This site was developed to support the Government 2.0 Taskforce, which operated from June to December 2009. The Government responded to the Government 2.0 Taskforce's report on 3 May 2010. As such, comments are now closed but you are encouraged to continue the conversation at

Our design competition

2009 June 22
by Nicholas Gruen

Whilst preparing for the launch of the Taskforce and this website we were looking at a mock up of the site. It looked a little bare. We needed a banner. Then we thought . . . who better to supply the banner than you? So rather than send the job off to the department’s usual designer we thought we’d hold a competition to design a banner for our site, and a logo for the Taskforce.

The prize? Well like a lot of things on Web 2.0, there’s no money involved, just your pride in your work and the opportunity to have that pride vindicated and acknowledged publicly – in short a platform to show the world how good you are! And a platform to express graphically the potential of Government 2.0.

So get to it and good luck!

The fine print

The banner should be 920 pixels wide by 180 high. The logo can be in dimensions of your choosing. For quick loading, the file size of the banner should be no more than 50Ks. Note that the existing banner identifies the site, so your banner should do so too. The file size of your logo should be no more than 500Ks and may not be accepted if it is not. The logo should be provided in a scalable (preferably vector based) or high quality version so it can be incorporated in any potential printed documents. Please use a popular graphics format such as jpeg, png, gif, or psd. If we wish to use your design we’ll be in touch and can sort out any further technical details at that point and not subject to a file size limitation.

You should get entries in by 10 pm Friday 3rd July 2009 after which time they may not be considered.

Whether or not you win the competition, we will take any entry as consent to have the material you submit licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Use licence Australian variant 2.5.*  This entails an implied assertion by you that the work is yours and/or that you have been granted permission to use and licence it under this licence. You further licence us to use the material in the event of us wishing to display or otherwise use the design you submit.

* This entails additional restrictions against commercial use compared with the default licence elsewhere on the site which is Creative Commons Attribution, Australian variant 2.5.

24 Responses
  1. 2009 June 22

    Great to see this initiative being started and particularly the use of open standards. Hope it will learn from -
    - in the US and get as much public data published in raw form as possible
    - publicsphere in AU and avoid central control but provide a directory and links to all open government forums regardless of location on twitter, and elsewhere
    - past taskforces and represent constituents as well as possible (not much SME, very Gov1 and big business focus currently in your membership).

    Good luck and happy to contribute anytime.

    Cheers, Pete (@pc0)

  2. 2009 June 24

    “Whilst preparing for the launch of the Taskforce and this website we were looking at a mock up of the site. It looked a little bare. We needed a banner. Then we thought . . . who better to supply the banner than you? So rather than send the job off to the department’s usual designer we thought we’d hold a competition to design a banner for our site, and a logo for the Taskforce.”

    You freakin’ cheapskates! So instead of paying someone to do the work, or refer it to someone who is already PAID to do the work (your department), you dangle it like a carrot in front of the noses of out-of-work designers like some kind of reward. Grow up and PAY FOR A SERVICE. It’s not as if there’s no cash lying around in your $2.45 million project fund or within the Finance Department. This competition is demeaning and demoralising. Graphic design is a trade based on skill and experience. Stop treating Australia’s tax-paying graphic designers with contempt.

    • 2009 July 1
      Jacques Chester permalink

      I sometimes deal with Nick Gruen, so I probably should have joined the dots on this idea and the Google kerfuffle a few weeks back and warned him myself. But I am not a designer, I’m a code slinger. I guess we don’t have the same bee in the bonnet about design competitions, especially since opensource projects run them all the time without any such apparent controversy.

  3. 2009 June 24

    Maybe we should run a competition based on project management/finance – the prize? Well nothing, but you can give the Gov 2.0 guys all of your great ideas and they can run off with them and get pay rises. Whoo-hoo, show me where to sign!

  4. 2009 June 25

    “logo for the Taskforce.”
    and you will get it! :)

  5. 2009 June 25
    Richard Chan permalink

    The risks of spec work to the individual and the Design community aside, there’s not enough information provided and no mention of specific recognition provided to the successful Designer.

    For example – will changes to the winning banner be requested or does the Designer have full creative control? What kind of recognition is awarded – just a link to the Designer’s site, a link + copy + a photograph, nothing at all? The terms of the arrangement are not sufficiently clear.

    Also please be aware that you’re asking for two seperate and highly-skilled disciplines here – logo design (in Vector no less), and graphic design for web. With all due respect for what the site is attempting to accomplish, that’s a BIG ask requiring a lot of work.

    I’m not saying it’s a bad idea considering the nature of this blog and the fact that you’re trying to do good things which is to be admired, but I’d suggest you make the terms of the competition clearer (including recognition) and you re-phrase your request to acknowledge the considerable amount of skill and time that’s going to be required to create this.

  6. 2009 June 25

    Whilst I understand the 2.0 sentiments, and wholeheartedly wish you and the government all the best with this project—like previous posters—I’d like to voice my opinion that competitions like these are offensive.

    Graphic design is a professional service, and holding or participating in competitions which substitute paying for work with, “the opportunity to have that pride vindicated and acknowledged publicly – in short a platform to show the world how good you are”, is degrading. Do you ask your dentist, mechanic or accountant to do work for free on the off chance that the pride they have in their work may be acknowledged publicly? I doubt it.

    Please treat designers with a little more respect.

  7. 2009 June 26

    How lame, how poorly phrased, and how insulting. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  8. 2009 June 26

    I have to agree with the above comments, especially Dan’s comment. Spec work – even requested with the best of intentions – devalues the entire creative industry.

    And in fact this is even worse than spec work – it’s work-for-free with no promise, or hope of, compensation for the considerable time, effort, creative ability, cost of software, and years of experience required to produce the work.

    Further reading:

    Why logo contests don’t work

    AIGA position on spec work

    Why don’t you engage a professional Designer to assist you? You’re guarenteed to get a much higher quality of work, you’ll know where you stand with regards to owning the work, and you’ll be supporting small business in the Australian economy.

  9. 2009 June 26

    Whilst the logo needs to communicate an access to PSI – anytime, anywhere, on time and as required – and discoverability & searchability – by where, what, who and when (wwww) – to achieve the collaboration required to deliver Gov 2.0 – you need to think outside of Australian Government and a Canberra centric culture. Use the Online and Communication Council structure under COAG as the vehicle for engagement as in our federated model the vast majority of Public Sector data and information is held by the States and Territory Governments. Learn from what the spatial information community in Australia has done and fast track the delivery of Gov 2.0 – a truly joined up governments initiative to be citizen centric.

  10. 2009 June 26
    James permalink

    You cheap buggers!

  11. 2009 June 27

    A big hello from Creative Order, wishing everyone whos entered the competition all the best of luck… To view our submission go to…

    I do agree with some of the comments made above. Although I’m also of the opinion that competition is what makes the world go round… and I think it can be a great avenue for discovering new illustrators artists and designers alike. Some high-profile Designers have previously used winning a competition to springboard their careers and raise their profile. A good example of an illustrator who has recently had a well deserved profile lift is Mike Watt, his stunning work won him the TED 696 brown paper bag competition. See his work and the competition here.

    The team at Creative Order have also been fortunate enough to win a recent competition check it out here…

  12. 2009 June 29
    Jonathan permalink

    Although no design expert ..or creative genius either as a corporate strategist I did work with the global branding team that developed the new brand for GE a few years back. At the time I think GE was in the top 10 of globally recognized brands and the end result of all these efforts – allow the GE monogram to extend beyond its traditional black (as had been the case for 100+ years) to using one of 14 differrent palets. The strategy – keep it simple – keep it fresh.

    So my two cents – leave the banner as it is. It looks good – it is simple and fresh. One thing I learnt about the branding process was eliminate clutter and if Government 2.0 is all about communication – keep it simple as all communication should be. By the way to all those who complained about submitting proposals for the banner/logo competition – I have to say you really do need a lesson in strategy 1.0. Good luck to those design studio’s that just got on with it – they will prosper as they have the right mindset. Remember success is more about attitude than aptitude.

  13. 2009 June 29

    Just a quick note:
    Asking a community that is not yet formed or newly forming to do creative work tends to incite negative comments. There are numerous, large, anti-communities that are opposed to design work being done for free – GoGetFunkd and NoSpec are two that I have seen over the years. Anyone that runs social networks knows that and knows how to handle them. I would’ve advised to wait until you built up a reasonable readership and established tone, values, and a personable voice before asking voters to donate time/services.
    Hope this helps,
    Laurel Papworth @SilkCharm, Social Network Strategist

  14. 2009 June 29
    Designer permalink

    Why am I not surprised? Government organisations are always pulling this scam. Are you honestly telling us with the way the current government is throwing around cash that a cash reward is out of the question? Pathetic, really.

    As another reader mentioned, you don’t get a sense of pride from these things, usually it’s a sense of shame.

  15. 2009 June 30

    Oh wow, what an amazing oppurtunity not to get paid and get your work shown on a website people barely visit.

    The only thing “2.0″ about this is the amount of bullshit people can try and spin to get what they want.

  16. 2009 June 25

    Ray, Helen, Alex and others,

    As a professional who provides services for a fee I understand the risks and costs of doing work on spec, but tenders and proposals are part of the business landscape.

    While not quite on the same scale, the design for Parliament House itself was chosen through a design competition.

    The banner competition is simply intended as an opportunity to participate in a process that will contribute to Australian Society.

    For my reasons for volunteering my time as a member of the Taskforce see my blog post at

  17. 2009 July 1

    Communities can absolutely run competitions as part of events and campaigns. But a blog is not a community, it’s a one -to- many channel. Or in this case, 12-to-many channel. And even if you disagree that a blog is about presenting content to the network for a comment, rather than actual collaboration, a new blog is never going to be seen straight off the bat as community. That takes time.
    Put it this way – imagine a big technology company like Microsoft said they get “open source” and ask the open source communities to create their new products. They would get quite a different response if they do that first, than if they make themselves useful first, then ask for help. In fact it’s the latter that happens in the open source development world.

    This group needs to move fast to proper engagement, on real issues, otherwise it will be perceived as lip service to a trendy subject with fluffy competitions thrown in to appease. That is already happening.

    Oh by the way, metagovernment has very clear strategies around a points system for contribution. Points = value to network therefore = currency. A scoring system in place first would’ve limited the negative comments about the competition as everyone would understand that those who contribute get rewarded with a higher score…

  18. 2009 July 1
    Jacques Chester permalink

    I didn’t look at it that way, but I’m still unsure. I now suspect that even with a well-established taskforce blog community, there’d still be anger that a government-funded taskforce wasn’t stumping up dosh for design.

    Your Microsoft example is imperfect because they’ve burnt so many bridges so thoroughly. Right now there’s furious debate about whether the Mono framework should be included in the Debian distribution. Mono isn’t even Microsoft software, it’s a partly-compatible opensource system based on .NET, which was independently implemented with no impetus from Microsoft. But the very whiff of Microsoft is enough to get people’s hackles up.

    Outside of partisan circles and libertarians, I did not expect to find such hostility to the task force’s invitation. In open source circles the usual answer to people asking to write something is an amused shrug at best, “write it yourself” at worst. I’d be surprised if there were programmers talking about being professionally insulted.

    As a programmer I already get people coming to me with grand ideas for which they propose to split some future earnings 50-50. I politely decline and explain my rate and terms. I don’t find it necessary to accuse them of devaluing me or my work. We didn’t come to terms, life goes on. The fact is that most people just don’t know at all what’s involved in programming. I certainly don’t know what goes into design, but nobody has yet convinced me that it’s so different from other professions that the angry, accusatory campaigning is necessary or justified.

    As for reputation systems, I am wary of them, having seen quite a few getting gamed over the years. In my experience (starting with a <5000 Slashdot user id) it has demonstrated again and again that there is no purely technological solution to a social problem. But I suspect you have more insight on this than I do.

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