We are excited to announce a Behance talent audition to identify five designers that will be commissioned to update the look and feel of USV’s identity. You can find a detailed design brief at Behance. We have decided on a network-based approach, leveraging our portfolio company Behance’s design community, because it is a natural fit with networks as our central investment thesis and our rethinking of USV.com as more of a network.
Rather than spec work, we are using Behance to conduct a talent audition based on existing work first and will then commission five designers. This means that everyone creating new work for this project will be compensated — not just the one winner who will carry out our complete brand identity. This model has a storied tradition, dating at least as far back as the design competition for the dome of the Florence Cathedral. We believe that it strikes the right balance between open access and properly valuing the work of all participating designers.
Central to our overall investing thesis is the belief that the internet enables the creation of new networks that can replace traditional hierarchical organizations across the economy and society. Networks tend to be powerful because they are more resilient, more effective and more inclusive. Steven Johnson’s new book Future Perfect coins the term “peer progressives” to describe this position.
Most of our portfolio companies have some kind of network effect in which the services become more valuable for everyone as the number of people or companies using them increases. We are also trying to use the network as much as possible for the day-to-day operation of Union Square Ventures. For instance, we use an open process for hiring new analysts and recently published our background materials and investment theses for online education. We are also facilitating networks among our portfolio companies by organizing in-person meetings and online forums.
Our network, including the portfolio companies and their employees, all produce a vast amount of interesting content across the web. Our current web presence was launched as a blog in 2005 to facillitate a more open dialogue; but it does not reflect this broader network. We are working on a new version that will aggregate and surface content from across our network.
So if you are interested in participating in the design please head over to Behance for instructions. If you know someone who should participate please let them know. And everyone can influence the selection process through appreciating (a “like” on Behance) the work of participating designers.