Evaluating a Crowdsourced Logo for Client

I have a client who’s got a kind of a side project going to his main business and he’s asked me to evaluate a logo that he’s had designed on a design contest site, like nintyninedesign or whatever, for this new venture.

I tried to blow it off by saying that I couldn’t give an intelligent opinion without a design brief, which he of course doesn’t have, but he’s pushing it.

I suppose that I’ll point that out again and maybe comment on the visual aspects of the design itself (without regard for branding). Don’t feel good about it though.

What would you do?

If it were me, I’d likely take what I know about the client, ask the client a few questions to fill in some missing pieces, then evaluate the crowdsourced logo from the standpoint of how well you think it will work to accomplish whatever objectives you and your client think are necessary. In all likelihood if will fail in that respect, but it’s also your chance to point out the problems while earning a little more respect for your expertise…

Good advice, thanks, and that’s basically what I did, being careful to not offend. I even had someone review my written response and they pointed out a bit that was a little “snippy.”

Find a worksheet that you can use to frame a critique. Kind of like a design brief but with blanks you can fill in. Some sample questions can be:

  • What is the purpose of this design?
  • What is the audience or target market?
  • How does this compare to competitors’ logos?
  • What is the tone or image representing?
  • What is the ultimate goal? Is this logo helping to achieve that?

Basically, fill out this survey with real answers and give it to them. It will give the framework for your answers and make this non-client consider if their design is actually really well thought out.

If he were a ‘non-client’ I wouldn’t have bothered responding to the request. The fact that he is a good client mades it necessary to handle the situation delicately.

What I wrote was well received, and I think accomplished what Just-B suggested, pointing out problems while perhaps earning some respect for expertise.

I should add that this is a client who insists on having things done his way, regardless of the outcome. On several occasions I’ve seen him basically fire people who are too persistent in disagreement. I’ve done a good amount of work with him over the years and, remarkably, I wouldn’t put any of that work in my portfolio. That’s how bad he can be.

Surf Park? You surf in parks? I’d like to try that some day. I’ve heard there are plans to build one in LA, only about an hour from me.

Charge him a consulting fee! That’ll get him to stop… if he wants your opinion, maybe he should have hired you to design the logo in the first place. I had a client do this a while back, I fired him… it’s all or nothing with me, if a client isn’t loyal, neither am I.

Bad attitude. I don’t care if a client tries out someone else. Funny thing is, after swimming around out there for a bit, they almost always come back.
This isn’t a marriage. Fidelity is not expected. Don’t melt down the ring.

Wow! :flushed:

As @PrintDriver said, “This isn’t a marriage.” These are business transactions where service, cost, value, results and professionalism are the driving factors. There are certainly good reasons to fire difficult clients, but failing an all-or-nothing loyalty test shouldn’t be one of them.

People shop around for better deals. If a client decides to use a crowdsourcing site for something, it’s probably a bad decision but hardly a relationship-ending sin. Rather than charge a consulting fee for subsequent advice about it or cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face by firing the client, it might be more productive to view it as an opportunity to show the client a better alternative.

Yeah, one should definitely do what they feel is best for the relationship with their client. My issue is not so much that the client may have used a “another designer”, it’s the “crowd sourcing” aspect that drives me crazy. Crowd sourcing is a slap in the face to the 50 designers that wasted their time on a project “hoping” their design will be chosen. Time they could have been spent producing results for a “loyal” client. Clients that are crowdsource are typically looking for the cheapest solution, and then value your opinion (for free) when they didn’t choose you and went with the cheapest route. If this is the case, that is totally fine, but don’t expect to come back to me asking for my opinion “for free”. I’ve been in this game for 20 years and loyalty and “time” are hard to come by. I have clients that “will not” use another designer and “value” my experience and expertise. Those are the clients I want to keep and will give consulting and advise for free.

This is just my opinion and take on it… if someone is desperately needing work and absolutely needs this client, then do what you feel is necessary. @praxis seemed like he didn’t want to mess with it for the points mentioned above, and probably wouldn’t have asked “What would you do?” if the answer was evident.

Example… I don’t ask 40 accountants, 50 lawyers or 10 doctors to all do my tax returns, contracts and health diagnosis and I’ll pick the one that has the best outcome! Lol. Seriously, any other profession would laugh… I do the same for clients who do not value my expertise. Those professions mentioned above get recommended and have clients that look to them for expert advise. To me, if a client “crowd sources” a project and only asks my opinion after it’s complete, means a few things: #1. They can’t afford my services, or #2. They just don’t value my service.

Again, this is the way I handle my business and it works for me as I don’t have time to waste

I hope this helps!

John David

@PrintDriver My attitude is just fine… yes, I may have sounded a little harsh. My point is @praxis asked a question “What would you do”… and that’s exactly what I would do. Of course I would let them know in a polite manner. My point is I personally would rather focus on clients that hire me for the work.

I have a contractor that has built my last 2 houses. I wouldn’t have him come and inspect my 3rd house that his competitor built for me. Would it be professional for me to ask him to come and inspect my new house and to ask his professional opinion? He would probably be somewhat upset that I didn’t look to him for the project when he was fully capable. Would you agree?


Yesterday, having some free time and a little of curiosity, I looked it up. He paid $99 for the winning design from 113 designs by 32 designers.

Sucks to be them.

Actually, this hasn’t been my experience. For instance, in this case I know the client would have readily paid ten times the amount for a logo, in different circumstances. He’s payed me more in the past for one, and he’s hired an agency (small 2 person) to design one also. I don’t know why he went this route for this project.

And I billed for reviewing the information he sent and writing a response. That might have been a dealbreaker if there were an expectation that I do it for free.

Just for fun, check out one of the entries:

Screen Shot 2020-04-27 at 11.45.33 AM
So illustrative but nevertheless only 4 steps (7 step program) illustrated. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Like liquid, a market always seeks flow to the lowest point. I’d say those “designers” themselves are providing the thrust behind that slap. All participants in crowdsourcing are seeking what they get, and getting what they deserve.

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I’m with you there. It drives me crazy too, and it’s contributing to everything from bad design being the norm to plummeting fees for the rest of us.

Just for the sake of argument, let’s say I’m an accountant, and I’ve had a certain client for years who, for some reason last year, decided to use an online tax preparation service. Between then and now, this client comes to me and asks me about his choice to use the online service.

Do I charge him a consulting fee for my negative opinion, then fire him for his disloyalty? No, I take the opportunity to quickly run some numbers and show him that, despite my higher fees, I could have saved him several thousand dollars through additional deductions and/or suggested tax strategies for the coming year that the online service did not do, which would have more than offset my higher fees. I now have a loyal client who appreciates my better service rather than a former client that I’ve offended.

Please note - I was “typing” in the heat of passion!! Lol. I wouldn’t address the client as abrupt as in my post. I’ve been a designer for roughly 20 years and I see through a lot of BS with clients.

In response to your Accountant scenario… There is a difference between the client asking you what your thoughts are about about him using an online service (opinion) and the client asking you to evaluate the tax return (time/effort/expertise).

One is an “opinion” and the other is a “service”.

I see your point, if you have the time and if you think the relationship can be salvaged with future projects, then go for it. It’s funny you use the “Accountant” scenario… my accountant told me that he was no longer doing quarterly or end of year work… either move to a monthly (retainer) or he can not service my account.

Ha! For $99 more dollars, he can get the other “3 Steps”!!


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