The After Image


Check out The After Image blog.

here I've copied the about page:

This blog is a sort of prototype for a website I want to build. The website, assuming I create it, will allow people to hire an artist by providing a "before" image, as well as some "extra instructions". The user can then choose which artist they want by viewing each applicant's before-and-after image pairs, e.g.:


The grand vision is to demonstrate that online work is not just something for entrepreneurs to take advantage of, but something that regular people can benefit from as well. Hence, I wanted to pick a domain that regular people might be interested in hiring for. Art came to mind, because I have hired artists myself for some personal projects, including my Facebook avatar (which appears as the first before-and-after post in the blog).

The design is meant to overcome two challenges: it can be hard to come up with something to hire an artist to do; and it's hard to pick an artist. The strategy for overcoming both challenges is the same: makes everyone's input and output public -- at least at first. This will allow people to be inspired by what other people have done. It should also make it easier to pick and artist, since it will be obvious from the before-and-after images what each artist is capable of.

My strategy in the past has been to just build a website, but these attempts usually die due to lack of liquidity. Hence, I decided to test and bootstrap the idea with this blog where I would manually go through the hiring process myself. This was meant to help me gauge interest as well as discover a price point.


  1. I think this is pretty cool.
    But I hate writing comments on blogspot. It's a pain in the ass.

  2. Hm.. you're not the first person to say so. Does anyone know what I should do about this?

  3. I have replaced tje blogspot comments with DISQUS. It was pretty painless.

  4. Great idea, love the useful/beneficial angle too.
    Are you imagining soliciting ideas then choosing the best one to work with/pay? Or would/(did?) you pay all the workers here? I ask because there was some backlash over 99designs style "exploitation"; some designers just won't choose to compete / do spec work. Indeed, the AIGA even has a page about potential risks: http://www.aiga.org/position-spec-work/. This is a much bigger discussion (and one I am barely cognizant of), but I would argue worth thinking about.
    I wonder if there's a middle ground where artists submit quick sketches / previous work in a similar style.
    (By the way, this is Paul. No idea what this is going to post as.)

  5. I (or in most cases oDesk itself) paid for all the art. For details of the process, see http://theafterimage.blogspot.com/2012/11/process.html . I am sympathetic to the "spec work" complaint about 99 designs. The idea of this site is that the before-and-after images would help people choose which artist to hire, so there wouldn't be a competition. As a side idea, I like the idea of hiring many artists to submit rough sketches for something like a logo, paying them all, then using crowdsourcing to vote for the best sketches, and hiring those artists to refine their sketches, voting again, and paying the winning artist even more money to finalize their sketch.