A few weeks ago, I realised that I needed a new logo to associate with 'Pitching for Management' – and I needed it quickly. I had also been thinking, separately, about how the claims of 'crowd source' service providers could be explored. My graphic design and artistic creative skills are near zero, so it didn't take too long for these two trains of thought to collide.
Last year, at SydStart, I saw several firms offering crowd sourced design services. One in particular claimed to provide; “Custom design, risk-free, within hours.” Their literature boasted of having 120,000 designers on their books from all over the world and that each design brief, on average, generated over 100 designs.
I was hooked. Here was a way to kill two birds with one stone, so I followed through on this provider's website.
Their service comprised four stages: posting a brief, receiving designs, feedback/revision, then final selection.
Posting a brief was more difficult than it might seem. Previously, using a traditional approach, I would have spent time talking to a designer about the sort of thing I was looking for - an interactive process. Here, however, I was on my own trying to write something that would give an unknown designer enough information for them to produce the “right” output.
The service provider offered two options for payment – up-front or on results. I paid up-front, which meant that they took payment immediately and held the money on trust until completion. I also needed to choose a prize for the competition, so I went for the middle ground of $400 (all prices are in AUD).
Once I had handed over my credit card details, the project started.
Within five hours I had three designs. By the end of five days I had 102 and had used their forwarding system to ask others for second opinions and their views.
Once I had chosen my design I had a couple of issues for the designer and they submitted some revisions. Lastly, I chose the one you can see alongside. The designer was paid and I received the files and full copyright for the logo.
So, what went well?
- The overall process was straightforward.
- I received a large number of different designs to choose from.
- The service provider seemed keen to care for their customers and suppliers.
What could the service provider improve?
- Once I’d passed the brief stage and made payment, I found the website difficult to navigate.
- I received 117 emails in just five days. They all looked the same in my in-box, so I failed to answer some important questions from designers. I missed real interaction.
- There was a lack of documentation. For example, no formal invoice was issued and there was no hand-over document transferring full copyright for the design.
Would I do it again?
Yes, but only if I needed a one-off item quickly and cheaply. This project was an excellent learning vehicle for me and I think I would make better use of it next time. If I had to choose two descriptors from “better”, “faster” and “cheaper”, this service gave me the last pair.
My overall impression is that I have a satisfactory logo quickly and at reasonable cost. The process was much quicker than hiring a single designer but suffered from the lack of interaction about the real needs for the design.
117 Email messages received for the single project.
$400 Total prize money awarded to three designers .
$98.52 Additional service provider fees ($40 posting, $13.32 transaction, $45.32 GST).
41 Designers entered the competition.
5 Days competition duration.
102 Designs submitted.
195 The rank of the winning designer, according to the service provider.
$6,248 Earned by the winning designer from the service provider (period not known).
Macedonia Designer's country of residence. I only learned this at the very end.
Over to you.
What do you think? Have you used a crowd sourcing service for logo design or any other business requirement? Join our community and leave a comment below.