Insider Tips for Running a Design Contest on 99designs
99designs is a relatively inexpensive way to get profession logo design, website design, and branding for your company. You choose how much you are willing to pay, describe what you are looking for, and guide the designers through the course of the contest as they compete to be the winning design and the prize money.
We just finished running a 99designs logo contest for a client and are pretty happy with the results. The finished product was a polished, professional looking logo. The process took a lot more time to monitor than we expected, though. Below are some quick tips that I have for those of you looking to run a contest in the future.
Provide Feedback – On your contest, you can provide a 1-5 star rating of each design. Make sure that rating each submittal as quickly as possible is your top priority. The better idea the designers have of what you are looking for, the closer each design will be to that. I saved our 4 and 5 star ratings last few days of the contest.
Be Clear, Provide Details – Before you start accepting designs on your contest, the site provides you with a section to describe exactly what you are looking for. You can choose options like text based logo, badge logo, or a logo with a mascot. You can also upload other company logos that closely match the feel and look that you ideally want. Again, the more time you put into this section, the more you will get out of your final design.
Cut Through the Trash – Not all designs are going to be great. I would estimate that about 30% – 40% of the designs are going to be either completely opposite of what you are looking for, or they just simply are not going to be up to the skill level of the top designers. Make sure to remove these submittals as quickly as they come in, so that your design contest does not get cluttered with lower level designs.
Create Updates – On the bottom of the contest page there is a comments section which is to every designer. If the designs are not on the right track, let them know. If you changed your color scheme, post it in the comments section.
Build Relationships – For our contest, there were 3 designers who clearly stood out from the rest of the pack. I made an effort to build relationships with them and let them know that I really liked the designs by sending individual messages and constant feedback. Because of this, they were extremely willing to make small changes and tweaks whenever necessary. Also, by doing this, we got a lot of different logo formats to choose from to use for various needs like Twitter avatars and mobile apps.
Invite Designers – After the contest we were running started, I begun looking at other contests for design submission that I liked and who’s design style was inline with what we were looking for. I then sent out personalized messages to the designer, inviting them to our contest. The designer that won our contest was actually invited from another contest. This is a great way to attract some of the top talent on the site.
Ultimately 99designs is probably not as good as hiring an in-house designer or even a contract designer. But for those on a budget that are still looking for professional looking branding, the service definitely offers a good alternative.
Do you have any experience using 99designs? Leave us a comment and let us know how it when for you