Website wants a new look each week

Businesses are traditionally protective about their branding or identity online, often taking to court those who come even close to manipulating it for their own ends.

But in a nod to Web 3.0, which centres on user engagement and the personalisation of portals, one e-publisher wants its visitors to re-design its landing page every week.

While much of the site’s front-page content will be decided by its owners, its web banner and setting will be under the creative impulse of a user handed its logo.

"The chance to redesign [our] web banner and background is an excellent opportunity for young designers, illustrators and artists", said Creative Boom, outlining its offer.

More than 10 of the most recent user-generated frontages are showcased on the site, providing a neat plug for their creators, and inspiration to those yet to submit a design.

"It really helps the website to stay fresh and original," site editor Katy Cowan told FreelanceUK. "I'm completely comfortable with letting people do whatever they like."

Yet web design is not the only area where Creative Boom - set up in response to the "lack of support" that the state provides creatives - is drawing upon the wisdom of crowds.

In fact, the site's birth in July this year only came about when, working in PR from home, Cowan discovered by using Twitter that other creatives felt her same sense of being left out.

"I knew only too well how lonely it could be, working alone," she said. "In the creative field... we need to be able to bounce ideas off others. It became apparent other creative people were feeling the same."

Today, the 31-year-old still sees the sense in favouring the masses over the few: her site has a team of voluntary contributors who help put together its content.

The most visible face of this crowdsourcing is Boom TV – a type of vlog where all editorial contributors share their thoughts, experiences and ideas on business and creative work.

In return for helping populate and build the site, which Cowan runs in her spare time, contributors get hyperlinked in an archive, helping them drive traffic to their own websites.

This link-building is all the more crucial for self-employed creatives, given that the government of the day is failing to do its bit to help them through the recession.

"What's frustrating is that the creative industries are booming. There just doesn't seem to be any recognition of that fact," Cowan said, responding to questions.

"They [the government] waste hundreds of thousands of pounds, trying to arrange things…but just get too many people involved, over-complicate things and worry too much about elements that don’t matter."

She added: "It's just the normal story with the public sector: 'Too much money, not enough sense.'"


15th October 2009

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