I used 99 Designs, and now I feel kind of bad


Back in March, I decided my company Nutmeg Data needed a new logo, the old one was from buildabrand.com, and while it wasn’t bad, was just a fairly generic template which had nothing to do with the company itself, and certainly not unique.

When it comes to logo designs online, there’s really only one website I hear about, 99 Designs, who run a “crowd sourcing” system, where you pay a fixed price, and multiple designers can submit work for you to feedback, refine and improve, prior to selection of a final logo. So, for the price of £295, you get between 30 and 50 designers doing work for you.

This is somewhat controversial, but I decided it sounded good, the pricing was clear, up front, and had no catches, the service seemed easy to use, so I went for it.

5 days later I had my new company logo, which I’m happy with, but at the same time I had a bad feeling in my stomach about it.

I’d received 154 entries from 45 designers, and supplied feedback to dozens of people, but along the way I got overwhelmed by the responses, failed to respond with enough information and guidance, and in the end, I think I just happened to get lucky with my logo.

There are dozens of entries which deserved a response, but didn’t get one, and plenty of people who got a few words of response which didn’t help them improve the logo in the slightest.

Looking back, I realise that I went with 99 Designs because I had no clear vision of what kind of logo I wanted, or which designer to use, and their process meant it didn’t matter, I could just see what came out and picked the one I wanted.

But of course I didn’t need to know how to express what I want in a logo, that’s the designers job – to tease out of you the kind of things you want in a logo, and build something appropriate.

I’m not sure what the answer is to my problem, perhaps designers should be more open with their pricing and what you get for your money, but then there’s not many software developers, house builders, or project managers who’ll tell you on their website what the standard price for a bespoke piece of work would be.

Maybe I just needed to be contact a couple of recommended designers with experience in the field, speak to them, and see what they recommend, before paying one for a few hours work with me.

Maybe someone could make a website for doing that, so it’s all automatic? 🙂

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