The first design contest I ever entered was in college, for the water skiing club. I came up with a nice roundish black and white logo, silhouetting the skier with some spray coming off and having the club’s name around it. I thought it was pretty cool, but I guess the club didn’t. I never found out why. It left me sad and a little dejected – I had put effort into something I thought was very nice with very little input and no feedback or chance for revisions.

This is the problem with design contests / crowd sourcing. People put effort into their designs with the possibility that it was just a waste of their time. They likely didn’t get a chance to meet with the company or project leaders needing the logo/ tshirt/ etc. They didn’t get a feel for their business, personality, likes/dislikes. They didn’t get to present a few ideas then decide on a direction from there, given the feedback. They didn’t get to set a contract for payment.

Imagine if someone walked into a restaurant and ordered some food, didn’t pay for it, decided they didn’t like it after a couple of bites and went on down the street like this, restaurant after restaurant, til they found some food they liked. THEN they’d pay for it.

The Vendor Client relationship – in real world situations

No Spec for Business provides links which provide reasons to avoid the crowd sourcing/contest driven methods of obtaining design work for next to nothing. My advice is to obtain a bid from a few professionals and work with the one that strikes you as a good communicator, who cares about your business and wants to help you within your budget. Also, no one is going to put a bid out there without wanting to know the range of your budget. If you only have $25, then go to any number of stock photo / logo web sites and buy yourself something. Just don’t expect anyone to do custom work for that price.