Harness the Internet Masses for Cheap Logo Design

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I contracted a single designer to create logos in previous business branding. Our back-and-forth process worked, but it got pricy, and I wasted a lot of time as we kept trying new iterations. For my next business, I'm trying LogoTournament. The site inverts the idea of one designer spending a lot of time; here many designers spend a little time, each submitting their ideas. The winner nets my prepaid bounty, and I get full rights to the logo.

I was a little skeptical to turn to the Internet masses versus a single designer. Anyone can upload ideas. But only a few days into my contest so far, I already have a few submissions that could work, among a dozen other attempts. As we get closer to my week-long deadline, I expect more designers to add entries. Other contests paying as little as $250 are getting 100 or more entries, but if you don't get at least 30, LogoTournament offers a refund.

The process still relies on your direction, just like with a single, known designer. You'll fill out an initial, identity questionnaire to describe the business or product. And about a dozen sliders give more guidance, letting you decide if you want the logo to be more playful or serious, or quiet or loud, for example.

As designers upload their pitches, you rank the results and give even more feedback. Everyone sees this process, so if something is completely wrong for your needs, other designers know to avoid similar pitfalls. It's much more interactive than I expected while still being simple.

At the end of the contest, you pick the final winner. They'll upload an EPS file that'll work great for a letterhead, web design, or any other use. Once you approve it, the winning prize that LogoTournament held in escrow gets transfered, minus a 15% fee.

The process and cheap cost are ideal for small businesses and startups. But medium-sized companies could still get value from the brainstorming and end up with a great logo, even if they could afford the time and cost of a dedicated designer.

Zack Stern is a freelance writer and editor in the middle of launching a new Internet business.

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