I have to admit: I was a skeptic. Was it really possible to use the web to engage design professionals I’d never met on a design project and come out with an acceptable result?
With much trepidation, last week I set up a contest on 99designs.com to create a new logo for my newly renamed and rebranded consulting business. The process is that you provide the parameters for what you’re looking for and offer a prize for the winning design. As designers submit entries, you provide them feedback and they tweak their designs to give you exactly what you want. While it’s possible to guarantee the prize, I decided not to do that since I wasn’t sure of the quality of what I’d get.
The expectations from 99designs were that I’d receive between 30 and 60 designs. In reality, I got more than 370 submissions from designers all over the world. Some of those entries were iterations on designs I’d found appealing but wanted to finetune, but still there were probably over 250 different design concepts.
Some of the entries were, to be blunt, pretty horrible. Several designers had either ignored the specifications I’d set up or decided to try something different, and a few were just way off base. Many other submissions were mediocre, and some I eliminated because they were clearly derivative of other existing logos.
However, that left a surprising number of very good, very creative, eye-catching designs. I found one I liked a lot and was ready to choose it when I saw I had the ability to hold a poll and get others’ opinions.
I chose 8 designs and asked friends, colleagues and potential clients to tell me what they liked and didn’t like. My impromptu focus group provided very interesting results: The logo I initially liked the best didn’t test very well and some of the comments provided made a lot of sense. Not everyone agreed on their favorite logo, but this gave me enough input to go back to the designers for additional modifications.[This process made me think of the recent Gap logo fiasco, where Gap introduced a new logo on a Friday and by the following Monday enough people had trashed it on Facebook and Twitter that they rescinded it and went back to the old one. Didn’t Gap consider doing a customer focus group to get input the way I did?]
The result is the new logo you see at the top of this blog. It’s clean and fresh and catchy and nicely highlights our new company name, Leverage2Market Associates. The entire process with 99designs was simple and straightforward. Once I chose the design, the designer transferred copyright and design files to me and I authorized payment to him.
The next step in this process will be the launch of our new website, www.Leverage2Market.com. Stay tuned–that’s coming up momentarily!