I'm a designer for a large company. One day, a freelancer we often worked with sent me a heads up that they had found a suspicious project brief on one of those "design contest" websites (red flag #1).
I went to the contest website, and saw that this client wanted a label designed for a product that was similar to my company's Product A (red flag #2). No big deal, though. We have plenty of competitors in that space.
I looked at the assets the client had provided, and discovered that their logo looked very "inspired by" my company's logo (red flag #3). Same colors and lockup.
Then, I opened the client's creative brief, and beheld a word document with just two photos:
- My company's Product A, with arrows directing designers to text they should replace with the client's company info.
- My company's Product B, with a "change color scheme to this label" next to it.
Shaking my head at the cluelessness of some people, I couldn't help but peek at the designs that had already been submitted. There were eleven, and every single one of them looked like a bootleg version of Product A. I had a good laugh and then called the legal team.
I can't help but feel bad for the designers who took the time to work on this, since none of them are going to be paid. Last I checked, the contest page was blank except for "This contest is locked because [client] has asked for a refund."