Crowdsourcing Your First Logo Design? Don’t Make These 5 Rookie Mistakes

BY: ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016

We live in a society that’s so saturated with brand logos even a five-year-old can instantly identify Apple, McDonald’s, Starbucks, NBC and Bank of America.

It goes without saying that your logo is a major business asset: it’s the first impression prospective customers receive whether they discover you company in Google search results or pass your store on the street. But as startups and small businesses know all too well, an instantly recognizable, iconic logo like Apple’s comes with a hefty price tag.

Crowdsourcing is an increasing popular option for creating a memorable logo that won’t break the bank. The process is simple: write a short design brief, choose your budget, deposit funds (that are held until a winner is selected), and launch the contest. As designs flood in, review the submissions, compile a shortlist, invite friends to vote on their favorites, and select a winner.

Yes, crowdsourcing logo designs really can be that straightforward– if you know what you’re doing. It’s just as easy to make a rookie mistake and end up with a design that’s flat out wrong for your business, or worse, a design that’s been plagiarized. Here’s how to avoid five common design pitfalls.


1- Provide adequate direction in your design brief. Start by describing your business: what is your industry, your main product or service, and your unique selling points? Who is your target market? What logos, colors or typefaces do you strongly like or dislike? Include brand values or stories that are essential to conveying the essence of your brand. Your design brief doesn’t have to be perfect, but the more information you include, the easier it will be for designers to create a strong logo aligned with your brand’s values with minimal revisions.


2-
Guarantee payment. Payment is one major way in which crowdsourcing logos is a different than working with a professional design firm. Most design firms require you to sign a contract and pay a deposit to initiate work; even if you hate all the designs, you’re still on the hook for some serious cash.
Crowdsourcing is different. Many logo crowdsourcing sites offer a money-back guarantee. Designhill, for example, is a graphic design marketplace promising a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with any of the final designs. However, from my experience – and the experience of thousands of others who leave glowing reviews about the logo crowdsourcing process – it's highly unlike that you'll be dissatisfied with the logo contest outcome.
Because of this, I recommend opting for a 'guaranteed contest'. Doing so sends a signal to the designers that you are serious about this competition and willing to pay for a quality design. Designers, in turn, will invest more time and energy in competitions with guaranteed payment, which means you'll get to choose from a higher caliber of designs and are more likely to land a killer logo the first time.


3-
Provide adequate feedback during the submissions process. Even with the most detailed design brief, designers can’t read your mind. Once you’ve narrowed down your submissions to your top 10 favorites, don’t hesitate to reach out to the designers and let them know what you don’t like about their designs.
A color or typography tweak can take a design from good to great. Ask for outside opinions, too I recommend polling friends and family during the process to see which designs they like the best; you may be surprised that your favorite design doesn’t resonate with anyone else!


4-
Check for plagiarism. This is a biggie. Your logo is what will distinguish your brand from the competition, so it’s important that it stands out from what’s already out there. Accidental coincidences happen, like the ruckus earlier in 2014 when AirBnb launched its new logo that looked eerily similar to Automation Anywhere (and several other brands).
Design is inherently subjective and inspiration can come from anywhere. It’s inevitable that some of the designs you review may bear an unintentional resemblance to other logos. However, it’s up to you to do due diligence on your designs. At the very least, conduct a Google image search or check LogoThief.


5-
Be sure your logo stands out on social media. When selecting a winning logo design, keep in mind where potential customers will be viewing this logo. Sure, the logo might look great on a storefront or your business cards, but how will it look when you’re branding content that’s shared across social media sites.

Whether you’re branding content that’s being shared via ClickBooth’s affiliate networks or on up-and-coming social platforms like Periscope and Capshare, context counts! I recommend simple designs with a maximum of two colors. These designs translate best across multiple platforms and devices.


Bottom line:
Photos, infographics, videos, memes – visual content is essential to building your brand’s identity, and it all starts with your logo. Finding a logo design that’s original, captures your brand’s essence, and won’t feel outdated can take a little work. Yes, you can get a killer logo design on a shoestring budget. Just be prepared to provide adequate guidance at each stage in the process.



Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Brian Hughes

Brian is a seasoned digital marketing expert who loves to write about subjects that help small businesses grow their brands and increase their rankings online.

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