Logo design contest websites... Do they work or are they a waste of time and money?

I have to admit something. It makes me cringe when I hear a logo was designed via one of those Logo Design Contest websites such as 99 Designs, Design Contest or Design Crowd.

It sounds like a great idea and very appealing to get hundreds of ideas for very little money, so before spending your money, read this article and think about what you’re actually paying for.

The thing is, designing a great logo takes time. And and it doesn’t just take an hour or two, it takes many many hours from brainstorming, doodling ideas, researching, tweaking, checking against the brief then presenting the designs. Then there’s the refining process and preparing the logo for it’s use.

An experienced designer may be able to whip something up quickly and on point, but they certainly wouldn’t be selling their services for pittance. Experience comes at a price and experience means less headaches, helpful advice, clear direction and good contacts in the area of printing, copywriting, marketing, websites, social media and SEO.

Many of the logo’s you see via these contests are simply slapped together quickly. They might be able to make something ‘look’ good, but will it represent your business uniquely or have enough personality to make people notice and remember you.

If happiness is your standard of measure about how good a logo is then no doubt you will be successful in finding something you like, but this process is flawed and here’s why...

5 reasons why the ‘Design-Contest’ process is flawed

  1. Lacks objectivity
    Just because you like the designs does not mean it’s the best solution for you. These logos are based on a design brief that is inherently flawed by criteria you think is important but not necessarily the best for creating a logo that represents your brand.

    Take for example a design brief that states that the logo should include a picture of a bus because it’s a bus service company.  The Design-Contest designer will put a bus in there because that’s what the client asked for.
    However, an experienced logo designer will firstly decide whether a picture of a bus would ultimately achieve the best outcome. Instead, their main aim is to design a logo that will create an emotional connection between the company and its customers. In this instance it could be by eliciting a sense of freedom, fun and relaxation rather than a serious and unsexy shape of a bus.

  2. The selection process is flawed
    Straight away you’ll discount maybe 90% of the designs.  Then show friends, family and colleagues the 10% left, to get their opinions and select their favourites. You might even ask facebook, and then you’ll have an even harder job trying to please everyone with the choice you make.

    So in short, you're asking amateurs about something that they don’t know about to choose something that you’ve defined from your own personal preferences.
    And that’s the logo that’s going to represent your company!

  3. Unrefined designs
    The Design-Contest designer will spend little time on the finer details it takes to turn a good logo into a beautiful logo.  Simply because they’re not getting paid for it, and therefore don’t have experience doing this effectively.
    Balancing the elements, fonts and colours used in the logo, can make all the difference. Refining logos requires time to see the logo with fresh eyes in order to pick up on the finer details.

  4. Uniqueness
    A logo needs to be unique like a signature. It shouldn’t be a stock image purchased by countless other people, or copied from another logo design (which is never a good idea). A good logo designer will come up with less options but will carefully craft unique designs that evoke the emotion you want people to feel.

  5. Inexperience = Cost
    Inexperience means no direction. No one’s directing you to think about the things that are important along the way. And your choices will be determined by everyone’s lack of knowledge. This can cause confusion, headaches, mind changing and not getting any closer to finalising the logo.

A logo is a work of art with very strict confines and like all good works of art they will stand the test of time because they represent the values of your brand and provide an emotional connection to your clients.

Not to say you won't be successful without a great logo, but then again do you really want to take that risk for the price of a few hundred coffees.

So please, do yourself a favour. Don’t use a Design Contest designer cause it just makes me angry. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

To speak directly to a designer and get real advice, call me (Melanie) on 0422908396 or email at mel@enganagraphics.com.au

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Blog Category: Branding, Marketing & Strategy