Logo Design Contests?

I was wondering what the communities thoughts are on those logo design contest websites?

I’m not sure what to think about them

I would say that almost everyone on here discourages participating in them.

There are lots of articles that illustrate the issues with them, this being just one. While this article references a specific contest, the issues are still the same for design contest websites.

The bottom line is you’re doing work on the chance you might “win”. If you don’t win, congrats you just worked for free. There are other issues, but the bottom line is no other business operates this way.

Search for “why are design contests bad” and you’ll find lots of additional reasons.

I expect to be paid for the work I do. I don’t work for free on the off chance that the buyer will decide to pay for it after I’m done.

I also charge considerably more than the contest sites are willing to pay. This is because when I design a logo, there’s a great deal of preliminary research, back-and-forth consultations, various recommendations, brand guideline development and, more often than not, a few special projects on which the logo will be used.

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Design contests are like buying lottery tickets, with one of two scenarios.

One: If you play, you might have lost five bucks; if you don’t play, you might have lost a million bucks.

Two: If you don’t play, you might have lost a million bucks; if you play, you might have lost five bucks.

The short answer is: Don’t.

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Take your tax documents to a dozen different accountants and say, “I’m having a contest. Whichever accountant can get me the biggest refund wins.” The accounts will laugh you out of their office.

Give a creative brief to a dozen different designers and say, “I’m having a contest. Whichever designer creates a logo I like wins.” The designers are like, “Sign me up!”

Seriously. What is wrong with our profession?


You only have so much time. If you have an endless amount of time … go for it.

Beats sitting around doing nothing.

Perhaps I am wrong, but it seems likely to me that most people truly earning a solid living in graphic design (in the US or UK etc), are not the ones competing in the bulk of these logo competitions. Most of the competitors seem to be desperate part timers, a lot of young dabblers (often in their teens) that fancy themselves being designers, or some individuals in design school trying to build a portfolio. Also there seems to be some legitimate designers from developing countries involved in these, where 50 bucks is quite good money. (I am working over seas currently, and for many of the people here $50 is close to two days wage for a hard days work.)

Also it seems like the majority of businesses using competitions for logos and such, are the stingy type anyhow. The type I don’t want to try to work with anyhow. If someone asks me after inquiring about my prices, “What kind of a logo can I get for $100?”, I say, “You can get 20 plagiarized logos from Fiverr, or 25 to 100+ designer submissions on 99 designs made from slightly altered clipart, generic stock logos, or other companies logos.” Then send them a link to this http://www.gtdesigns.it/overusedlogos/.


I agree, which is why I don’t worry all that much about these bottom-feeder sites and the business they might take away from me.

What does concern me, however, is the devaluation of the profession that might ensue from websites that promise custom, bespoke work for dirt cheap. It takes a savvy client to know that a logo is really just the starting point of a good visual branding strategy that takes research and lots of experience to pull off successfully.

In the past, those intermediately savvy clients with budget restrictions might have hired professionals who could have worked with them as consultants to help build their brand and their business. Today, those same clients might just head to a contest site, write their version of a creative brief, get something they like (that ultimately won’t work), but never receive any constructive guidance on what might work better for them in the long run.

The problem, B, is the shrinking number of professionals that actually know how to provide constructive guidance. Fewer of you every day as the profession becomes a growing pool of student freelancers.

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