To cut the long story short, logo design contests can be bad for your business because they turn out half-products which are not suited for your company and which do very little to further your brand identity.
In all truthfulness, logo design contests can seem like a smart idea, especially for small businesses which have to consider budget constraints when commissioning a logo. On top of that, most businesses think of logos as appendages – something that they ought to have but can’t really pinpoint why and have no idea what purpose they serve.
Underestimating the power of a good logo can be detrimental to your business. Mega-corporations have been built on brand power and brand identity. What if we told you that Coca-Cola logo has not changed in over 100 years? It’s hard to believe but it’s true – Coca-Cola values their logo at $ 74 billion! – and it’s because they know how powerful it is.
There are a couple of things you have to keep in mind if you’re planning on using logo contests to find your perfectly designed signature sign that is going to make you and your business recognizable at a glance.
How Can it All End Badly?
The first thing is that you never know who you’re paying and what you’ll end up getting and that is the God’s honest truth. You have no idea if people sending you their entries are professional logo designers or high school students trying to earn some pocket money.
Most of the time it’s the second group and what they bring to the table with their enthusiasm and edginess they invalidate with their complete ignorance of logo usability, effectiveness, and goals. The fact is that logo contests rarely pay out – out of 20 held only one is completed and the winner takes home the cash. Even that is a generous estimate. For this reason, even bad designers refuse to waste time on logo contests.
The entries that get submitted often lack that certain something that you get when you hire an agency or a designer to do the logo for you. That something is innovation, professionalism, and vision.
While this will cost you money it will inevitably produce better results. Professional logo designers will take the time to get to know your business and your industry. They will also ask you questions, lots and lots of questions that go beyond the scope of a brief you leave on a logo content page. That’s why logo designers cost money – you pay for the time they invest in getting everything just right.
With logo contests, you’re saving a small sum of money in the hopes that someone will accidentally come up with something you can use. This happens very rarely, unfortunately, as logo contest entrants have neither the skills nor the knowledge to pull this off.
On the other hand, you also have to consider logo usability. Logo designers simply know that they have to make several versions of the logo: one that will be used for print, another for the web, a third, clear version that can be superimposed over images, and so on. These are all details that can make or break your logo – it hinges on them if the entire project soars up or sinks like an anchor. What do you think, how many logo contest entrants think about this when designing a logo? A good guess would be close to none.
And in the end, even if you manage to get a logo that captures the essence of your business and is actually good, chances are you’re going to have to rework it. Some colors will be off maybe, or there will be a line there that just doesn’t fit, or something else. The point is – you’re going to have to tweak it yourself or go to a designer to add the finishing touches and make the logo just right. The question immediately arises: why not go to a professional designer straight away and save yourself countless hours of sifting through bad logos until you finally come to one that you can actually use?
Now you can see why the short and simple answer to whether or not you should get your logo from a logo contest would be a firm and resolute NO! It’s just not worth it. Every single logo has the potential of evolving into something easily recognizable – a sort of a symbolic brand ambassador. But only if it’s good. And good logo’s cost money, at least in the short run – in the long run, they generate money. On the other hand, logo contests are cheap but a bad logo can ensure that your business never really takes off the ground.