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Crowdspring for Logo Design--Any Experiences?

My website is up (finally!) and I put my logo design project up on crowdspring yesterday.  I am offering well above the average price and all the submissions I have gotten simply suck.  As in, I could do better than any of them using Adobe Illustrator.  In fact, I have designed some adequate logos myself that I am willing to use if I cannot find anything else.

Some of the entries were submitted within a few minutes of my posting, so obviously they didn't put much creative thought into it.  I think I've given adequate guidance to designers....it's just that the designs suck.  And when one person puts up a sucky design, others quickly start using that as a template for their sucky designs. 

Is this typical?  Will I get better responses during the week? 

I'm not too worried since I get most of my money back if I don't choose a logo.  Should I hang in there or bail and go to 99designs?  Up my offering? 


  • We used logo tournament.com, another crowd sourcing site and were very pleased with the choices.
  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin
    One of the downsides to using spec websites (calling it crowdsourcing is wrong; this is spec work) like 99designs, CrowdSpring, or whatever, is that you are substituting your own judgment for a designer's.

    If you just want a cheap, clean logo to put on your website, that's fine. But the quality tends to be lower than you would be able to demand from a designer. Plus, are you really qualified to be making your own design decisions? (See Should You Design Your Own Website?)

    I'm going to pick on Ken for an example. The name of his firm is Rygler & Associates, but the logo reads Rygler & Ken Rygler and Associates. The drop shadow feels a bit off, to my eyes. It's either too dark, not blurred enough, or too offset. And I'm not sure about the colored drop shadow under the &. Most of all, the anti-aliasing is very jagged, and that is only going to get worse with the coming high-res displays. It looks like the logo was probably done in GIMP (free graphics software), not Photoshop, because that jagged anti-aliasing is something I wrestled with in GIMP for years before I finally ponied up the money for Photoshop.

    Is the logo a disaster? Absolutely not. I'm assuming he paid $50 or less, and to the casual visitor, none of the above will probably register. It's better than no logo at all, and better than 99% of self-designed logos. But a designer would have resolved all the issues I identified, and more besides. For how much? I think you could hire a competent designer like Karin to do a logo only for around $500--750, or a full branding (logo, business cards, stationery, etc.) for less than $2,000.

    I'm not saying you should skip the spec websites, but you should definitely know the tradeoffs.
  • Thanks Sam. 

    I originally hired a designer (based on having seen her work elsewhere) to do a logo, letterhead and website.  I was very specific with what I wanted and did not want and gave her plenty of example of logos I like and disliked.  She gave me terrible designs.  They were exactly what I specified I did not want.  So I contacted Karin and she wasn't interested in the project.

    I'm actually offering $650 so I was expecting some kind of decent quality, like I saw on many of the other projects listed there.  Instead, I got a bunch of people who kept basically copying each other's terrible designs.  Check it out if you want a good laugh. 


    I only lose $75 if I don't choose any of the logos, and I'm OK with that so it's not a huge deal.  I have a logo that I made for myself that doesn't suck.  Of course, I want something better than "not sucky" which is why I wanted to use someone with design experience. 

  • Catherine,

    I agree those aren't the best submissions. That being said, designing a logo for an attorney with your practice area isn't exactly an easy proposition. Maybe it would help to explain that what you offer clients is hope--hope for a family and the life they desire--rather than having them focus on the science or reproductive aspect of your practice area. It seems that many of the designers are "stuck" on that idea--hence all the DNA/science looking images (The sperm-ish looking logo was particularly amusing. Why in the world would any lawyer want a sperm-like image next to their law firm's name?!?!).

    Also, maybe give them a few more examples of law firm logos (or even just logos in general) that appeal to you (not necessarily those in your practice area) just so they can get a sense of your style and preferences. At this point, they're basically shooting in the dark, so it's no wonder you're getting such a wide variety of logo styles.

    For example, there's an HGTV show I occasionally watch where the designer re-styles a room. Before doing so, she shows the owner a bunch of different things-- a random assortment of jewelry, lamps, or the like--and then has the owner point out which types of jewelry or lamps s/he most prefers. By doing so, the stylist gets a sense of the owner's personal style and thus the designer is better able to redecorate the room using furniture and objects that the owner would like.

    I think if you provide the logo designers with a few logos that you really like, it will have the same effect and you'll get a better selection of logos that more accurately comport with your preferences.

    Anyway, just an idea and best of luck with it!


  • Catherine:

    I have been using Elance (www.Elance.com) for 10+ years now and still think it's a great place to get freelance, outsourced work done.  Typically, you submit a job description and freelancers from around the world place bids.  You can then interview them, check out their portfolios, ratings, reviews, etc., and choose the one whose style(s) you like the best.

    Cost is not necessarily an indication of quality.  I have paid anywhere between $35 and $200 for a company logo and been very pleased.  After that, you may have the same designer, or another one entirely, design the layout for your business cards, letterhead, and envelopes.

    I have also hired legal researchers on Elance too.  Over the years it has been a great resource for an entrepreneur and sole practitioner trying to keep the costs down.

    Check it out.  It's a lot of fun just browsing the site.


  • Catherine,


    Did you ever end up choosing one? If so, which ones? I really liked #300 and 296. 


  • Thanks Niki.  I actually wasn't thrilled by any of them.  The number of "sperm" submissions was mind-boggling.  There was even one that looked like a vulva.  I ended up asking for my money back but they are trying to convince me to extend my contest to get a few more entries.  I haven't decided yet, but I will definitely use your suggestions if I do extend the contest.  
  • I don't have any problems designing a logo for $200, basically because I cannot design logos for $2000. I'm no pro.

    The problems I have with crowdSPRING it's their clients. The donkeys end up choosing the logo that is worth not even $2 bucks.

    Take a look.

  • tetonattorneytetonattorney Jackson, WY

    Fiverr and swiftly are 2 other sites to check out. Low risk given the low cost. Some of the designers will do substantial revisions. I'd definitely encourage you to find a logo/style/brand you like and give that to the designer as a reference point.

  • I had a great experience with 99designs

  • I also use elance, and odesk and freelancer.com

  • I am a graphic designer and I want you to know you shouldn't patronize those kind of site. Many people who do work on them have no degree in graphic design.
    You should look for a real graphic designer in your area. Some you can talk to about what you really want.
    I will say I have done work on those site and I was always disappoint at the horrible designs that get picked. And I was often frustrated at not having enough information from the client to do a decent job or at least have a sense of what they are looking for. So clients put very little information. And I definitely never copied anyone. And won't even try a design if I didn't feel I had enough information.

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @designer8525 said:
    I am a graphic designer …

    Thanks for the input. For the benefit of lawyers, spec work for graphic designers is in the same neighborhood as unauthorized practice of law. But while lawyers have the benefit of a legal monopoly (sort of), graphic designers are beset by amateurs. For a more in-depth argument against spec work, there's even a website.

    If you care about your brand, you should probably avoid spec sites. You are very likely to get a generic (or derivative to the point of basically copying) logo.

    On the other hand, if you don't really care and don't mind getting a pretty generic logo (putting you in roughly the same category as someone who just wants a generic estate plan or generic LLC articles of organization), I guess you should feel okay going ahead.

    For @designer8525 and any other graphic designers who might stop by, I think it's wrong to think about CrowdSpring and 99designs customers as taking work away from graphic designers. 99% of people who get design work from spec sites were never going to hire a graphic designer anyway (just like 99% of people who get their wills from Office Max were never going to hire a lawyer). For them, the alternative is to just spell out their company name in Helvetica (or Comic Sans) and call it good enough.

    In short, if you want good design, don't go to a spec site. If you just want a cheap logo and don't care if it is good or original, then go ahead I guess. Just be aware that your new logo will probably broadcast that message, too: this law firm is unoriginal and not very good.

  • Adam LillyAdam Lilly Cumming, Georgia

    That's an interesting point, @samglover, though I will say that I used 99designs last summer, and was very happy with the result. It may well be that I'm just not a discerning enough viewer, but fortunately my clients don't seem to be any moreso.

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