Want to hear a graphic designer squeal? Mention the word crowdsourcing.
If you ever held a graphic design contest then you are familiar with the concept: crowdsource graphic design is a concept where an individual or company needs a design (contest holder) and specifies what the work should entail and what type of budget range he or she is working with. Designers submit their work according to the contest holder’s specification in hopes to be among the winning design.
Benefits of Design Contests
- many designs to choose from
- less expensive than custom design
- great for sites or projects that don’t necessarily need branding
Many Designs to Choose From
If you have limited experience choosing a design and just want to break into the process, having a variety of selections may be a good thing. However, be aware that you are choosing quantity over quality. The quality loss comes not in the actual design itself but the process of the initial back-and-forth interaction with the designer.
Less Expensive than Custom Design
You get a lot of choices for little money. Custom logo design can range in the thousands. Holding a contest will often cost you less than $1,000.
Great for Sites or Projects That Don’t Necessarily Need Branding
Not all websites, projects or businesses need branding. For example: personal websites or blogs, student sites, etc.
Disadvantages of Design Contests
- message might not be what you want to convey
- attracts inexperienced designers
- designer doesn’t get to be a ‘designer’
- contest holder is not a designer
- no time to build a relationship with your designer
- feels like you have choices but your choices are actually limited
Message Might Not Be What You Want to Convey
Since there isn’t an official process the designer has to do a lot of guessing and you have to chose from that selection. This almost always is a given even when you initially provide specs. Design specifications have to be the textual blueprint of a design and if you are not used to writing them chances are the designer will have a hard time understanding your vision. This is why a back and forth conversation is necessary.
Attracts Inexperienced Designers
Graphic designers who want to improve their skills or build a portfolio often use design contests as a way to do both. Though it may seem like a benefit the odds are actually against newcomers.
Designer Doesn’t Get To Be a Designer
Professional graphic designers spend years learning their craft. Along the way they learn how to speak to your customers visually and symbolically by getting to know your company, products and customers. Design contests rob you and your company of this valuable experience.
Contest Holder is Not a Designer
While you probably have a particular idea about how you want your images to look, there may be other ways to approach it. In addition, graphic design is about delivering a message visually because we are visual creatures, not necessarily about a good looking logo.
No Time to Build a Relationship With Your Designer
Business relationships are important. It’s no different here. The better relationship you have with your provider they better results you are more likely to achieve.
Feels Like You Have Choices But Your Choices Are Actually Limited
When you skip the design consultation process you don’t get to have a back and forth conversation about your company, products and customers giving the designer a chance to build something that is truly unique and memorable for your business. Instead you get dozens of guesses.
Carefully weigh your options before using a graphic design contest as your means of finding creative talent. Great design is much more than a pretty image.
Your brand is important and should be carefully and intelligently conveyed in a design; something a contest leaves little room to nurture.