We believe in hiring local professional designers, but if you don’t have the cash or don’t know any good designers, crowdsourced design contests can be an effective option. 99Designs is one of the most popular sites online and they offer a variety of reasonable pricing options for logos, brand collateral, websites, and more. The advantage of crowdsourced design contests is that you can have multiple designers (10-30) make design submissions, instead of working with an individual. This article explains how to run a successful crowdsourced design contest.
1. Write a good design brief with clear and concise directions. Be as specific as possible. If you are having a logo designed, asked for initial concepts to be done in black and white so you can weed out the bad marks before getting confused with colors or effects. Attach any visual imagery that you want designers to explore or incorporate.
2. Respond to every design submitted. Yes, you are paying someone else to do the work, but your involvement in the contest is just as important as the designer’s hard work. Just like working with a designer face-to-face, you need to respond quickly and provide honest and direct feedback.
3. Give quality feedback. It’s no surprise that many of the designers on 99Designs and other crowdsourced design contest websites do NOT speak English as their first language. You need to be very descriptive and offer references when possible. Don’t tell people that a logo isn’t your style or not to your taste. Offer real feedback so they can re-submit a better design.
4. Bring the best designers to the final stage, not necessarily your favorite designs. 99Designs makes you choose a set number of designers that make the final cut who will have a set number of days to submit additional designs. Even if a designer has not given you exactly what you want, if they have submitted clean and professional designs they might be worth taking to the final round. If you provide good feedback to a good designer, you might find out that their next design is a real winner.
5. If you don’t find the perfect design, pick something simple that can be improved on. You can always hire a local designer to tweak a simple design to make it better. If you pick an over-designed submission, it can be hard for another designer to work on it without starting over. For instance, if you find a font-treatment of your company name that you like, but you aren’t 100% sold on the icon, pick that design anyways and you can always change or replace the icon later.
Crowdsourced design contests are an interesting product of the internet and our global economy. We know that these contests are not right for every company, but if you need a cheap and fast logo designed, it can be a great option. Check out 99Designs in you are interested but make sure you follow the guidelines above if you want achieve good results.