Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Best Mobile Designers Under One (Virtual) Roof

Founded by engineer, designer, and programmer Kirill Zubovsky, Scoutzie is a new online community that connects mobile designers with those who need one (or more) for their projects. Headquartered in Seattle, Scoutzie is an invite-only network that currently has almost 500 professional members, including Cole Rise, who created the Instagram icon, and Brian Plemons, who redesigned the Pair app.

The idea for a curated mobile design marketplace first came to Zubovksy in August of last year after meeting with Kelly Smith, the man behind ImageKind, Inkd, and Zapd. Smith had noticed that not a lot of designers understood the challenges of designing for the mobile space and wanted to have “a unified pool of mobile designers.” Zubovsky, who was eager to start a successful company after failing to get accepted into TechStars, jumped at the chance and teamed up with Smith to build Scoutzie.

With the goal of creating a community of the best mobile designers in the world, Zubovsky went on a quest to recruit topnotch talent, browsing several design websites, portfolios, and blogs. He described the process as “a tedious exercise,” but one that was necessary to find the designers who were “worthy of Scoutzie membership.”

Indeed, Scoutzie sets itself apart from other online design communities by putting an emphasis on quality. According to Zubovsky, “Scoutzie is quite unique in that we are focused on mobile and we don't allow just anyone to post content.” He likens the network to traditional design agencies such as Happy Cog and FJORD, though Scoutzie only takes a 10 percent cut of projects instead of the usual 50 percent.

In addition, Scoutzie assigns a dedicated project consultant to every project arranged on the site. The consultant not only matches clients with the best designer(s) for their project, but also acts as the point of contact throughout the process to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

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