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Is crowdsourcing a true win?

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Election night crowd, Wellington, 1931

Image by National Library NZ on The Commons via Flickr

Everyone is used to the criticism crowdsourcing brings. Besides talking about it being bad for designers, I wanted to take a walk in the contest holder’s shoes. I understand that you want a good deal, and getting as many designers to submit as possible may bring you the desired design you’re looking for. Times are tough, and if you can get more for your money, you will. Anybody would. With many crowdsourcing sites saying that they have great service, and money back guarantees, it’s hard to say no, especially if you don’t think having a logo is a big deal.

I have done a little research, not into the amount of entries or designers per contest, not the quality of designs, but the lasting effect they have. I have searched through hundreds of contests ranging anywhere from $150-$10,000+ and saw that very few contest holders actually used or ended up keeping their logo. I believe this is the due to the fact that the client knew little about what was required for a design in the industry, and simply picked the coolest or most trendy logo. There’s nothing wrong with a cool design, but knowing your designer is key. You have to know that THEY know the industry. It is not your job as the client to know what colors work the best, what fonts say to future customers, what colors would work for print, or the cost of print vs. the final design. This is the job of your designer.

As designers, we are trained for it, we study it, and we live it. Design is a consistent part of our lives. If you’re not studying it, then it’s just a hobby, and I’m sorry, but I don’t know too many people that hire someone based on the fact that their only experience is a hobby. It may not look it, but design is serious business. Billions are spent every year on advertising, and big and small business understands the importance of this, so you should take it seriously as well. I would be happy to show examples, but I think it’s better to look for yourself. Just search a logo contest, look at the winner, and go to that company site and see if they use the design. I can tell you that most stick with their old logo, or hire 1 designer or a firm to finish what a crowdsourced designer started.

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