Don’t want to get labeled as a snooty designer (again), or an elitist gatekeeper (again) so rather than turn this into another “some designers on 99designs swiped our stuff” whiny baby screed (again), perhaps we should use this example of spec work ‘inspiration’ to demonstrate how to enter a logo contest on 99designs in ten minutes flat. Without actually having to design anything. You know, “evolving“, as in the “evolve or die” mantra that graphic designers have heard so much recently.
Step #1: Find a suitable image
First, you should take a look at what the contest is all about. In this instance, you’ll be entering a contest for a marina boat repair business. Cool. That would need some boat artwork, so let’s hop over to Google and run a search for related terms. Ah hell, cut right to the chase and type in ‘boat logo‘. Awesome. Lots of stuff, and Big ‘G’ even doles up mini images as part of the search. Liking the first one, from some online outfit called The Logo Factory. That would be perfect for a marina boat repair design, no?
Step #2: Adapt said image to personal tastes
Lessee. You don’t want to submit a complete knock-off as that wouldn’t be cool (logo contest value and all that). Also wouldn’t want people to notice our ‘homage’, so we’ll need to perform a few perfunctory changes to make the design completely ours.
Let’s remove the portholes, waves, add the appropriate text and voilà, one handy-dandy custom boat logo in just under ten minutes. If you can pick up 150 ducats for ten minutes work, that works out to about $900 an hour. And that ain’t bad scratch in any currency.
Step #3: Upload new image and hope nobody notices
Once we’ve finished, ahm, tweaking the logo into its new form, we can upload to the 99designs contest and hope for the best. If our entry doesn’t win, it falls squarely under the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” category. Even if it doesn’t win, let’s not forget all those lovely, ever-so-important stars we’ll receive from the ever-so-grateful contest holder. Not really sure how, but apparently these will make us a better designer. And if we win, huzah! 150 bones straight to our handy-dandy PayPal account, or in this case, the PayPal account of some user called [re]Design (alas, I wish I was kidding) who uploaded our beautifully reworked logo thusly:
This boat logo ‘homage’ did pretty well, receiving 4 out of 5 stars from the contest holder (making [re]Design a better designer I suppose), but still firmly entrenched in the “close but no cigar” territory. Translation: no bloody cash. As this is also supposed to be “professional design services“, with the word ‘professional’ generally describing exchange of said cash, it is at this point you may wish to move on to:
Step #4: Let someone else have a go
Having invested five or ten minutes with this contest (the maximum you’ll wish to expend to keep things ‘profitable’), you should probably stand back and let other participants have a go. Let them use Step #1. Find the image and rework it from a different angle. Perhaps removing the portholes and the waves was a little spartan for the contest holders tastes, so the next entrant may want to leave the waves in this time. A word of caution. Two (or more) people entering a logo ‘homage’ from the same source is going to require some designery soft shoe as we mix things up a little.
Squish the hull. Re-size the waves. Skew the windshield a bit. That way, no-one will ever figure out our ten minute hatchet job is, ahm, cribbing the same source logo as someone else. That wouldn’t be terribly cool (logo design contest ‘value’ and all that). Which might explain how this second “designer” came up with yet another derivative design which was also entered into the same contest. Like so:
Yowzah! Now that’s more like it. Five out of five stars this time. With that many, second dude’s gonna turn out to be a really, really good designer (though I’m still unsure how). The design coulda been a contender for the cash too, if it weren’t for some busy-body piping up in the comments section and putting paid to this time-saving enterprise. Ah well, nothing ventured nothing gained, I suppose. Not to worry though – there are hundreds and hundreds of contests that this time-saving technique can be used in. Who knows, maybe even one that needs a boat. And that would cut our time down to three minutes. Flat.
And we still wouldn’t have to design anything.
- Spec work hackery redux. More of our work copied & entered into 99designs logo design contest
- Oh c’mon now
- Yet another 99designs logo contest knock-off
- How to win a logo design contest
- More logo design contest nonsense…