Despite grousing by NoSpec this, and Antispec that, everyone and their dog are opening up design contest sites, so we figure it’s time to pitch our less-than-principled hat into the crowdsourcing ring. At least, until people start catching on

Preamble: This article was originally supposed to run as part of our April Fool’s Day prank a few years back, but it was nixed as being far too long for that purpose. Reading it again this morning, figured it was strong enough to run as a stand-alone blog. It was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

A logo that you’ll love!

Getting something designed at our new design contest site is easy.

Real easy.

Even though you could totally do it yourself, we’ll help you run a contest, using something everyone’s calling “crowdsourcing”. That’s where a whole bunch of anonymous designers compete to create sort of design – usually a logo – to meet your needs.passionate-about-making-great-logosAll you really need is a very vague idea of what you want designed and how much you’re willing to pay. Don’t fret over the amount you promise to pay either, cause if you want, you can always ask us for your money back, and you won’t have to pay any stupid prize. You can even help yourself to the ideas that our zany designers have uploaded, and get someone else to render it, before asking for a refund.

That’s a lot cheaper than awarding the prize.

We’ll keep your $29 ‘listing fee’ if that’s all the same with you. We’ll also keep the money you paid for all those contest listing upsells – bold titles, screened boxes and a link on our front page – ’cause that’s only fair. Running a spec work website is hard, and while designers might be willing to work for free (yeah, we find it hard to believe too) we certainly aren’t. Appreciate if you’d keep that little nugget between us though, as someday, a whole bunch of designers are going to wise up to this whole working for free deal, and then we’re pretty well finished.

Torches and pitchforks kinda thing.

Obviously, we’d like to put off that day as long as possible, so for the time being, here’s how it all works…

Step 1: Set Your Budget.

We will ask you how much you’re willing to pay the winning designer to purchase their design. This is called the prize. Designers like prizes and stuff. Sometimes we call them awards. Sometimes we call them projects. Let’s just call it all sorts of free. It’s simpler that way. Prize amounts generally range from $100 to $600 depending on the type of design you require. Logo design is probably best.

Oh hell, make it a $1,000 if you like.

You don’t really have to worry about that figure ’cause if you want, you can cancel the contest for whatever reason that enters your head, whenever you like, and after as many contest entries as you feel is necessary to make your bucks seem well spent. We did mention we keep your listing fee, though, right? And all those upsells. Good. Sometimes, designers will ask you to ‘guarantee’ a contest before they’ll submit anything. Guarantee away. See, here’s the thing. A guaranteed contest isn’t really guaranteed, because you can always dispute the charge with your credit card company. They’re not sure about this crowdsourcing stuff so they’ll probably give you your money back with little hassle. We’d lose our fee, and we can’t have that.

Just ask for a refund and all will be peachy.

Step 2: Create Your Design Brief

We will ask you a few simple questions that will form your design brief.
logomatic-2000Not being designers ourselves, we have absolutely no idea what all the questions mean, but apparently (according to the website we, ahm, borrowed the questionnaire from), a design brief is just a summary of what you need designed. Don’t worry about it right now. Leave the thing blank for all we care. Just click on the submit payment button.

Click it!

After a few designers have uploaded their ideas you can let things pretty well take their course. Don’t worry about wasting the time of the designers fumbling about trying to figure out what it is you want. Designers love designing. A lot. And they’ll gladly design a ton of stuff for nothing (yeah, we still find it hard to believe). As our design community is uber cool, and we don’t want to make you feel fenced in, change your brief at will. As often as you like. Change the name. Change the industry.

We’re all cool.

The designers aren’t getting paid anything, so what are they gonna do anyway? Not enter your contest and not stand a chance of getting paid? Hah! Remember, designers like ‘guaranteed’ contests. So just guarantee it. And all will be awesome. Remember, it only costs around thirty bucks to post your creative brief.

That’s chicken feed.

Step 3: Work with ahm, “our” designers.

Contests usually involve submitting something and then waiting till it gets judged. Or picked at random. Or picked according to some snooty rules and regulations. Not here. For some reason, designers are down with entering contests a whole bunch of times. New versions. Revisions. Edits. (LOL – yeah, we can’t figure it out either). But that’s okay, because once your design brief has been posted to our site, designers from around the globe (mostly from developing countries were a couple of hun is a king’s ransom) will submit design concepts to compete for your prize. It’s your job to rate the designs and provide feedback to help them deliver your groovy vision. Even if you have no idea what that vision is. Use them. Abuse them. Ask for as many revisions and edits as you like. Have a ball.

As you’re not paying for any of this, you have absolutely no reason whatsoever to show any restraint.

And you know what that is. Awesome! Here’s the thing though. Contest designers need feedback. Even more than a pay check. We realize that it’s a bit much to give every single design feedback (especially that stinkeroo on page four), so we’ve give you feedback tools to use. Stars. Red hearts. Blue hearts. Little trophies. Lightning bolts. The works. Just click on stuff. See, when you click on a lot of stuff, we have contest health indicators that calculate your random hearts and stars into smiley faces.

Smiley faces mean your contest is ‘healthy’.

That’s good. Because designers like entering ‘healthy’ contests. They look for smiley faces. And by getting stars and hearts and little JPG trophies, designers become better designers. OMG. That is so awesome.

Step 4: Choose Your Favorite Design.

At the completion of the design contest (which is typically 7 days, or 14 days, or how ever long you’d like to drag your squirrel fight out, ask for extensions at will) you should choose a winning design and pay the designer the prize amount. Or not. The designer will send you their completed design along with copyright to the original art work. That is, if it’s original, because sadly, as we’ll tell you in a minute, we have no idea if it is. Or isn’t. Because figuring out if something you bought from us is original just ain’t our bag.

That’s all there is to it. Except for…

Terms & Conditions.

In order to keep our community (heh, I still love using that phrase) as streamlined and democratic as possible, we don’t have much in the way of snooty, elitist terms and conditions. Here’s the important parts: none of these designers actually work for us, so don’t hassle us if things go wrong. And oh yeah, we’re not really responsible for anything that people upload into your contest, cause we don’t know too much about the designers entering, their names, how old they are, where they live or any other pesky details that typically gum up the works.

Bottom line, ain’t our problem.

And even if we wanted to make it our problem, which we don’t, we couldn’t, because we have no idea who anyone is. Other than some IP number that seems to lead to something called a ‘proxy’ at some dial-up in Uzbekistan.

Copyright claims.

If you’re a designer who’s not part of our community, and one of “our” designers uploads something that was inspired by stuff you designed, tough titty. Or if they knocked it off completely. If they’re using a free vector from your blog, well, you shouldn’t have given it away for free now, should you?

Bottom line. We’re not responsible.

We’re not responsible because we say we’re not responsible. We might get around to removing your work if you ask nicely. Or maybe we won’t. Though if you’d keep these little copyright infringement issues on the D/L we’d be forever in your debt. Rather not let contest holders know that a lot of the designs we promised them are copied from someone else. That would only upset them and that’s not what we’re all about. We’re about being a groovy community. And the fun. And keeping bad shit that happens quiet. And we have to tell you that we take stuff down, because if we didn’t tell you we will, we’d be responsible for copyright infringement every time an ‘inspired’ design hits our server. And Lordy, nobody wants that.

Welcome aboard. Click here to launch a contest. Click here to join our community.