Bumbershoot’s 2009 campaign, as conceived by Seattle’s The New Year design studio.”Imagine

Bumbershoot’s 2009 campaign, as conceived by Seattle’s The New Year design studio.”Imagine if it were attorney’s or contractors: I want you 10 to build me a house and I’ll pay the one that I like.” That, says Jeff Barlow, president of the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, is exactly what Bumbershoot is doing with their contest to find a permanent logo for the annual festival.Each year Bumbershoot commissions a different designer to illustrate an advertising and promotions campaign for the festival, but in celebration of their 40th festival, Bumbershoot brass decided to hold a contest to find a permanent logo for the festival, with the creator of the chosen logo going home with a gold pass to this year’s festival, but no money. The response–most notably in comments on Bumbershoot’s site and on Twitter–from the local graphic arts community hasn’t been positive.”Basically, I think it devalues our whole industry,” says Kevin Gordon, a local freelance designer. “It allows people to get something at a really low value. And the people that are submitting stuff are probably fine with that, and they’re probably not the best people in the industry that you’d want to get work from anyways.”Bumbershoot spokesperson Mikhael Williams says the festival’s not trying to devalue anything. Bumbershoot, Williams says, employs an in-house design manager, and pays a different designer every year to re-imagine the festival in a visual way for their advertising and promotion campaign (as seen above).”I cannot emphasize enough that this was specifically thought of and conceived of as one of the 40 ways to celebrate the 40th festival…and engage the creative community here in Seattle,” Williams said, referencing Bumbershoot’s “40 Ways to Celebrate Bumbershoot” series of events and happenings this summer. “I think if it was a strictly financial issue, we would not be contracting designers, and we would be doing it in-house.”Barlow says money is not the issue here. He says firms like his, jelvetica, do pro bono work. The primary issue at hand, he says, is that working on speculation is going to mean a lot of designers putting in a lot of effort that will ultimately be wasted.”I don’t think there’s anything malicious,” says Barlow, who’s been in contact with Bumbershoot about the issue, and believes the two parties could come to a conclusion that satisfied the festival’s idea and local designers. “I don’t think they’re just trying to be cheap. They just didn’t realize what they had done. They didn’t realize there was a huge contingency of the creative community out there that would oppose this.”Williams says Bumbershoot’s not opposed to talking the issue out further, but she doesn’t expect the festival to change course. Barlow says that if Bumbershoot does go through with the contest, there will be a “firestorm of negative reaction.””Considering the contest has been up for four days and my inbox is full,” he says, “they’ve pushed a button that I really think if they un-pushed would be better for everybody.”