make very clear that this is NOT intended to be an AIGA-centered event, but rather a forum for the entire creative community,” said Eric Hillerns in an email. “AIGA Portland felt that it was necessary to facilitate a meeting while the issue was fresh and we realized an opportunity to bring Portland’s respective organizations and voices together.

“[We] will pose questions that aim to target the individual positions of participating associations and individuals… positions on spec, ‘crowdsourcing,’ lack of project specification, user experience and accessibility, technical complexities… [We’ll also be looking to] share ways in which the city might approach this differently.”

If you’re interested in attending—and it would be great to have the Web design community there in force—the event will be held this afternoon (Tuesday, July 21) beginning at 4 PM at Souk.

For more information or to RSVP, see the Town Hall on Upcoming.