Bad Logos Can Happen Anywhere...
This article you are about to read is just one side to the story. Many logo contest clients and designers have positive experiences. There are some concerns though that need to be addressed. Bad logos can happen anywhere but they are more prevalent in logo contests. The main reason is that you have a lot of new designers and people who are not designers entering these competitions. A lot of professional designers will not even think about entering contests because they consider this spec work. Spec work is work that is done by a designer with the hopes of being paid at a later date. Some industries work this way however professional designers would rather not. Logo contests have sparked a huge debate online. Our site has a very pro contests vibe but we wanted to be fair and include both sides of the argument.
6 Reasons Why Logo Contests Are Bad!
#1 Have I seen it somewhere??
On many entertaining occasions, I have had the pleasure of seeing copyrighted images used on a logo in logo design contests. It is like a treasure chest of copyright infringement. Basically, designers submitting these logos don't care if they violate copy righted images or trademarks. Shown above is an image of a Kitty used in a logo for a contest. Does it look familiar?? Oh that's right...it's HELLO KITTY!!
#2 Who's designing your logo?
Unlike established graphic design companies, you can't really get to know your designers. Sure, you can drop a personal message here and there but you can't call them and ask them questions like you can with most design companies. It is important to be able to talk to somebody in case you have problems with your logos or you are just not getting your point across by email, which happens a lot. And in many cases, untrained designers are submitting their logo concepts which can result in bad logos. This is not to say that they are all bad. But more often than not, teenage kids who have not studied core concepts of graphic design or just doing it for fun and hoping to win some lunch money are submitting their designs. And if they win a contest, would you trust them to be responsible enough to provide you with all of the necessary files and provide you with great customer service? I don't think so...
#3 Want needy designers? anyone??
Browsing through those logo design contest sites is very entertaining. There always is a section where designers can comment on other designer's work or have questions for the contest holders. Reading through some comments, there is at least one designer who keeps badgering contest holders for a feedback or some sort of rating whenever he/she submits a design. And if the contest holder is delayed in giving them feedback, they would say stuff like "Be careful of this contest holder, he doesn't provide any feedback!" I understand that it is important to get a feedback from clients but you can't expect them to be around for you 24/7. Contest holders have other things they have to do other than providing designers with instant feedback. Holding a logo design contest is like baby sitting a bunch of 2 year olds who are needy and whiny.
#4 Time is up!
There is always a time limitation for logo design contests. It's usually 7 days but some contest holders opt to have their contest run for only 2 days. 7 days to get your logo maybe enough for some people. But what if you don't get your ideal logo during that time? You would be out a few hundred dollars and no logo. I guess you can close the contest without picking anyone but I'm pretty sure you have to pay the site to run your contest. You would then be paying for no reason. You wouldn't want your company to have a bad logo. Also, it's not like you can have a long lasting relationship with your logo designer during those 7 days. There should be no time restriction when it comes to getting the logo you want.
#5 Who cares about your logo?
Logo designers who enter these contests could not care less about what the company is about. They don't pay attention to the logo design briefs or what the company stands for. This results in a lot of bad logos being submitted. Many contest holders get very frustrated because despite of their logo design briefs, contest participants just go right ahead and do whatever they want. I often see comments by contest holders asking if anyone has read their briefs because most of the submissions completely ignore requirements from contest holders. Designers should have in-depth understanding of the company they are designing their logos for. Only then the designers will be able to start the process of designing logos.
#6 Working hard for your logo
Logo design contest can be very expensive and time consuming. Not only contest holders have to pay to run the contest upfront, there is not guarantee that they will end up with a logo they like. If they don't end up getting a logo, they will have to look elsewhere to get the job done. They also have to police the contest however long it may be. If they have to work during this time (most people do...), they would have wasted their valuable work time on the logo contest. Clients shouldn't be working for logos, designers should. This is why you hire a professional designer to get the job done.