If you are thinking of posting on a “crowd sourcing” website or hosting a “design contest”, then you are seriously going to shoot yourself in the foot.

The appeal of design contests is that they offer more options, if not hundreds of options to choose from for the same (or lower) price as getting one from a reputable company.

But just think about this from the perspective of a graphic designer or artist.

Are the best or logo designers really going to pay your contest much attention and if they do, are they going to invest the time and attention to create you something that is unique and appropriate to your needs?

I seriously don’t think so.

Also think about the types of designers who do enter the competition. They are usually low skilled or inexperienced designers trying to get their name out and build a name for themselves. Now this may work for them, if they get lucky and get picked, but for the others who are entering, they have basically wagered their time on getting whatever price the competition was worth.

Re-Usable Designs

Some designers may also try to hedge their bets by creating a number of generic designs that they then modify them slightly and then enter them across multiple contests. If they get picked by a couple of them, the designer doesn’t care that two companies are essentially the same logo, they got their pay and they will walk away with your cash in your pocket.

The Quality Just Isn’t There

The designs themselves are also of dubious quality. For each good quality design, you may have to wade through twenty or more bad quality designs that just don’t fit anything about the brief.

This is due to a couple of reasons, the first being that the top designers simply don’t enter the contests so you’re not attracting the best talent and secondly, the designers who do enter them are essentially wagering their time in the hopes of winning the contest – they aren’t gonna spend more than 30 mins creating their design.

The Wasted Effort

If your contest is successful, you’re going to need to trawl through all the submissions, the vast majority of them won’t be specific to your project and will be submitted in the hopes of winning. The rest will probably won’t follow all the design brief criteria so you’ll have to trawl through them as well as cut the wheat from the chaff. This can take up a vast amount of time, when professional companies will provide up to 15 different concepts for you to choose from and tweak.

Lack of Customisation

Suppose you pick the best design available, you usually don’t have the necessary contact details to contact the designer in case you need to make small changes to the logo. You may not even receive the final files for the project and will simply get the JPeg image of the logo as your final deliverables, leaving you to pay someone else to create for you in whatever formats you may require.

The Dangerous Sting

However, there is a more dangerous snag that many aren’t aware of. What would happen if I create a design, copyright it as mine and then submit it to a design contest and it gets picked?

I could then potentially sue the contest winner because they are using my design. What would happen if I copied a major company’s logo and you weren’t aware of it and then you chose that design? They then get you to either stop using the logo or sue you (and probably win). Not only then are you out for the cost of the initial contest, but your now wasted time and effort only to have no usable design and you have no recourse from the original logo “designer” because of the way the competition sites work.

There are certain criminals making a good living out of this tactic as once they have a logo created, the effort is minimal on their part and the pay offs are potentially very big for them, especially if they offer to transfer ownership of the logo design for a hefty fee.