Hundreds and thousands of logos are created every day and shared on logo design contests… but how many designers make money from it? Hmm…
There are lots and lots of logo design contest websites on the internet, 99designs, Hatchwise, Logo Arena, Designhill and Design Contest are some of the popular websites of this kind. If you don’t know how these websites work, here’s a quick recap.
Whenever clients need logos designed, they come to such websites, they type-in their requirements and designers from all over the world just start to send in their designs. In the best case scenario, one designer wins the contest and gets the money while the rest of the designers applaud him as they stand in the corner. But this is only the best case scenario. There are at least 3-4 ways that a logo design contest could end in disaster.
So, does that mean logo design contests are bad for designers? That’s not what I’m saying.
Does that mean logo design contests are good for designers? Again, that’s not what I’m saying.
Before I can categorically present my stance on the subject, I have to describe a few other things.
Before I can dive deeper into the topic, let’s get the basics straight.
The first thing we need to know is that these logo design contest websites are crafted for clients, not designers. They are there so that clients can get loads and loads of ideas and concepts in a tiny amount of time. Since a contest doesn’t stay alive for long so designers have to act vigilant. They have to create a design immediately and send it right over.
Basically, what they say is:
But they say it like this.
For designers, the basic idea is that on these websites, clients don’t check designers’ portfolios, they don’t check their resumes, and there are no lengthy interviews or anything such. So if you are just a beginning designer, you have can compete with the pros on equal grounds.
Another plus point (as described by the logo design websites) is that if you are a designer having an off day, you can just create a design and participate in the contest, you may end up making more on that off day than you make during your on-days.
It all sounds good, very good in fact, but is really like that? We’ll have to look beneath the surface for that.
On these contest websites, the designer and the client are oblivious of each other. They practically have no relationship. Consequently, designs have no personal touch. The designers do not know anything about the company, apart from the little description the client has provided. And since they don’t want to spend too much time on a project which doesn’t even has 1 in 100 chance of winning, they don’t research much. In result, the designs are not usually the ideal for clients.
There are many cases these days when the client refuses to select even one winner, killing all the designers in a single stroke!
Designers are also behaving badly. The incidences of copied designs in logo design contests are rising rapidly. Usually, they are caught but not always… that results in disaster for nearly everyone. The client has to get another logo designed while all the good guys on contest websites don’t get their designs selected because one guy used a copied design and got the money.
These incidences of copied logo designs have become so common that really pissed someone off and they started a website called Logo Thief. This website features original and plagiarized logo designs.
These are examples from LogoThief.com
Now it is becoming a paradox of a situation. The clients who do not intend to buy a design on the first come to such contest websites so they can get a lot of ideas, and later they show it to their regular designer and he is the one who makes the final logo.
Then there are clients who came to a logo design contest website with complete honesty, but didn’t find complete honesty on the other end so they have now started to avoid such websites.
Designers on the other hand don’t put in much effort in their designs because there is only a tiny bit of chance of winning… they might as well buy a lottery ticket.
Highly respected design writer David Airy and my favorite logo designer of the age, Jacob Cass share my opinion on this matter. Logo design contest websites are not a good idea. It is as simple as that.
These websites can hurt a designer more than anyone else. They make the designers to overlook details, not do research and finish the design abruptly. They are removing art for technique. There is a huge difference between a designer and a Photoshop operator.
And clients, they don’t get the designs they actually deserve. It would be better for them to chose one good designer and give him/her the project instead of receiving hundreds of ideas and ending up all confused.
So to conclude, I’d say logo design contest websites are like eating dead meat… should only be done in case of absolute necessity.