Dangers of crowdsourcing web design

As a startup, small business or entrepreneur, you’re often driven to keep your costs as low as possible. As a small business owner myself, I totally get that desire to bootstrap and cut costs wherever possible, but I’m going to argue (and everything here is just an opinion!) that one place you should never do this, is when it comes to your logo. Your logo and branding are the face your business shows to the outside world. Potential clients and customers will judge you on it, and it can appear on your website, across social media channels, print pieces like business cards and on apps and software – everywhere really!

But a great logo isn’t just like about looking polished or trendy; it should really tell your audience something about your business. It should be a window into the soul of what you do, and every other element of your branding (which includes the colours you use, your font choices, your email signature, and the images you use for social media) should continue to tell your brand’s story. So when you’re looking for a logo designer, you need to find someone who cares enough to listen to that story, and who is going to be able to retell it in a visual way.

Dangers of Design Crowdsourcing Websites

The problem with a design crowdsourcing site like 99designs or their ilk, is that these designers aren’t able to connect with you directly, and don’t learn enough about your brand’s story. The interface only allows you as a client to input limited details about certain aspects of your business, and tends to focus heavily on your personal likes and dislikes as an individual, which isn’t necessarily what will best convey your brand’s message.

Aside from the lack of human connection or detailed briefing, there’s the problem of the whole “contest” mechanism, where designers compete to win the cash prize that you’ve set. Unfortunately even Platinum Designers on 99 Designs (they’re Platinum because they’ve “won” a certain number of contests) have figured out they only have about a 6-9% chance of their logo version winning, and therefore getting paid. With stats like that, how much time do you think they’re spending on a careful consideration of your business’s needs? Not very much I can tell you. Instead they take a scattergun approach, churning out quick options then moving on to the next.

The final danger, apart from the lack of personal connection, knowledge about your brand’s mission and values, and the contest system, is the problem of copy-catting and identikit logos. It’s easy for a designer to create ten versions of what is essentially the same logo, and enter it into multiple competitions until they finally get a score. The forums of 99 Designs are full of complaints and issues where companies have realized they have basically the same design as another one, or where a designer’s work has been ripped off.

Now I’ve recapped all the cons, it’s time to acknowledge the two huge benefits of crowdsourcing your design: Cost and Speed. Startups, small businesses and entrepreneurs of course need to keep costs low, but they also want a speedy solution to their problem, as they usually want to go to market to test their concept quickly. The combination of these wishes for cost effectiveness and speed, are why we’ve created Delilah – we can create a logo and brand toolkit for you at a very reasonable price, and within one week. We’ll give you a detailed creative consultation (either in person or via Skype) then take you through our branding assignment process to learn all about what matters to you for your brand, and your brand’s story. Our designers will focus on your logo exclusively, and provide multiple explorations for you to choose from. We’ll provide our expert advice and opinion on your selection, and then provide you with a toolkit full of graphics, fonts suggestions and image inspiration to take away with you.

You might be tempted by the idea of crowdsourcing your logo, but there is another way. If you’re interested in our Brand Building Experience, email hello@delilahcreative.com and we’ll share more about our process.