Our new logo is here….
…and it’s been crowd sourced.
Yep.I was initially extremely skeptical about crowd sourced logo design work because there is obviously a very large gap between an established, self-made, professional graphic designer and the run-of-the-mill freelancer that might be trying to make a couple hundred bucks off an internet “contest.” But boy was I proven wrong.
Now, crowd sourcing your logo is definitely not for everyone. But if you’re like me and you’re out of ideas, time, and money, crowd sourcing these days seems to provide a decent alternative to doing it yourself or undercutting someone you know a few hundred dollars for sub-par work.
What turned me on to the idea was this website: 99designs.com. At first, all the marketing mumbo jumbo seemed too good to be true, but after poking around a bit and a recommendation from a friend, I gave it a shot.
You first start off with a design brief detailing the ethos of your company, the style you’re looking for, the type of designs you want, target audience, colors, and some sketches of your own. But alongside the nitty gritty details, they have these sliders that go between different ends of the spectrum: ie. “Masculine vs. Feminine” or “Young vs. Mature” or “Playful vs. Serious.” You get the idea. This system really helped me put onto paper what was hard to explain in words. Cool.
So the process goes like this: You submit a design brief and pay for a certain tier of advertisement to get onlookers to design for you, then you have 4 days to rate, judge, and provide feedback for all the submissions in your pool. After 4 days, you can select up to 6 finalists to continuing providing refinements and ideas for an additional 3 days. And on the 7th day, you get to choose the winning design. Once the winner is chosen, they sign over the rights, files are transferred, and rewards are paid out.
So, remember how I paid $300 for 30 designs? Well, I ended up with a whopping 141! And out of aout 20 designers, there was one designer who really connected with me and went above and beyond my expectations in providing the perfect design, which is what you now see above the blog today.
If you’re interested in crowd-sourcing your own logo, here are some tips:
- Be discerning. Not every designer is going to be spectacular. There might only be a few that really meet your standards (unless you chose to put up $10,000 as the reward!), so you have to have a dutiful eye and consistently eliminate designs you don’t like.
- Be nice. Now being discerning is great, but it really doesn’t help anyone along if you’re brutal about it. Which leads me to the next point…
- Give plenty of feedback. Judge and comment on as many designs as you can. Designers are only as good as your ability to put your vision into words. Good design can’t come out of bad direction. So give nice, tactful, and constructive criticism on all the logo submissions that come through to you.
- Guarantee Payment. There is a money back guarantee that the website has for every contest holder. If you’re not satisfied with your final designs, then you don’t have to pay. But the problem is that this method doesn’t attract a whole lot of designers. If you guarantee payout, it helps designers commit to making you a logo that will work for you.
- Be Blind. Although the idea behind seeing everyone’s progress in order to create collaboration is a novel one, having everyone’s submission visible to the public encourages plagiarism. If you make your contest “blind” and you hide everyone’s submissions from the public, good designers feel more secure about submitting designs to you.
- Invite. On the website, you have the option of browsing through other contests and designer profiles. If you find a designer that you like, you can invite them to create a logo for your own contest. This can be a good way to hand pick quality designers onto your team.
Why do I think all of this is so cool?
- Control. As the contest holder, I had so much control over the design. I felt like I instantly had 20 people working for me to design something GREAT. It helps that all the designers I came across during the contest were more than understanding, cordial, and kind. They always responded positively to all my feedback, which put less stress on my shoulder (I hate shooting people down).
- Time. In 7 days, I had 20 people working to create for me the perfect design. Now, that’s just at the basic $300 entry level. There are companies handing out THOUSANDS of dollars in their contests for top-notch work. And as such, many top-notch designers tend to gravitate towards those contests.
- Security. How many times have you heard horror stories about graphic designs stopping production mid-way through a project? Or, as a graphic designer, having clients not pay up after all your hard work. By 99designs essentially acting as the broker and the escrow, there’s a lot of security involved. A designer is guaranteed payment and the company is guaranteed a design.
So, those are just some of my thoughts on the whole process. I was fortunate enough to land a great designer who made the final logo for me. Again, it’s not for everyone, but if you’re finding yourselves in a similar situation as myself, why not give it a shot? In my opinion, it’s the most mileage I got out of $300 bucks.
EDIT: If you’re thinking about doing the same, here’s a $50 coupon you can use from me! COUPON