Most people don’t often need to get logos designed and therefore they have an outdated impression of the costs and headaches associated with the design process.
The Internet has opened up many new options for people wanting to order professional looking design work at affordable prices. It is now easier, quicker and cheaper than ever before to get a logo tailor made for your organization
In this article I’m going to take a closer look at these contests and offer some advice to entrepreneurs that are considering this route.
Choosing a Site
If you want to hold a contest for your design work then your first dilemma will be choosing a site to host it for you. Sites like 99designs and others have sprung up all over the web and the huge number of options can make it confusing to know exactly which one you should use.
One of your main goals should be to try to attract a large number of designers to your contest. Therefore you will want to go with one of the older, more established platforms that are popular within the design community. Many designers admit to only using the top two or three sites and these marketplaces are by far the most active. These sites will give your contest greater exposure and you’ll get a lot of different concepts to consider. On the other hand, some of the smaller sites just don’t attract enough designers to make a contest viable.
Seek out the most active marketplaces. Go for the older sites rather than the new ones and try to confirm how many designers are using each site. Most of the best sites feature statistics on their home-page showing how active their site is.
Details and Instructions
Most of these sites follow the same basic process. You basically complete a brief, receive entries, provide feedback, receive revised concepts and award a winner. However there are some variations between platforms. Make sure that you find out exactly how it works before you sign up and that you follow the sites instructions and rules carefully.
When you hold a logo contest you will have to decide how much prize money you want to offer. Most sites set a minimum amount and then let you go higher from there. Naturally you can expect more interest from designers if the prize amount is higher. If the incentives are greater designers will be more likely to enter and they will put more time into their entries.
If you are working to a budget then you won’t want to go too high with the prize. I’d advise that you go slightly higher than most of the other contests just to give you contest a slight advantage over the others.
Refunds and Guarantees
While many people rave about crowd-sourcing and how it’s the best way to leverage creativity from around the planet, not every customer ends up satisfied. Before deciding on a site to host your competition you will want to look at their refund and guarantee policies just in case something goes wrong and you want to back out.
Logo contest sites generally give you two options. Firstly you can place a ‘guarantee’ on your contest. This sends a signal to designers that there will definitely be a prize awarded and that the contest holder is not able to have their money refunded. Such a contest must have winners appointed and the prize money must be awarded. Secondly, you can choose not to guarantee your contest. In such cases you can later back out and withdraw your prize, no matter how much design work has already been done by the competitors.
While many may feel like they want to reduce their risk by keeping their right to a refund in place I would advise against this. When designers see that there is no prize guarantee they generally don’t put in a lot of effort. They are likely to just throw something together in five minutes and then move on to greener pastures. Unfortunately it’s all or nothing with logo contests and you kind of do have to put your money down with a little risk involved. Guarantee your contest and designers will take you seriously and give you more respect.
Write an Attractive Brief
While most sites will guarantee you a certain number of entries you might as well do everything in your power to attract as many designers as you can. Aside from ‘prize power’, designers will also be attracted to your listing by the wording in your brief.
A brief provides the designer with all the initial information that they need to start the design process. You can help to get things off to a great start by giving them precise details about your business and exactly what you are looking for in a logo design.
Tell them what your business does, who your target market is and what makes your business special in contrast to the competition. Tell them specifically what you want in your design and what you don’t want. Provide them with links to examples.
Private vs. Public Contests
Another option that you have when setting up your logo contest with many of the sites is to make it either public or private. A private contest can only be seen by people who are logged into the website in question. An open contest can be viewed by anyone, will be indexed by search engines and attract more visitors. Unless you have unique reasons for keeping your contest under wraps then you may as well jump at the chance to get the contest some extra exposure and go public.
Invite Designers to Contribute
If you have some time to put into your contest then you might consider looking for designers that you like and inviting them to enter. Most design contest sites make it possible to view entries in some of the contests that have already finished. You can look at winning designs and other entries, take note of the designers and then try to contact them through the site or via other means.
Promote your Contest
If you have a blog, participate in forums or know people in the design community then you might be able to stir up a little buzz for your contest and attract more interest. A little Facebook or Twitter love could also see your contest listing being found by more people in the search engines and beyond.
Guide your Contest
The most successful contests are the ones in which the contest holder takes an active interest. After concepts have been submitted feedback should be provided right away so that designers know what they have to do to get their designs on track for victory. If the designs really aren’t suitable you should reject them altogether right from the beginning. If they show promise you should let the designer know what has to be done to improve.
The Right Duration
Different sites provide users with different options regarding the duration of the contest. This is usually seven to ten days and you may have the option to extend the time. I’d advise contest holders to go for the maximize time allowable to give the contest extra exposure time and allow the designers time to refine their work. However, if you hurry things along it should not be necessary to buy extra time.
To learn more about some of the top crowd-sourcing sites for design work including 99designs check out our Logo Contest Reviews.