SpokenWord.org Logo Contest Winner

Getting a logo for SpokenWord.org via a contest on 99designs.com was quite an interesting experience. We offered a prize of $275 and received well over 100 proposed designs from perhaps 20-30 designers. The quality was better than I expected, and the choice was difficult. To make my life easier (or so I thought!) I posted a short questionnaire on SurveyMonkey.com and invited members of our team as well as all of The Conversations Network’s registered members for their opinions. It was on short (24hrs) notice, but we got more than 100 survey responses.

My first surprise was that the opinions were all over map. There was virtually no consistency. Maybe one or two designs were disliked by all, but the respondents’ first, second and third choices were evenly distributed across the others.

The second surprise was the number of angry messages (some *very* angry) about the whole idea of holding a contest at all. Little did I know what a can of worms I had opened. The gist of the complaints is that designers should not be asked to submit designs on spec; that any good designer should be paid for their work. One email referred to a web site that specifically trashed 99designs.com. One one hand, I see their point. OTOH, there are many professions in which ‘spec’ creations are the norm. Consider musicians and fine artists, for example. Or real estate developers. Hey — entrepreneurship and the entire venture-backed world is all about speculation and taking risks. Yes, there are commissioned-work oppotunities for artists and some houses are built-to-order, but they’re the exception in those businesses. I could have tracked down a designer and reviewed their portfolios. In fact, most of the previous logos for The Conversations Network were created by Dorothy Yamamoto, who is now retired. But I decided to give the 99designs.com site a try this time, and I’m glad I did.

The winning designer (‘mithrill’ — I don’t know if he wants his real identity to be published) got in touch immediately after the contest. We communicated via IM and we collaborated on a few minor adjustments. Within two hours after the contest, he had sent me the files, palettes, etc. Very professional. Next step is to integrate his logo and the color palette into the SpokenWord.org alpha site. Then onto a complete site design for the public beta launch for which I intend to return to 99designs.com. My flak jacket straps are cinched. I’m ready for the attack.

3 thoughts on “SpokenWord.org Logo Contest Winner

  1. Doug,

    I am, and have been, a graphic designer for over 35 years. I love designing elements such as logos. I do it nearly every day of the week. 98% of ALL my work is done on spec .. at MY insistence. That’s how I work.

    I do a design series, shop it to your needs, ie, sell you on my solution to/for your needs – the same way I have to ‘sell a story’. I do my homework on companies I ‘shop to’. that way I know – with a plus-column level of assurance – that you will like my design and the professional – before, during and after service – I offer. The only question is just, ‘how much you like it’. “. )

    Conversations has already been the recipient of one of my efforts in the form of ideas for the Town Hall Meeting logo back in March 2007.

    So, I absolutely don’t even ‘hear’ the arguments you mention brought up against using 99designs.com. I can always use work. You’ve seen my work. But I sure don’t expect you to send me work just because I’m a graphic designer. Had I wanted to get into the fray and compete for the design, I could have done so via my 99designs.com account. I didn’t have the time and did not have to feel bad that I couldn’t offer my services. I knew you’d find what Spoken Word needed from the talent at 99designs. I was quite excited to see what the offering(s) realized. I was not disappointed either.

    Especially since ‘my choice’ was the winner. So, in reality I won, without having to actually ‘do’ the design. I get paid in seeing Spoken Word acquire a really nice piece of creative work. WIN WIN WIN. Works for me.

    Congrats to mithrill. Thanks for your efforts and superb work. I’ll be watching you.



  2. Congratulations on putting up with the static about your way of doing this. Aren’t you glad you get paid the big bucks?



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