My 99designs – Picking a New Logo

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This is a guest post from Eric Rosenberg at Narrow Bridge Finance, a site where you can learn about investing, budgeting, entrepreneurship, and making your finances easy.  If you want to guest post, check out my guidelines here.

Why You Need a Logo

I started Narrow Bridge Finance over three years ago as a place to discuss my student debt and share what I learned while working in a bank. The site was not professionally designed, it did not have a logo, and you could tell that it was something that I just threw together.

picking a new logo

Fast forward to a few months ago. I had recently attended the financial bloggers conference, I was networking like crazy, and I needed a good logo design for both my site and use around the web. A strong logo is an important part of marketing and branding. It was time for me to get a real logo to present myself professionally around the web.

Design Options

I considered several different alternatives when looking for a designer. I knew friends from the Yakezie who were happy to help me out for a modest fee. I knew of big freelancer sites where I could submit my project to thousands of people. I even have a cousin who does graphic work, and I could have gone to him.

But, in the back of my mind, I kept returning to 99designs. I had read about the site dozens of times. It had been mentioned by respected bloggers and marketers, so I knew it would be a good choice.

What Makes 99designs Special?

99designs is unique because designers compete for your business. Buyers choose a type of design and launch a paid contest where hundreds of designers have the option to submit a design. The higher your prize, the more designers submit. If you guarantee that you will choose a winner, even more compete.

The site currently averages 116 designs per project. That gives you a lot of options and helps you find the design that is the best fit for your needs.

My Design Contest

I launched my design contest with the “bronze” logo package. For $295, I was able to create a detailed description for what I wanted in this design brief. I tried to be incredibly specific so designers would create something I liked.

Based on my brief, a flood of designs came in over the first day. Based on those designs, I was able to eliminate what I hated and give feedback to designers to get closer to what I wanted.

By the end of the contest, 29 designers had submitted 179 designs. At the end of the submission period, I limited the field to my favorite 6 designers. Those designers had a chance to impress me even more to ensure they had the best chance to win and I would get the best logo.

At the end, I picked a designer I liked and paid him a little extra so I could get four versions of the winning design (seen above).

Tips to Get A Good Result

  • Create a very detailed design brief that describes what you are looking for. Be as specific as possible, but make sure to still give the designers freedom to be creative.
  • Eliminate designs that you don’t like as they are submitted to keep from being overwhelmed. Use the rating tools and the feedback options to give both public and private feedback. You can also update your design brief if you have new ideas once your contest begins.
  • As you find designs that you really like, give them higher ratings and keep them in mind for the final round.
  • Once you are down to 8 logos, poll your friends to help you find what logos everyone likes best.
  • Keep the contact information for your designer in case you want extra work performed or want to work together in the future.

These are just my ideas. A few weeks back, Geoff did a review of 99designs and Andrea from So Over Debt wrote about her experience getting a logo from 99designs, be sure to read those as well to get a good idea for how to run a contest.

I Found a Great Freelancer

At the end of the day, my result was great. I was completely satisfied with my design and worked with a freelancer that I would not have found elsewhere. I had many designs to choose from and my site is now more professional than ever.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. I will be sure to answer you.

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