There are a few ways of designing a logo: do it yourself; hire a friend or relative; use a professional design firm or crowdsource it. This article will define crowdsourcing, then examine its’ strengths and weaknesses.
A phrase used since 2006, ‘crowdsourcing’ means having a project done by a group of people on the Internet, rather than using the traditional methods of having it done in house, or by an outside contractor or firm. Wikipedia is one example of crowdsourcing—their entries are written by a large community of online contributors. While there are some ‘free’ graphic design crowdsourcing (open source software), most of them charge a fee.
In the Logo Design Community, you will find crowdsourcing websites such as Crowdspring and 99designs. They are online platforms where clients post their job description and deadlines, then graphic designers submit bids on the project. The client then hires one or more of the bidders. The concept seems to be polarizing: people either love it or hate it.
Let’s examine the good and bad points of Crowdsourcing.
The Good Points
- Strength in numbers: many graphic designers participate in Crowdsourcing, so you’ll be reaching a major segment of the community.
- Economical: outside firms may charge larger fees than you can afford, especially if your company is a startup. With Crowdsourcing, you set the fee.
- Variety: a graphic design firm may submit 3-5 logo sketches. A Crowdsourcing job bid may bring dozens of initial designs.
- Free publicity: when you submit a bid, you are putting the corporation in the open market, and could develop future contacts.
- Education: by submitting a job, you will get responses from many graphic designers and see many more styles of design than if you contacted a single graphic design firm. You might even find a very talented young designer and be able to hire them at a reasonable fee.
The Bad Points
- Deadlines: since the client had to evaluate bids, it takes time from the project deadline and makes deadlines tighter—upping the stress factor on client and designer.
- Sensory Overload: you may get too many submissions, and find it hard choosing one.
- No time for discussion: in this scenario, a client does not have the time to have a full interview with the graphic designer/team. This could cause problems during the project.
- Diminished value of logo: since you are paying under the market rate, it’s likely you may get an underwhelming product.
- Copyright and Trademark Issues: if you hire a graphic designer from another country, they may have different trademark/copyright laws, and you could be violating their laws. It may be prudent to speak with your legal department before hiring somebody from Crowdsource.
Since Crowdsourcing is relatively new (8 or 9 years old: there are conflicting dates) it lacks a track record or pattern of performance. A conservative company may wish to choose other options. There are other ways to find and hire graphic designers, and we don’t think one is superior to the others. We believe you need to do research, analyze the results, and then choose the option that suits your firm.