5 Things You Should Know About Crowdsourcing Your New Logo


5 Things You Should Know About Crowdsourcing Your New Logo

Logos really are an important factor in any business.  When they're on point, a good logo can immediately impart a sense of what you do, how you do it and, intended or not, how good you are at it.  It's that last point that apparently trips otherwise smart businesspeople up the most, because there are so many poorly-done logos out there.  


The right logo can inspire trust, even excitement in your offerings.  If your logo needs a make-over, you're not alone.  But having a new one professionally designed can cost thousands of dollars, so is there a viable alternative?  Yes.  And it's a good one.  Crowdsourcing.  For just $200, you can have multiple designers from around the world competing to produce a beautifully polished identity for your business.


I just tried it and want to share my impressions.Contact_logoOCC_sample.jpg


I'm starting a new agency called "contact," which will offer "Contact Marketing" services to large clients.  Contact Marketing is based on facilitating contact with strategic individuals who can make an enormous difference to your business.  The metrics on these campaigns truly are out of this world, with response rates reaching as high as 100% and ROI in the hundred of thousands of percent.  As a strategy, Contact Marketing can quickly change a company's scale with a few dozen critically important contacts as well.  So I wanted a logo that expressed both aspects of what the agency does.  


Working with crowdSPRING, I fielded an assortment of 135 logos from 35 designers around the world, all for just $200 plus a $99 fee to the site.  There was a wide range of styles and competency, but there certainly were a number of viable candidates.  To start a project, you peruse the portfolios of hundreds of designers and invite them to participate in your project.  You're not even obligated to buy what's produced, but there are a few options for getting the best result.  First would be to guarantee that you will purchase the winning design, as the default is that you're not required to buy anything if you don't like the result.  You can also increase the creative fee, even choose more than one design.  In the end, it was "lamosca04" who produced the winning entry, a beautiful illustration depicting contact with an alien spaceship.  


Which one wins the overall competition?  I'm not sure yet, but I wanted to leave you with these five tips for getting the most from your own crowdsourced design project.



1.  Give Detailed Directions:  If you want great results, take the time to give great directions.  The site helps you with prompts, but take the time to consider exactly what you want to express about your business before starting the project.  


2.  Include Reference Materials:  If you have examples of logos you admire, assemble them in a single sheet to let the creatives know what to shoot for.  If you have ideas of what you want to see in the logo, include JPEGs of those as well.  Even if the design you choose has nothing to do with the starting materials, it will help the designers come up with the best possible ideas.  


3.  Give Lots of Feedback:  The crowdSPRING site actually scores you on your level of participation as the buyer.  That's how important it is to the success of your project.  The key is to meticulously rank and give feedback on each design as it comes in.  It will dramatically increase participation by the creatives, which is what you want. 


4.  Watch for Fraud:  Sure, the site wants to protect itself from leakage, so the platform is set up to keep identities of buyer and designers a secret.  But that also protects you from falling victim to fraud.  99% (or make that 97.15% in my case) play by the rules, but if you're asked to make direct contact, don't.  Stick within the rules, keep your account from being suspended and be happy the site is doing its job keeping your credit card details safe.


5.  Consider Giving More:  When the process is complete, there will be several people who've done a lot of good work for you.  Even if their top design didn't make the cut, consider buying more than one logo or tipping some of your favorites who didn't win the prize.  


As crowdSOURCE founder Michael Samson points out, "A business today from the tiniest to the multinational, has got to have a branding strategy a visual identity that is memorable and meaningful."  Samson points out that logos must also be unique an identifiable in order to qualify as a legal trademark.  Clip art, even the slightest element of it, can disqualify a logo for trademark protection.  


Is it time to take another look at your logo?  Probably not a bad idea, and at least now you know it won't cost you thousands.

Stu Heinecke
Host of Contact Marketing Radio
Founder & President of "Contact" and CartoonLink, Inc.
Wall Street Journal cartoonist
Author of How to Get a Meeting with Anyone

I am just trying to launch a small grass roots organization. I need a logo but don't have much money to spend. Really just want initials. Any suggestions? name of group is Conservative Women Today.