News: New York technology firm Squarespace has published a statement slamming criticism that its new service for creating logos demeans the role of the graphic designer.
Following the launch of Squarespace Logo last week, designers took to Twitter to express their views on the online design tool, with some branding it as "disgusting" and "one giant F U to entire design community".
The furore provoked Squarespace founder Anthony Casalena to post an addendum to a statement on the project's blog, explaining its position regarding the importance of professional graphic designers:
"We've seen a number of comments online about Squarespace Logo being positioned as a replacement for professional designers," the statement read. "Squarespace Logo is a basic tool for individuals and small businesses with limited resources to create a simple identity for themselves. It is not a replacement for the brand identity a professional designer can craft and deserves to be compensated for."
"We expect Logo, much like Squarespace itself, to drive more people to appreciate the importance of design, leading to increased demand for professional creative services," the statement continued. "Similarly, the fees generated by Squarespace Logo are used in part to compensate the graphic designers who contribute their work."
Squarespace, which launched in 2004 as a service for developing simple websites based on standard templates, teamed up with online icon database The Noun Project to create the new logo design tool.
It allows users to choose from a range of over 7000 basic icons and manipulate them to their own specifications, adding text, changing colours, proportions and the alignment of the various components to produce a logo that can be used on websites, business cards and other branded material.
The vector icons that are available on the site are submitted by graphic designers, who are credited on the interface page and receive a royalty every time their icon is specified for a project.
Once customers have designed their logo they can download a high resolution version for commercial use by paying $10. The service is free to existing Squarespace customers.
Reaction on Twitter ranged from outrage about the tool seeming to oversimplify the process of brand identity creation, to support for Squarespace's attempt to make graphic design more accessible to novices.
"At first I kind of thought everyone was overreacting about #squarespacelogo until I saw how much of a mockery it makes of my profession," said a tweet from @carolineroyce.
"Honestly, if you’re worried that #squarespacelogo will replace your line of design work, you must not be that good at design," countered @gburnham.
Critics who published articles about the issue are largely in favour of the way the service enables users with little knowledge of graphic design to produce simple and attractive logos, while recognising that brand identity is a specialist skill that remains the domain of professional designers.
"Squarespace's Logo service isn't in competition with the work of good designers," said Tom Actman of Creative Review. "It's merely a (pretty good) creative tool to help those visualise their own ideas."
Tina Roth Eisenberg of graphic design blog Swiss Miss added: "Am I super thrilled that [Squarespace] are saying 'anyone can design a great logo', not really, but that's not the point. Their logo builder is not much different than a tool like Adobe Illustrator."