Logo Design Articles

Logo design contests

Branding your company as a competitive sport?

How to enter a logo design contestSpam. Based on a simple, if flawed concept. Send enough ‘get yer Viagra here’ laced e-mails to unsuspecting recipients, you will eventually find that one person who is willing to purchase. Works for FAX spam too. A hall of famer in the “it’s incredible how much effort folks will go to in order to avoid an honest day’s labor” category, it is dopey and (with response rates in the 1/100000’s) pretty ineffectual. Targeted marketing is much more efficient, will net far greater results, and in the long run – a much higher payback. Spam’s only real appeal is that it’s cheap, if not free, for the so-called ‘advertiser’. How does this relate to a logo design article, you might ask (and you might). Well, in my humble opinion, design contests (and other types of ’spec’ – speculative – design ‘offerings’) are nothing more than visual Spam. With similar results and driven by similar motives. Here’s the usual pitch – somebody who wants a new brand created for their fledgling business offers a prize (I’ve seen everything between $50 to a few grand and some with nothing but the ‘glory’ of designing the job) as part of a design contest (recently repackaged as crowdsourcing) during which designers will submit their work, without any contract, payment or agreement (other than the ‘winner’), in the hopes of having their work selected. Logo contest on 99designs websiteIt uses the ‘visual Spam’ theory – if enough designers, throw enough ideas (for free, natch) at a project, one of these entries ’should’ be a winner. It’s also a variant of the ’something for nothing’ approach. And my mother has been lecturing me on that one since I was a wee lad… (above and right deer logo from our portfolio gets knocked off and entered into a logo design contest).

Logo design contests and other ‘spec’ work

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this – “if you show me what you’re proposing for my business logo, and if I like it, I’ll pay for it”, I’d be a rich man. Or at least the proud owner of a lot of nickels. My answer is and has been always the same – “No thanks”. Firstly, a design studio is like any other business. Overhead. Salaries. Day-to-day expenses. It’s downright impractical and illogical to give our product away for free (that part should be obvious). Running The Logo Factory studio with ‘hope to get paid’ projects, while our designers are of the “definitely getting paid” variety is a formula that any first year business student would see as fundamentally flawed. And in-demand designers (the good ones) always get paid. Conversely, I never ask our clients for ‘free stuff’. Ain’t nice. Ain’t professional. I also wouldn’t think of asking my neighborhood accountants to submit final tax returns as a contest (I’d be begging for an audit), a bevy of dentists to work on my molars in ‘hope of getting paid (might as well sign up for those dentures now) or ask for mechanics to fix my brakes on ’spec’ (hope my insurance is paid up). Wouldn’t work for plumbing either. In other ‘professional’ fields, it’s accepted practice to select a service provider based on a myriad of factors. Your needs and budget. Their experience and expertise. And it is a generally accepted philosophy that “you get what you pay for”.

How much effort does unpaid design work get?

Yet another logo design contest site. Yet another knock-offIt could also be argued that ’spec’ or ‘speculative’ design work has further, less obvious, ramifications – for designer and buyers alike. Some examples? From a purely pragmatic point of view, whenever designers are performing spec work, they are not working ‘with’ paying clients – folks who are the lifeblood of TLF. It’s not fair to ‘real clients’ who ‘have’ formed a professional working relationship with our studio. These are the clients that deserve (and get) our undivided attention and effort. Spec work is also based on a basic misunderstanding of what a logo actually is – it is not a bunch of ’swirls’ created with illustration software. It’s not just the logo that ‘looks the best’ (as subjective a barometer as possible) – it should be gauged by a far more complicated litmus test including usability, application and market reach. It is the execution of an ‘idea’ – a concept. With a capital ‘C’. Generally, a successful logo is the percolation of the company’s personality into graphic form, created by detailed interaction and back-and-forth. It also involves the services of a designer who’s capable of executing the concept flawlessly and with technical proficiency. Not a random spray of overused, overdone squiggles and wiggles thrown ‘together’ in the ‘hope’ of winning this, or that, contest. And yet anotherDesign is not a sporting event (and an amateur one at that). And at the risk of sounding snooty, I will guarantee you this – *if* I were to enter $100 spec logo contests, I would hold-back the best ideas (lest they get ‘lifted’ by someone who’s ethically challenged) and wouldn’t budget the time (and resultant effort) that a paid gig would get. After all, why should we release our ‘primo’ ideas into ‘the wild’ where they can be usurped by other folks (”I can use that idea, render it myself, and charge you less than they would”). Bottom line, while the logo we presented to you may be ‘better’ than the others, it would not contain the ‘blood and soul’ that our team usually pours into their work. It’s nothing personal. The ‘chance’ of winning $80 only buys so much time and effort. There’s only one way to design a logo in ten minutes flat. And unless we’ve run completely dry of paying gigs, we don’t have the time – a finite resource – to do anything more. Sorry, but it’s a dollars and cents equation. And while this is supposed to be the latest thing, that’s probably a result of as opposed to facts on the ground. Though, and just to give you swell feelings about design contest sites in general, did we tell you that some feature children designers as young as eleven? That alone should negate any designers’ participation.

The best of a bad bunch?

Many designers and clients wonder “are logo design contests really that bad?” I’d argue yes. From a end-user point of view, design contests & spec work develops an artificial sliding scale in a completely artificial environment. Best to worst. Logos are arranged from most favorite to least favorite. The most favorite wins. That doesn’t mean its the ‘best’ solution for you. Or the ‘best’ solution possible. It also doesn’t meant that the logo is applicable from a technical point of view. It does not meant that the designer who Another of our logos entered in a 99designs logo contestcreated it gave it their all. It only means that it’s the best ‘option’ from the entries you received. Nothing more. Nothing less. And if more than a few of the ‘entrants’ have our attitude (which most professionals do), the selection of work will be less than stellar. And received from ‘designers’ (background, skills and ethics unknown) who a) have the time to donate and b) don’t perceive themselves as professionals (as no designer worth their sand will participate anyway). It’s the difference between custom and selecting from ‘off-the-rack’.

I know what kind of suit my wife insisted I wear to my wedding…

Now, if we had run out of work (we’re bored), or were struggling to make ends meet (collection notices on the door, that kind of thing) we ‘might’ consider entering a contest in the hope of making some fast cash (note – only for the sake of this discussion. In real life, we’d spend the time marketing those skills – a much higher payoff). But if that were the case, you’d now have designers who are entering your contest because they are desperate, want a graphic design portfolio puff piece, or are bored out of their skulls. Motivators that are diametrically opposite to the accepted norm for successfully executed design work. When I’m hiring professional designers to work at TLF, ‘desperate, bored and inexperienced’ are not featured in the job postings’ as a list of required attributes. But why should I bother hiring professionals at all? According to the design contest and crowdsourcing ‘everyone can design’ paradigm, I should simply tape a notice on the studio door: “Please come on in. There’s an available work station upstairs. Design some logos and stuff for our clients. Help yourself to the coffee. We don’t need to know who you are“. That, in nutshell, is how design contests work. I know I wouldn’t be terribly confident of the results of such a setup.

Here’s another thing too. Many of our projects do not reach sign-off on the first round of concepts (and nobody that works at our studio can be described as ‘junior designers’). Logo design is a process. Sometimes a grinding process. It often takes several (or more) rounds of back-and-forth between our designers and the client before we come close to a ‘great concept’. The first round of concepts are usually rough ‘ideas’ that can be discarded or fine-tuned depending on their reception. Often, they are w-a-a-a-y off the mark. But in later rounds ‘tighten up’ into a killer custom logo design. In a ’spec’ logo contest, the buyer is presented with all sorts of ‘first round’ concepts. There’s no idea what’s possible with the follow-up revisions, edits and tweaks that go into developing a great logo. It’s like a movie trailer without the payoff of the full flick. Tantalizing. Interesting. But by no means the Full Monty…

A very real risk of logo design contests. Buying ripped off designs

Site Point logo design contestThere’s also the real risk of copyright infringement (or worse), should you decide to host a so-called ‘logo design contest’. Hell, we’ve even seen our copyrighted work, the property of someone else, turning up as entries on a fairly regular basis. You see, there are some folks who like the idea of receiving the prize, but their chances are so low, they aren’t willing to put in the time to create original artwork. Solution? Pinch logos and artwork from other design companies like ours, stock art companies, photo galleries, logo gallery blogs and search engine image searches. Anywhere that images are hosted. This copied artwork not only gets entered, but runs a very real risk of winning. Here’s one example (right) from the Site Point logo design contest forums (later to become 99designs) where one of their ‘designers’ had been helping themselves to a load of artwork from our old design galleries.

They had swiped a couple of logos from our site, performed some cursory modifications, and entered them into several Site Point contests. One of these contest ‘rips’ was even selected by the end-user, until it was revealed (by a ‘rival’ designer, also taking part in the ‘contest’) that the work had been nicked. From us. And here’s the squishy part – the design contest had been posted by a ‘marketing consultant ’ who had been contracted by the original client to create their ‘corporate identity’.


Site point design contestAfter the bogus ‘entries’ had been revealed, the ‘small business marketing firm’ had to ‘fess up to their client and advise them that the logo they now loved (and had all sorts of plans for) was no longer available without the very real possibility of a lawsuit (and by the way, if they could select one of the other contest designs, that would be just great). To this day, I wonder how they explained this rather nasty situation to everyone involved. Alas, this wasn’t an isolated event (left and above). Our blog and Copycats section is full of other examples. In fact, we’ve found knocked off logos entered into almost every single contest site there is. For the few that we haven’t, it’s only a matter of time. Design contest sites like to keep this dirty little secret ‘hush-hush’, so they delete comment threads in which contestants accuse each other of “ripping stuff off” as soon as they’re posted. But it does happen. An awful lot. And what happens if you select a ripped off design? According to their terms of service, absolutely nothing. Cause, well, they don’t have to. Every design contest website tells you, up front (in their 15 monitor deep terms of service), that they’re not responsible for the originality of their work, because when it comes right down to it, they’re just a lowly ‘middle man’ for ‘creative services’. None (that’s zero) of the designers pitching logos at you actually work for them. That’s why all these sites boast about 50,000 designers working ON their site (a very important legal distinction). And it’s not small companies like us wo get stung. Witness this crowdsourcing contest for Cadbury where the winning wrapper design was discovered to resemble somebody else’ work.

Alas, when things you awry, it’s you that’s left holding the bag. And don’t be surprised if the designer you met on the crowdsourcing site stops answering your e-mail when you tell him that someone’s claiming he ripped off their logo to win your contest. You know, the winning logo that’s now featured on your letterheads, business cards, your website and the side of your funky new van. Speaking of legalities, it’s been asked, with their loosey-goosey rules, and the ability of a client not to award a winner, if organized design contests are even legal according to various gaming rules. Still haven’t got the definitive answer on that. But I digress.

Logo contest survival guide

In the interest of fair play, and lest I get accused of ‘sour grapes’, we’re going to give people who still insist on holding a logo contest a few tips on how to avoid getting stuck with someone else’s logo (which I think we can all admit, is never a good idea). Here’s how it works.

Whenever less than ethical (bunny quotes on) ‘designers’ (bunny quotes off) enter contests, they immediately use Google Image Search (Yahoo & MSN have them too) to search for designs that suit your project using keyword combinations that would describe it. They look for an image they like and it you’re lucky, they’ll change it a little so that it won’t be recognized by anyone but the owner and/or the original designer. There’s about a 50/50 chance one of them will find out. If they do, whether these design changes will be enough to pass a legal challenge is anyone’s guess. If you’re not so lucky, they’ll pass someone else’s logo, unchanged very little (or not at all) as their own (see our logo contest Copycats for more). Then, a lot of people will notice, raising the threat level of getting into hot water to almost 100%.

If you hold a logo design contest, you should perform the same searches using the resources just mentioned. Search through Google Images using the various keyword combinations and descriptions that describe the logo your contest is supposed to be about. If you’re lucky, you’ll find any potentially infringing designs before things get too out of hand. Before you’re stuck with thousands of business cards and letterheads that you can’t use, because you’ve plastered them with a design that belongs to someone else. And before the nasty e-mails start arriving.

Or, you could avoid logo design contests altogether. Probably a much wiser idea.

39 Comments to “Logo design contests”
  1. ChatterBox says:

    Logo Contest is the new trend of Logo Designing, we can’t help it, things have to change. Guaranteed, all Logo Contest have their own flaws and imperfections, but I tell you they are Real Deal. It is also should not be between Logo Design agencies and Logo Contest founders, it is all about CH and Designers.

    Rip-off logos are unavoidable but whose to blame? Logo Contest Founders? I don’t think so, It’s merely all the designers. Sometimes the one who rips-off the original logo is the one who originally made it from where the designer works.

    It’s all about designers level of professionalism and to CH, do your part, google it for the price you paid, overall Logo Contest are real deal!

  2. Chad says:

    You obviously see yourself as a great proffesional designer, but you never won a logo contest and your mad. Most logos are not orignal and small companies rarely get sued for using a similar design to other small company’s logos. I know that professional designers are having a harder time finding work due to these contests, and due the fact there are more and more designers being turned out everyday. If your as good as you think you are, you shouldn’t have trouble getting work.

  3. Cristal says:

    Thank you for a great and eye opening article. We had been given the url of a logo contest and were really impressed with the selection of logos that the friend had to choose from. His is a local restaurant, so if there is infringement it’s not likely to be noticed. We on the otherhand plan for global domination, so infringment is not an option.
    Seeing the examples of copycats on this page are astounding! It’s too bad that you almost have to hire a watchdog to protect your work.

  4. Was and still am a new, up and coming designer fresh out of school and was looking for a way to cut my teeth on designing logos of which I really like to do from beginning to end and I fell prey to the slick concept of crowdsourcing while I was planting the seeds of a start up business.

    It soon felt a wee bit like working in a rat infested flat in the Bronx, with all the rat fighting for the same piece of cheese and doing what ever it took to get it. I had many original works copied by other designers who did it better and slip under the deadline to grap the 250-1000$ piece of swiss. Then I was accused of copying a piece of clipart which I could prove I didn’t do by the layers I had in AI, but a panel of my peers voted 60% that I did use the clip art and so my design which I worked on for hours. (I happen to be a good sketch artist too) was removed from the contest. The Gurus running the controls on these sites don’t realy care much about creative rights they just see the $ signs.

    They lure you in by making it a contest and awarding you points so in way you begin to vaule your abilities by the points you have and the contests you win, but after awhile the Gurus think you don’t measure up and they lock you of the site even if you have ranking designs pending. I have seen many designers disabled who were once invited to join and who had some status, but it became like a rat race and only the stoutest rats are even allowed to compete. so that site can boast they have the “prettiest girls on the strip” Fat girls need not apply anymore…but that’s not what they advertized in the beginning…

    Those are some of the highlights. I only wished I had the insight to read this article and others like it before I dove into the seedy world of crownsourcing for graphic designers. It’s a painful lesson but I learned it early and now have endevored to employ a more studious work ethic and earn my clients business. Thanks for the reality check.

  5. [...] Logo design contests | Bad for business. Yours | The Logo Factory design studio – 99designs [...]

  6. eduard says:

    I agree with your post but what about start up businesses, what about unexperienced freelancers that have to make a portfolio… haven’t you been in the same situation of making smal and lowpayied designs to make a mortfolio and then you made a move to bigbucks? And the client maybe is not interested in ripping of but the result…

    I wish you the best,

  7. denis says:

    Thank you for bringing sanity into the business.

  8. Jestep says:

    Phenomenal article. I’ve used design contests several times, and haven’t found any egregious violations on mine, but I can see how easily it can happen. It’s so easy for some designer in Indiaor anywhere else to copy the best looking logo, or a major feature from one that they can find. Takes about 5 minutes, and could pay off several hundred dollars. There’s virtually no way to go after them once the money is sent. Best case you end up with a cease and desist, and worst case you end up with a major lawsuit. Just getting sued can cost $50,000 in legal fees without even getting to the judgement or settlement phase.

    What I find particularly worrying, is when a designer copies a more abstract design or pattern, because it would be nearly impossible to search for it. Anyway, just found this article while looking at the design contest landscape. Great advice. I work with small business owners and other’s seeking low budget designs, and I will definitely bookmark and pass this on.

  9. Andrew says:

    Interesting read, I just started making logos on these websites, was moderately aware of people using stock vectors but not stealing entire logo designs.. that’s just awful.

  10. bill says:

    I have just started out in logo design and learning as I go, my searching led me to this site in which i read this story about logo contests,and I’m glad I did. I noticed the flogging this site gave those contests..on looking at the designs above (westwood home etc logo) done by this site,(which looks very much like a well known australian home logo),I noticed it was very unprofessional looking, and looked at the prices charged here and even I do far better logos in just a short time than these.

    Which made me look at the very sites this site is against,(the contest sites), to which I have looked at the quality of work there which blows the designs on this site out of the water.(sour grapes is an understatement)

    I joined one and they are the real deal, and the work comes in at a rate nobody could keep up with (even if they did do as accused falsely here) in ripping others off and illegally using others work or googling as being falsely suggested here.

    The reason these sites exist is because designers charge unbelievable raters for logos that would take them no more than 10mins to do they are so shoddy. And they want to try and convince anyone who reads this that contests are full of bad designers or immoral people cheating. yet all it is is they are working harder than ”so called real designers” and taking their work because they still charge ridiculous prices for cheap work.

    Its all a matter of sour grapes and these ‘real designer companies’ not wishing to work hard for their dollar but still control the design market..thing is.. thousands use the contests and its a win win for all involved.

  11. @ Bill – thanks for your comments. Just a couple of things.

    1) The knocked-off logo you’re referring to is over ten years old, so without the use of a time machine, it’s highly unlikely that we copied it from anyone in your sphere. And either it’s shoddy, or it reminds you of a famous Australian brand. Can’t really have it both ways. For what it’s worth, I’m not terribly fond of it either, but it is what the client wanted – an important distinction in the design business.

    2) Quality of artwork is always subjective, and subject to the design back story, something you’ll find out after you’ve passed through the ‘just starting out’ phase that you describe yourself in. And while you claim your logos are so much better than the work here, I notice that you didn’t include a link to your website so that readers could judge for themselves. However, whether or not your logos are ‘better’ or not is irrelevant to the matter at hand.

    3) I do take exception with your claim that I’m ‘falsely accusing’ logo design contests of featuring knocked-off work. In terms of logo design contests and copying – the above aren’t isolated cases. Copying is rampant. Take a look at this blog post to see just how rampant. You might notice this post also includes an apology in the comment section from one of the websites you’re boosting in which they admit copied logos is a problem because “more inexperienced members of the community have a lot of learning to do as to what is right and what is wrong in the world of design“.

    Anyway Bill, as you’re such a fan of spec work and design contests, here’s a scenario for you. If you want to work for free, I have a ton of design briefs for jobs that are coming up. Why don’t you tackle them (I’ll trust you to tender original work even though you’re not assured of payment) and if the clients like your logos, I’ll pay you. If they don’t like your stuff, nothing ventured, nothing gained – you’ll get jack (even though you did all the work) while I’ll still pocket the administration fee. While your odds are much better than any logo contest you’re going to enter, it sounds a little ridiculous, no? I’d be unethical as all hell to ask you to work this way, and you’d be foolish to take me up on my one-sided offer. Yet that’s exactly what you’re advocating each and every time you enter a logo design contest. See Bill, I’d rather you get paid for your work. And every designer that works for a client. And I’m of the opinion that when people aren’t getting paid, they take shortcuts as described above. Little has shown me that I’m incorrect in that assumption.

    In any case, I wish you well in your endeavors on your fave logo design contest site, though the next time you visit the comment section of a website – almost like dropping into someone’s house – you should dial back on the vitriol just a tad, especially when you choose to remain anonymous.

    Most sites I frequent would simply have deleted your comment.

  12. Usman Malik says:

    I admire your hard work and research you put into writing this BIASED article. You did not consider the fact those logo designers (the unprofessional scamers) usually do this unethical practice regardless of being in a “contest” site or their own site. Those same designers have their own traditional design businesses. whats to stop them from copying when you deal with them directly? and with your logic, we can blame ALL traditional design firms to have designers who violate copyrights.

    I’m a founder of Logo Arena, another contest site and I find your blame toward contest sites absurd. Yes, copying designs are practiced by many designers but now you can control it significantly using tools like TINEYE. We have developed flagging system through which other designers who come across CLIPART let us know about copycats and contest companies like LogoArena and LogoTournament actually have filters to accept designers application only from those who are professionally developed portfolios.

  13. @ Usman – Thanks for the comment, though I find it odd that you would cap lock the word BIASED as if that somehow negates the information presented, based on my personal experiences and going back many years. It has been those experiences that has made me biased.

    Being, as you claim, a founder of Logo Arena – a logo design contest site – aren’t you yourself biased in FAVOR OF design contests? I would think you are. In fact, I would hope you are – that’s your business after all.

    We could argue about the pros and cons of logo contests all day, but here’s the thing – in the fifteen years we’ve been in business, we’ve had our work copied numerous times. The repeated incidents seem to involve logo design contests (check our blog for more examples if you like). We’ve been knocked off several times by agencies, yes that’s true, but in EVERY incident there were some very real, and very expensive ramifications for the agencies involved. Due to the anonymous nature of logo design contests, there are few ramifications for the designers involved (they may get ‘suspended’ for a couple of weeks) or the contest site itself. You and I both know it’s part and parcel of the logo contest business model. In fact, you go to great lengths to explain how you try to protect against it. Professional agencies have so much more to lose.

    Bottom line is this – when people are being paid, they tend to be more conscientious than when they’re not. People with reputations have more to lose than anonymous submitters to a logo contest. Those basic principles hold up in every single industry there is. Why do you think they don’t apply to design?

  14. Sam says:


    I did enjoy reading your article, and your point of view regarding spec work, however i do think, you come on a little too harsh criticising these design contests. Design contest sites like http://www.99designs.com, http://www.designcontest.com.au, 48 hour logo.com etc are mostly targeting individuals and small businesses with small and restricted budgets, obviously large companies would not opt for this type of industry, they rather go to a more reputable agency to get their design work done.

    On the other side of the scale, small businesses don’t have $2000+ to blow on a logo, they are often home based businesses, small start ups, mom & pop store etc that use these type of contest sites, and for them, they are not really interested in the shambles surrounding clip art, copyright infringements etc. Furthermore professional designers are all employed, they are not threatened by fresh out of college designers who compete in these contests. Professional designers have a regular client base, based on referrals. The only threat is really to shaky designers who are not really confident in their skills and feel threatened by design contest sites.

    Anyway that is my opinion on this subject.

  15. [...] as the offer is (snark), I have to wonder where all these lovely logos are headed? Probably to a logo design contest near you. And they say the graphic design industry isn’t in [...]

  16. Logo Design says:

    [...] How to Get a Cheap Logo with a Ton of Options May 18, 2011 By jcbrady Leave a Comment Just want to add a quick note to this post. Take everything on the internet with a grain of salt, as they say. One of the problem with websites like 99-designs is the amount of fraud. This blog post from the logo factory about covers it. [...]

  17. [...] also be considered when either a designer or a client engages in spec work. There’s a big, and somewhat likely, risk for clients that spec work might be plagiarized, especially by those newer to the design [...]

  18. [...] also be considered when either a designer or a client engages in spec work. There’s a big, and somewhat likely, risk for clients that spec work might be plagiarized, especially by those newer to the design [...]

  19. [...] also be considered when either a designer or a client engages in spec work. There’s a big, and somewhat likely, risk for clients that spec work might be plagiarized, especially by those newer to the design [...]

  20. [...] also be considered when either a designer or a client engages in spec work. There’s a big, and somewhat likely, risk for clients that spec work might be plagiarized, especially by those newer to the design [...]

  21. [...] also be considered when either a designer or a client engages in spec work. There’s a big, and somewhat likely, risk for clients that spec work might be plagiarized, especially by those newer to the design [...]

  22. [...] also be considered when either a designer or a client engages in spec work. There’s a big, and somewhat likely, risk for clients that spec work might be plagiarized, especially by those newer to the design [...]

  23. Interesting read, I just started making logos on these websites, was moderately aware of people using stock vectors but not stealing entire logo designs.. that’s just awful.

  24. Mark T. says:

    If not for putting up $400 in a contest, I never would’ve gotten the perfect logo for my company. Well worth the investment to have so many choices. And there is no law against asking a certain designer to make an alteration…. You can let somebody know they’re on the right track and help create the art…same exact process described in the article as “back and forth with client”

    These design companies should just go ahead and close shop. I’d never trust ONE guy in the back room of one of these companies’ headquarters to design what I need. Go for 200-300 designs instead of just 3… it’s a no-brainer if there ever was one.

  25. Amy M. says:

    Well Mark, you seem to have a great point. Why hire a professional when you can instead hire a bunch of amateurs! I’d say, the copyright infringement risk alone is a good enough reason to avoid logo contests. The money you save is just not worth risking a very expensive lawsuit.

    I’m no designer, but I’d say it’s well worth the cost to be sure that you get the best result possible. If saving money and effort are the most important things to you, Inkscape is free- Why not make the logo yourself?

  26. wilson says:

    Hey Mark. Getting the right logo is all well and and wonderful. As for all of the choices; how many of them are created and how many are stolen? You are right, “…there is no law against asking a certain designer to make an alteration….” ,but there is a moral law about self-respect. I would love to be able to put my ideas forward through graphic illustration but alas I lack the skills. I understand the frustrations of quality designers. I could probably put some designs together by hacking other peoples work; but, that would only be for money. I would rather die poor than give up my self-respect.

  27. Yvette says:

    I notice that you ‘repair’ logos. I personally will not do it unless a client can prove they had rights to it to begin with. My case in point: a client went to a sign shop where someone designed a custom logo for use on their signs only. When I talked to the sign company about getting a copy or possibly recreating it, their answer was that they’d not only sue my client but me too. This is because the logo they created was for use on the sign they printed only and that logo had been modified (company name only) and purchased by a client of theirs.

    I consulted my trademark lawyer, and sure enough he said I could be sued for something as simple as ‘redrawing’ an existing logo for a client to use.

  28. wilson says:

    Hi Yevette,
    Not quite sure what you mean. Please correct me if I am wrong; Sign shop created custom logo for client…Client wanted you to ‘copy’ said logo and alter it a little…Sign shop says it’s theirs and no you cannot…Sign shop sells logo with different name to another client?…If yes than wouldn’t the sign shop be wrong also?…If no than I am confused.Somebody clarify please. Original creator would ‘of course’ want the repeat business. I assume the ‘repair’ you are referring to has to do with the original designer anyway. Copying a book to correct a misspelled word and then reprinting it is still, in a polite way, plagiarizing anothers work. wilson.

  29. Trevor says:

    All that was said here is also true of hiring any designer. Some steal work aka recycle it into a logo. Don’t have to be on a contest to do that. Some of the BIGGEST design companies out there have been caught stealing others work and making huge profits on it. That will always happen in this field.

    I think what it really comes down to, is you can hire one person to try to create what you want.. but if they fail you still have to pay them right? And usually way more than $400. With these contests it gives a client 100s of options.

    Then on the designer side, if you are original creator of all your works – you build an account where you are more likely to be chosen as the winner. You also have tons of “potential clients” as on the other side if you are just working as freelancer, chances are – you won’t have very many clients if any. If you are lucky you might get a gig with an agency but chances are your starting salary is gonna blow. So there is up and downs to both sides, I think this article would be better if it had a more neutral stance.

    I have entered a few contests, I put in 20 minutes of work and get $400 a piece out of it. Good deal to me and no I do not rip off any one else. :)

  30. Trevor says:

    Oh and I do have a job in the creative field where we do spec work and pitches to clients that never go anywhere. So in a similar way you are not paid for that either. If you say “you still have the salary” – yes however! If my company never sells any of those designs that started as “free work” then i get fired because the flow of money ends. So in a lot of ways they are similar. I just think some people think they should get the fees for the pitches but in a lot of cases that is just not realistic. Clients don’t want to pay for a “mystery product”

  31. Troy Wilson says:

    Contests like logo design are very helpful for the newbies…. As they got a chance to show case their work…. I myself sometimes participated in contests like these//..

  32. Bill Botts says:

    Regardless of anyone having sour grapes or not i found it to be useful in consideration of holding a contest for my logo. Copyright infrngement is a real consideration for me.

    However, something has to be said for the argument in hiring a specific expensive firm. I am concerned about tunnel vision in the design process and not being able to answer this before committing to one firm is concerning.

    I will say that for the claims of firms being more skilled, the design of this particular website is horrible and as such would hire you to do my work. Very busy, confusing, looks cartoonish, and salesy. I would advise to better represent yourself if you intend to support the points you are making.

  33. [...] Start a carpet cleaning business – dominate the competition. | Strong Carpet Cleaning Systems | Business Start Ups2015 Polaris® Snowmobile Lineup Celebrates 60 Years of Terrain Domination® « Driven LLC // Sled Chatter Snowmobile News & EventsCreating online quizzes and contests for your website Le Dominant Inc.Design Like a Pro: Graphic Design Tools & Resources |The Patriot : The Patriot staff dominates in statewide press competition#SkimlinksToMakers Competition: Introducing the Finalists | Blog | skimlinks.comLogo design contests | Bad for business. Yours | The Logo Factory [...]

  34. in my thought a logo design should be as per business requirement. it signify company and corporate so one should consume high time and create it with full of creativity.

  35. [...] instances of logo contest winners having stolen trademarked designs for their entries. You might check out this article on The Logo Factory’s blog.   The prolific designer Von Glitschka has documented his own battles with LogoGarden and its [...]

  36. Wes says:

    Keep up the good work – spread the word. Design contest are pure exploitation. They are killing the industry.

  37. [...] stories of child labor. I would hope the recipe for disaster is clear, but in case its not the logo factory has this article that can get more into depth on some of these [...]

  38. [...] of work that designers copied here and here. And design contest sites are notorious for presenting stolen artwork as original. While the great majority of designers are honest and do good, original work, the fact [...]

Leave a comment