This is a guest post by Andreas Kambanis. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
I’ve always considered logo’s the realm of big multinational companies. Companies like AOL or Amazon who have thousands of dollars to throw at new designs.
Therefore, despite being constantly told about their importance and the value of branding for my blog I’ve ignored the advice. I’ve put it to the back of my mind and decided to focus on other things. After all logo’s are really expensive aren’t they?
Well, these days that isn’t really the case. Websites like 99designs can provide a new logo for as little as $150. The premise is that you run a competition and then designers from all over the world submit their entries. Within a week you can be up and running with a great new logo.
After avoiding the decision for ages, I took the plunge and launched my logo design contest on 99Designs. The result is a logo that gives a good first impression and was completed just in time to be used in my London Cycle Routes eBook. More importantly, as the eBook is likely to be featured in various big publications, the logo sends the important message of professionalism and this could make all the difference to the success of my site.
If this sounds pretty cool and you are considering it for your website, then here are five things you need to know before heading over to 99Designs.
1. Guarantee your prize
After you have had your first 10 entries on 99Designs you are able to “guarantee your prize”. This means that you have to choose a winner. This might sound scary at first especially if you only have 10 entries and you are not a big fan of them. However, guaranteeing the prize greatly increases the number of entries you have. This means there is a far better chance of finding the right logo. It also motivates you to get the most out of the designers and find the perfect design for your site. Don’t be scared, press the guarantee button!
2. Contact other designers
At the start of my competition I didn’t have enough entries and the entries I did have were not very high quality. I was at risk of having to pay for a logo I wasn’t entirely satisfied with. This was a massive worry for me. My solution was to look at other competitions and find designs I liked. I then contacted the designer behind them and invited them to join my competition. In total I think I contacted around 10 designers and 4 of those joined my competition. In the end the design I chose was off one of the designers who I invited.
3. Write a good description
Try as hard as you can to articulate what you want from the logo. Should it work on a dark background? Do you want to see simple designs? Should the logo be placed on the left of the text? For me it was “do I want to promote more the sporty side or the simple enjoyment of cycling?” I failed to mention this at first but it was easy to make the change later. A good idea is to look at some of the best performing competitions and take a look at their descriptions. It is best to just launch the competition and then make improvement as designs come in. Don’t delay indefinitely, launch now even if it isn’t perfect because you can always change it later.
4. Feedback, Feedback, Feedback and.. Feedback
It is a tough task providing new feedback every day. Especially in successful competitions with 100 or more entries. Sometimes you just think “bluh, can’t be bothered!” Or perhaps that is just me?
However, good feedback is essential. Think about how the logo makes you feel and what you do and don’t like. What would you like to see in the next version? Should the designer just scrap this one? You should also use many of 99Designs features. Rate other designs with stars so designers know what you want to see more and less of. Leave comments at the bottom about the direction of the competition.
Also don’t be afraid to ask friends. Talking it through with others is one of the best ways to argue about the merits of different designs. I was pretty much 100% set to go with one design when my friend told me it looked like a Ferris wheel. She was right!
5. Don’t neglect the last 24 hours
As I approached the last 24 hours I considered ending the competition early and going with a design I was fairly satisfied with. Luckily I decided to keep going and I’m glad I did. The last 24 hours tend to be very active with a lot of entries. This is the time when you should be focusing on the competition the most.
Bonus tip: Future proof your design. What happens if your name changes from DailyBlogTips to WeeklyBlogTips? Make sure the designer provides you with the editable Photoshop files and Adobe Illustrator files.
If you follow these tips in a week you could be proudly showing off your logo to your followers. Good luck to you!
About the Author: Andreas is one of the most successful cycling bloggers in the UK. You can read more from his on his blog, London Cyclist.
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