One of our favorite tools on the Internet--you know, one of those where you slap your forehead and say, "Doh, wish I had thought of that!"--is Logo Tournament. The concept and functionality are excellent. It is the definition of free enterprise on a global level! Kudos to Tyler and his team for creating an environment that allows a fairly succinct managment tool for a very difficult process. The quality of designs is nothing short of spectacular, as long as you know how to make the tool work for you.
The basic concept: you, the Contest Holder, develop a creative brief by answering a series of questions; you set a prize for the winning logo design; designers from across the world submit entries to your contest; you review, rank, and make modification requests to the designers; you award the prize to the winning entry designer; and finally, the winning designers delivers final files for your use. All design work must be original, so the Contest Holder has full copyright to their logo.
Getting the most out of Logo Tournament takes a few trial runs, but unless you are a design company, you probably need only one logo! Kind of an oxymoron of sorts, so here are a few tips. It's long but worth the read to get the most for your money. If you're already overwhelmed, we can usually help you manage the process--a Logo Tournament Sherpa of sorts--for about $300 over the cost of your logo prize, so contact us!
- Don't scrimp on the prize. Even though you can get a decent logo for $275, consider that most major ad agencies would charge you at least $1K and you might get 10 possible choices (mostly from one or two designers). On Logo Tournament, you will received scores of possibilities from a wide variety of designers--all with different points of view. This is the real value of Logo Tournament. Consider making the prize $500 (at least), and you'll get hundreds of entries.
- Set your contest for the shortest possible timeframe. Trust us...you won't want it to drag out for even two weeks. If you don't get the results you want in a week, you can always extend the contest. If you follow the strategy contained within this article, you'll get plenty of great possibilities.
- Only set your contest to private if you are launching something new in a highly competitive market. If it is private, you cannot enlist other opinions by providing the contest URL to other associates--a private contest requires that the view have a username and password.
- The creative brief should be completed very thoughtfully. BEFORE you sign up, and are staring at the creative brief, it is wise to go to some existing contests (current and complete) and compare how creative briefs are filled and the results they receive. This is your primary way to communicate with designers, so keep things clear, concise, and concrete.
- Avoid using local slang. Always keep the cross-cultural environment in mind.
- Any colors described in your creative brief should be supported with RGB or CMYK color values. By providing color values, you will save yourself and the deisgners a lot of misfires.
- If you start receiving entries that don't convey what you are really seeking, you should consider changes to your creative brief that help clarify your needs.
- If you change your creative brief, post a note to designers in the comments on the front page of your contest--something like,"We have tried to clarify our creative brief, so please review it prior to submitting or re-submitting entries. We will not consider copy-cat entries, so please keep it original!"
- Read the first comment on your page...one of the moderators will give you tips on a successful project. This is good advice.
- Rank and comment DAILY.
- Remember that many of the designers will be in a significantly different time zone than you.
- Enlist the opinons of others, but don't second-guess your gut instinct. As long as your contest isn't private, you can allow anyone to look at your contest entries by giving them the link www.LogoTournament.com/contests/your_contest_name.
- When you see a designer copy-catting (submitting something overly similar to another design), even if you like it better, you will earn the respect of designers if you place the copy-cats in "Not Interested' and post a note for that entry telling them that their design is too similar to #xx, whichever entry number they copied. You can always take ideas from the copy-cat that you liked and send a note to the designer of the original asking for a modification of the elements you like in the copy-cat.
- As in all things, find something nice to comment upon for each designer (not necessarily each entry), even if it is, "Thank you for taking the time to respond to our contest, however, we do not feel that your design captures the spirit of our organization." Designers in LogoTournament cross all cultures, and politeness should be observed across the board.
- Just expect that when you have 24 or fewer hours left on the contest, you will be BOMBARDED with entries. It's just the way it works because of the copy-cat issue and the number of tournaments that exist.
- Be sure to provide feedback on the individual design by clicking "Comment" under that design, and refer to the entry number within the text of your comment. Be as specific as possible in your feedback. For example, "That shape is not a common icon for US audiences. Do you have other ideas that might be more intuitive for Americans?" rather than "What the heck is that?" (joking, but only a little bit)
- If a designer gets impatient with you, put them in "Not Interested". If they are impatient during the contest, you may have issues with them in the final file delivery. They're likely just in it for the money. If they are abusive in any way, log a request under Support.
- Some designers will pull their entry if you place them in "Not Interested", so be sure you really mean it when you place them there. In the ranking screen, you can drag the unranked designs into whatever order you choose, to clean up your view, rather than place them in "Not Interested".
- If a designer asks you a question in the comment of a logo that helps clarify your needs, be sure to post the question and answer in the front-page Comments, so everyone gains the same understanding.
- You can ask a designer to refine an idea...like, "Can we see that with blue instead of green?" or "We like the concept, but the placement of the graphic makes the logo vertical rather than horizontal. Can you produce another option?". They are happy to revise, but make these requests thoughtfully and don't waste their time.
- When the contest ends, you have 7 days of judging, so don't hurry the decision. During that time, you can re-rank at will. You can also request modifications from any design that is in 1st place, so you might have to re-rank if you have a few that require refinement.
- If your contest goes into judging and you have several potential winners, be sure to post an entry on the front comment page that lets them know that you are still trying to decide and ask them not to remove their entries.
- Before you select a winner, be sure to rank at least the top 10 to different designers, especially if the designs are only minor changes, like color or font face. Our approach has always been to have one ranked entry for each designer, then put the remainder in "Not Interested". From the designer's point of view,the top three entries win "cups", or a higher level of points; and all subsequent ranked entries receive points for their profiles. Leaving a non-winning designer ranked simply honors their work by awarding them points.
- When you have selected a winner, we recommend sending them a private message asking for the following formats (in addition to the EPS version you will receive). These are just a few clicks of a button when the designer has the original file up: Full AI version compatible with Adobe CS/2; Grayscale version in EPS; CMYK version in EPS; RGB version in EPS; High resolution, CMYK version in JPG; High resolution RGB version in JPG.
Enjoy this great tool!