As a web agency, we get a ton of requests for logos, but we always decline. Why? The reality is services like 99Designs offer much more value, as you get to work with dozens of designers and have an unlimited number of revisions within a 7 day period.
However, some of our clients have had sub-par experiences with companies like 99Designs or have had to run the same contest twice. There are some “tricks of the trade” to maximize your contest on 99Designs and ensure a great experience and a great outcome.
10 Tips for Getting the Best Logo Ever from 99Designs
1. Have an idea of what you want.
Don’t go into the contest blind. If you do, odds are you will end up with a design you’re less than thrilled with. This is not for gathering ideas, but for turning one into something you really feel represents you. The idea is to avoid getting halfway through the contest only to realize you want to go in a completely different direction.
2. Set up your profile.
Designers are more likely to submit designs to companies they could get more work from in the future. If a profile looks like a legitimate business that will be interested in more marketing material than just a one-time logo design, they are more willing to invest their time in the design process as a whole. To set up your profile, simply add a photo, a bio, and the country you are located in.
3. Be detailed and clear in your description.
The more direction you can offer, the better your chances of ending up with something you love. Provide supporting photos and sketches if possible.
It’s also very important to include what you don’t want. For example, if your logo is for an energy company but you know you don’t want a light bulb anywhere in the design, speak up or you’ll most likely have a lot of one-star ratings to dole out.
4. Guarantee the payment.
When running a contest, you have the option to guarantee that you will select a winner and pay out the prize money. These contests attract more designers — and better designs — as they are labeled on the listing page, so designers can easily see which are guaranteed and which aren’t.
5. Invite platinum designers.
Once your contest has started, you will have a chance to invite designers. You can sort by level, so sort by the highest level (platinum), and begin sending out invites. Try to hit the daily limit of designer invites, and repeat this process each day until the initial round has ended.
6. Run a blind contest.
If you’ve run a contest once before, you will be given the option to make it blind. This means designers are only able to view their own entries. They will be able to see the star rating that appears for each design, but they won’t be able to see designs other than their own.
Many designers prefer blind contests, to prevent others from copying their ideas. You’re also more likely to receive a more varied level of designs as entrants are forced to find their own inspiration.
7. Only give 1-3 stars (at first).
Even if you feel a design deserves all the stars in the universe, only give a max of three in the first round. Any more will discourage other designers from entering the contest, because they will assume their chances of winning at that point are low.
8. Put time aside (at night).
Many of the designers work in Europe and Southeast Asia so they tend to work during the U.S. evenings. If you leave feedback during their working hours, you’ll have a better chance of getting a quick turnaround. I recommend setting aside at least an hour each evening during the seven-day contest duration.
9. Give clear feedback — and lots of it.
When providing feedback, be as specific as possible about what you would like modified. Avoid using phrases like ‘make it feel like…’ or ‘needs more pop’. The more specific direction you offer, the more likely you’ll get a quick revision.
You’ll also be assigned a feedback rating that designers can see, which is based on the private feedback you leave to individual designers. Contests with good feedback ratings attract more designers, while contests with low feedback ratings act as red flags for designers.
10. Ask the designer’s opinion.
When you’re going back and forth between different versions of a design, ask the artist which one they prefer. The more experienced designers will usually back up their favorite option with reasons why they think it will work best for your audience. This is a great way of creating your own filter of professional and amateur designers, especially when narrowing it down to your final designers.