If you are a startup on a budget, choosing the right designer is half the battle of getting a good logo. And when I say good, I mean good. As a startup on a small budget don’t attempt to go for great. At this point is not worth it. How do you find a designer then? With a crowdsourcing site of course!
A crowdsourcing site allows you to submit your logo requirements as a contest and get many designers to propose one. You are, in effect, selecting the designer and the design at the same time; some designers will submit many logos. The most famous site for this is 99designs in which a logo starts at $299, but you also have DesignCrowd that goes as low as $70 or so. Don’t be deceived: the $70 plan is almost worthless and you should be planning on spending about $300. In Design Crowd, there’s an option to commit the money to the winning design, effectively opting out from the money back guarantee. I found using this option is pretty much essential to get any amount of good designs.
The current logo of Dashman was obtained through Design Crowd and it cost $370. We got about 190 designs and when I say designs imagine air quotes because:
- Many were just the word “Dashman” with an unusual font.
- Many were the word Dashman next to some clipart
- Many were the same logo submitted over and over again with a different background or environment.
I think the last is the worst of the issues. For example, someone would submit this design:
Followed by these ones:
Or they will do something like this, in one single submission:
It looks awesome! But it looks awesome because it makes you imagine your logo on the wall of a high corporate office, on expensive paper, or even on shiny hardware – but not because it’s a an inherently good logo. And I believe that’s why they are doing it. My recommendation is to delete them right away to minimize how much that is influencing you (to be fair, the last example contains something useful, which is light and dark backgrounds, but it would be hard to get everyone to follow this standard). Because of this and many other issues, comparing the different submissions from designers can be very hard. Different people upload the work in many different ways, so, I recommend you add these rules to your brief:
- Only upload the logo, no words. Note: technically, what you are asking for here is the isotype, but I found most people in Design Crowd don’t know what isotype, logotype and imagetype are, so, let’s just call the isotype logo.
- The logo should fit nicely on a square. Note: you’ll want to use your logo into a lot of places that are square (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, favicons, app icons, etc, etc) so, you want to make the most of the square space.
- The background should be plain white.
- The logo should take most of the space in the square (otherwise, it looks smaller and we are less likely to be selected).
- The logo should not be 3D on a wall, paper, business cards, t-shirts, on our website, etc. These submissions will be promptly deleted.
- If you have more than one distinct design, feel free to submit twice, but do not do it for the same logo. The extra ones will just be deleted.
- Do not include anything else; do not include your brand or web address. Anything else you put in it will detract from the logo and reduce your chance of winning.
In addition to what you said, I also look for the following:
- Use solid colors only. Gradients tend to get washed out when scaling the image down and can be more difficult to get right after edits.
- Bonus: If the logo can be converted to just black or just white for use on light/dark backgrounds, respectively.
- Don’t include thin lines that will fade out or not be seen if the logo is scaled down.
Even with all of that, you’ll get many, many designs that just don’t follow the brief you specified. In my experience, specifying optional guidelines is the same as not doing so. I didn’t want the logo for Dashman to be a stylized D but maybe someone would come up with an amazing stylized D, so, I said something along the lines of not wanting those but not being totally against them. I got about 100 of them.
Do you have any recommendations when getting a logo done through a crowd-sourcing site? Leave a comment bellow.
And lastly, don’t forget you are not NeXT:
Yes, that logo cost $100,000 (about $220,000 after adjusting for inflation to 2017).