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How To Get the Perfect Logo Designed

The StartupBros logo is dead, and I killed it. dead-logoWhile our old logo wasn’t in dire need of replacement, we weren’t in love with it, so we decided to change it up. I’ve had a lot of logos designed, so I’ve developed a pretty good method to finding the one your customers love the most. As you may know, this is one of the most controversial things I’ve ever written (a surprise to me). There is definitely no shortage of people who don’t like this method, even HATE it. That’s fine by me. This is the best method I, as an entrepreneur, have developed to get a logo created. It’s an efficient way to get an effective logo. It doesn’t take into account anything I can’t measure, and I realize many designers think that is the wrong way to go about logo creation. It’s just the way I do it. That being said, keep reading below if you’d like to see how I do… Below you’ll find my “Visual How-To Guide” to getting the perfect logo designed. I’ll also walk you through the recent StartupBros redesign. So let’s get started…

Step 1 – Get Logos Designed

First you need to get some high-quality logo designs to test. I’m going to suggest you use 99Designs for this and any other logo design you need done. You simply won’t get as much creativity for a better value. A lot of designers hate 99Designs, but that is because they can’t compete with it. For $300 you can get hundreds of different logo designs from different artists. It’s an absolute steal. I’ve been running contests on there for a few years now, and I have learned a few tricks that will maximize your value and make sure you get some amazing logos to choose from. Here’s the basics of launching a logo design contest -

The Right Way to Launch a Contest

  1. Head over to 99Designs and Sign Up for an account
  2. After you’ve signed up for an account, start a new “Logo Design” contest and fill out the Design Brief. The more details you can give on here, the better. Sometimes, I even attach various logos I like, so the designers get an idea of my style (but I didn’t do that below). Here is what my design brief looked like for the StartupBros logo redesign - 99designs setup
  3. On the next page you’ll set up payment options and a few other settings. Here are the settings I recommend using most of the time (Note: If you don’t see the “Blind Contest” option, you’ll have to ask 99Designs support to switch it to blind after the contest is live) - 99designs deatils
  4. Pay for the contest and launch it on the next page, and then your contest should be live.

Maximizing the Value of Your Contest

There are a couple of things I do after a contest is live that make sure I get an awesome logo. Honestly, if you don’t do these next steps, I can’t promise you’ll find a logo you and your audience loves. What you’ll basically be doing is going around to existing/past logo design contests to find the best designers, and then messaging them to rub their ego and beg them to join your contest. I’ve done a lot of testing with this, and this is the best way to do it -

  1. Click “Browse” to browse around the existing/past contests and open up 10-20 of them in new tabs99designs browse
  2. On each contest page, click the “Designers” tab. Then, open up 5-10 designer profiles from each contest.99designs designers
  3. In each designer profile tab, click “Send message” and send them a message inviting them to your contest. You can also use the built-in invite feature, but I usually just send messages. Here is a message I sent out for example -

    Hello, I love your past work and put you on my watchlist a while back hoping I could get your design-brilliance on my next logo. I just launched a new logo contest for my new project, and would really love to get your input on it. Really looking forward to seeing your submission, Will (link to my Design Brief on Live Contest Page)

As you can see, I make it known that I like their past work and tell them they have been on my watch list (even if they haven’t). I’ve found that by handing out a few compliments, you can get the top-tier designers to stoop down for a lower payout contest (which they rarely do). I send these messages to at least 100 designers, but sometimes even more if it is an important logo and I want to see a lot of different concepts. It gets monotonous, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.

Watch Logos Start Pouring In

You’ll start to get logos pretty quickly, and within a day or two you should have 25+ to choose from. I usually just go through and rate them as they come in. Make sure to give good feedback in your comments to the designers. They will read everything and re-design their submission based on your requests. Once you have found 2+ logos that you like, you can proceed to the next step and start testing them against each other. I should note though, I always ask the designers if it is alright that I test their design before moving forward. I’ve never had one not give me permission…

Step 2 – Setup tests

You basically have two options when it comes to running these tests. Luckily, they’re both free with a 30-day trial as of now… If you already have a website or are hosting your landing page yourself, then you’ll be using Visual Website Optimizer to test traffic that comes to the page. This is the method I’ll be showing below. If you don’t have a website, then I’d direct you to this article on using Unbounce to validate business ideas. The only thing to keep in mind is that the only variation should be the logo. So, if you are using Visual Website Optimizer, proceed reading below…

Setting Up the Test

    1. Create an account on Visual Website Optimizer with a Free Trial account. It should be pretty quick and easy.
    2. Create a Multi-Variate Test, and enter the URL to the page you’ll be testing.Multi-Variate Test
    3. This should bring up a screenshot of your website. Click your logo, then change the image with your designs from 99Designs.Logo Multi-Variate Test Setup
    4. You can add additional variants on the bottom-right corner

Add VariantsWe are testing 11 logos for the StartupBros re-design. Here they are – Logo Test Variants After you are done adding variants, click “Proceed to Next Step” in the top right Next StepThe next page will ask you to set up your conversion goals. You can set up multiple goals, and I would encourage you to. Here are the ones I set up. Conversion SetupNext is the Step 5 page, there a few things you should do here -

  • Enter a name and hypothesis/reason for your test
  • Add a * on the end of your URL if you want the test to apply to all of your traffic (which I do). It would be useful to not do this if you were testing an image on a specific page of your website, like a landing page.
  • Integrate with Google Analytics (you’d better have analytics…)
  • You can also set it to “Automatically disable losing variations”, but I like to be hands on with my testing.

Here is an example of my “Step 5″ settings – Logo Test SettingsWe’re almost done – I promise! Now you just need to set up your tracking code(s). I use Thesis so this is pretty easy for me (and that is what is shown in the picture below), but most WordPress themes should make it easy to add things into the <head> of a document. Tracking Code There is also a WordPress Plugin you can use to set up the code on your site. Just make sure the end result is this – Tracking Code Success After you see this, start your test – Start Test Now   Now your test should be running smoothly, but I’d encourage you to both check out everything in the “Live Preview Combinations” area, as well as test on different computer to be sure everything is going right.

Step 3 – Drive Targeted Traffic

This step should be easy if you already have an established website, since you can just sit back and wait to see the results (that’s what we are doing). If you are running an Unbounce landing page, you’ll have to run some targeted traffic via PPC or content marketing of some sort. Just make sure it is your ideal customers who are visiting, because that’s who you want making the decision on your logo. This is probably a good time to offer up some more $100 Adwords Coupons as well. If you need a certificate, StartupBros has you hooked up

Get a FREE $100 Adwords Coupon!

Step 4 – Results

The ideal amount of time to run your test will depend on your traffic volume and the number of variations you’re testing. Here is how our test went…

Day 1

Logo Test Stats 1

By day one we can already see some of the variants drop off, all though it is a little early to make any judgement with such little data. I did turn off the ones that were really not looking good (all the variants with less than a 5% chance to beat the base variant). You’ll see below that some of the variants I turned off ended up making a comeback. This is due to people that are assigned to a specific variant coming back to the site in the days after their first visit. Obviously, this is a good thing and something we want to keep in mind.

Day 3Logo Test Stats 2

By day three we had enough data to see where things were going. You can see almost all the variants had a slight improvement from day one. This is again due to repeat visitors (which is the goal we are measuring).

Day 5Logo Test Stats 3

By day five, we had enough data to comfortably make a decision. Note – In an experiment like this, the control will raise naturally over time. The reason for this is that your regular readers will be shown the original logo that is in their cache (the control). These are our most engaged readers, and thus they skew the data on the control a little over time.

Step 5 – Select a Winning Logo Design

Now that you have a good amount of data, you can confidently make the right decision and select your winning logo. Just head back over to 99Designs and select a winner, then the logo is yours. The designer will send you the files via 99Designs within a few hours. You can see in our experiment, our control ended up doing pretty well. Again, keep in mind that the control will always be artificially high in this experiment, and will be more artificially high for people with a more dedicated following. This is because the past readers (regulars) will be shown the control. We like our new logo much more, and I’m happy I decided to run this contest and test.

What Do You Think?

So, what do you think? Think I missed anything? Do you know a better way? Think this was a big waste of time? Tell me about it in the comments! And as always, if you decide to use this method and have any trouble with it, comment below or email me at will <at> startupbros.com and I’ll be there to help! God speed, Bros!

by Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the StartupBros About Page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

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74 comments… add one

  1. Nice new logo guys! Also a great insight into how to get hold of a really good one. I made mine myself, its a great way to learn a little about new programs such as Paintshop Pro and so on.

    Reply
    1. Thanks a lot, glad you enjoyed it! Yea, there is definitely a lot to learn in the world of design…too much for me :)

      Reply
  2. You guys have the best “How-To’s” for new ventures, whether it be actual business ideas or learning new techniques and skills. The ideas coming from you guys are awesome!! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Damn, thanks man! Will has been tearing it up, this guide is going to save a lot of people A LOT of money (and is already getting a bunch of designers all sorts of angry :)

      Reply
    2. Awesome Matt, thanks so much for commenting and letting me know what you thought. Glad in this case it’s positive :-P

      You da man!
      Will

      Reply
  3. Hate mail? For this? All I can say is you always have to consider the source. I read this yesterday and instantly shared it on twitter, fb, linkedin, and g+. Great info, well presented. You go Will!

    Reply
    1. Some (overpriced) designers get REAL upset about this stuff because it threatens to cut them out of the equation. When you threaten someone’s job you can’t expect them to think real rationally about the ideas :)

      Thanks a lot for sharing StartupBros posts, it’s truly the highest compliment. It’s super important for us! Have a blast today, Wally!

      Reply
    2. Awesome, thanks a lot Wally! If I would have seen your shares, my Monday would have been much more positive :-P

      Thanks Wally!

      Reply
  4. Thanks for this. Most people would charge for these very informative posts.

    Any entrepreneur would gladly welcome successful tips if can save them time or money.
    Keep em coming guys.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Scott – as long as I’m helping entrepreneurs make it I can take the hate haha

      Reply
  5. You tested how many conversion/visitors each page gets that has a different logo.

    What does conversions mean to you. What did they have to do in order to be “converted.”

    Also, does the logo of the website really affect the conversion rate that much?

    Reply
    1. Hi Mario,

      Thanks for the great questions. I tested around 20-30k unique visitors total. I was testing 3 conversion goals in this, 2 of them being form sign ups and 1 of them being an engagement goal. They either needed to engage with our site (comment, share, stay on for I believe more than 2 minutes) or fill out a form on our site to be converted. And again, we measured all those goals separately.

      I think the logo does effect it, as shown by the data. It doesn’t effect it to a huge degree, but it does ever so slightly. If we have a memorable logo, even if it is for a reason I don’t completely understand, people will still memorize it more (and potentially come back more often due to that). That’s what this was measuring, and I think it showed that the logo is an influence, however slightly.

      Of course, I think there are more important things you could be testing. But, I wanted a new logo, so I decided to show everybody how I did that :)

      We also test our optin forms and get more significant gains from that, but I haven’t posted that yet haha

      Hope this helps,
      Will

      Reply
      1. Cool thanks. I can’t wait for your other techniques/tools.

        Maybe how to make quick landing pages to test out business ideas.

        Reply
        1. Hey Mario,

          Thanks a lot, glad to hear you liked my logo method.

          If you’re looking for a guide on making quick landing pages to test out business ideas, I think you might like this post :)

          http://www.startupbros.com/3-steps-to-validate-your-business-idea-for-free/

          Comment on that one and let me know what you think!

          Thanks,
          Will

          Reply
  6. I don’t know why you received hate mail. This is a genius logo hack.

    Reply
    1. Haters that are scared for their jobs

      Reply
    2. Thanks Ryans, I thought the same thing! :)

      Reply
  7. People that are hating are probably graphic designers that need to move on from competing with crowd sourcing websites. Great article. I will use it when I design my next logo.

    Reply
    1. Amen – show us what you get with it!

      Reply
    2. You know Elliott, that was my suspicion, but I don’t like judging my own work. And I know a lot of great graphics designers that don’t hate on the contest sites that much, they just figured out how to position themselves as premium providers. Oh well, as long as somebody got some value out of it, it’s worth it to me!

      Thanks man,
      Will

      Reply
  8. This is a wonderful post. I think I’d love every logo that you guys adopt as long as it features the StartUp Guys heads! Stay terrific!

    Reply
    1. Thanks so much for your support Tree Turtle!! You’re one of the most terrific humans I know!

      Reply
    2. Thanks a lot, I appreciate it! One person said our heads are creepy, so I’m glad to get some positive feedback on our beautiful faces :-P

      Thanks again for commenting, talk again soon!
      Will

      Reply
  9. Will. In depth article and informative – great quality!

    But I’m not sure I like this method. Buy that doesn’t justify any hate mail.

    I think maybe you are missing some of the long term assets of your logo by using some relatively short term measurements and by lowering costs.

    For instance – the makeup of the websites audience may not be the exact audience you want – but they are the ones deciding your logo through conversions. You could be affecting your future conversions of the audience you do want.

    Also, now that you use this logo you may be attracting a different type of audience than you intended – or different from who you should – because you went with the relatively short term results rather than having an independent expert plan and design accordingly.

    Lastly, maybe you missed out on some of the logo and branding design advice you would have gotten from a high quality designer.

    Anyway- still a great post and a good option out of many available options.

    Reply
    1. Too much hate online and not enough love!
      Personally, regarding this article I skipped over only because 99 designs was suggested. Over the years I mastered the outsourcing game, so I am able to pinpoint to the atom my ideal logo designer using services such as oDesk. From the very beginning I filter for the type of client I am looking for, and literally within minutes of posting I already have offers. I then decide to look at there work history, and can then narrow it down. As long as I like the designer, I can begin to communicate with him or her, and usually it takes 2 to 3 drafts before the vision is implemented. Now I have around two to three designers I have saved, so when a job pops up, I contact them first to see if they are interested, and it works out because they understand my taste.
      Nothing against 99 designs, it was great for me in the beginning, but my last bout with them ended because my price range did not attract many interested contestants.

      Thanks,
      Omar

      Reply
      1. Hey Omar,

        Yea, they ripped this one up, but I’m glad you can still see the value in it. It’s great to be able to get some hard data testing different logo designs, that’s the only drawback of your method. Of course, if you have a rolodex of designers, and can manage them well…more power to you!

        I use Elance for programmers, but haven’t used any outsourcing sites for design really sign 99designs. I’ll only use them if I need somebody hourly.

        Would love to hear more about your outsourcing method though.

        Thanks for commenting,
        Will

        Reply
    2. Hi Ben,

      Thanks a lot for the honest feedback, definitely the most valuable kind!

      To be honest, I agree with you. I don’t remember if I mentioned it in the article, but I definitely think that at a certain point a business can afford a full redesign, front to bottom, to make the brand experience seamless. But until your business is bringing in over 100k a year (at least), I think this might be the best route.

      It’s true that our audience could change with a single article and this data will be irrelevant. I don’t think it’s all that likely, but definitely possible.

      And it’s 100% true that I missed out on some insights from a top quality designer. But as you mentioned, this is a good startup logo hack.

      Glad you saw the value through your criticism :)
      Will

      Reply
  10. Great Job Will!

    Your website and your articles has been a tremendous help for me.
    The information I’ve gotten from these has been invaluable to me. I even bookmarked some of them …heck most of them for reference.
    I learned in here what they didn’t teach me in college….like hmmm “How to Create a Logo design?” lol

    Keep up the good work and maybe one day I’ll join you guys at start up bros if i get lucky! haha

    PS: I’ll buy you a beer when I see you!

    –Harvey

    Reply
    1. Hey Harvey, Happy to hear I could help! (woah, alliteration…)

      “How to Create a Logo Design” would definitely be a more useful college lesson than most of the things they are teaching. It probably would have convinced me to stick around! Too bad it isn’t like that…

      Definitely down for a beer, where are you at?

      Keep kicking Harvey!
      Will

      Reply
  11. Nice trick… But wouldn’t you be alienating the designers on that crowdsourcing site? Would they continue to work with you?

    Reply
    1. Hi Miheer,

      I’m not sure I understand, why wouldn’t they want to work with me again?

      Reply
  12. Good trick… But wouldn’t you be alienating the designers on that crowdsourcing site? Would they continue to work with you?

    Reply
    1. Hi again Miheer,

      See above :)

      Reply
  13. Who “owns” the logo after it’s created?

    Reply
    1. Hi Fox,

      Thanks a lot for commenting. After the logo contest ends and you select your winner, 99designs will take you through a process to transfer the ownership of the logo over from the designer to you.

      So it’s all yours.

      Will

      Reply
  14. @Miheer,

    Just in case your comment was a reply to my post. I might be misunderstood.
    I post a job opportunity with filtered qualifications. Browse through the work history of the interested candidates, then choose one designer. In communication with the awarded designer we usually get to the desired logo after a couple attempts.

    Reply
  15. What’s wrong with this? It’s a place for barely interested race-to-the-bottom designers and frugal small businesses to hang out and make each other happy. Now off to write some proposals…

    Reply
    1. Yep, it has it’s uses…

      Reply
  16. Great post Will. Stats don’t lie.

    My first post here so I just wanted to say that you guys are putting together a great blog!

    Reply
    1. Hey Jake, glad to have you around! Thanks for the kind words, and hope you can get some value out of the logo design concepts ;)

      Reply
  17. Great information here. I’m not currently looking for a new logo, but when I am, I’ll know the steps and have some great recommendations. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Awesome Michael, hope you can get some use out of it in the future. It does work!

      Let me know if you end up doing it and how it ends up,
      Will

      Reply
  18. Amazing job, you guys rock!

    Your articles are so rich with knowledge and informative about many things we need to know when starting up. I have to say again, Will you are amazing and you really inspired me to do not give up and if it wasn’t for this blog I would have dropped my dream once again simply because I had no hope. I knew that was a way to make this all happen for I didn’t know how to find the answers and here I find it all, and when I don’t, you kindly answer to my desperate emails and give me a boost again. I appreciate all the work you put together to help us out!

    Keep up the great work!

    Sue Ellen

    Reply
    1. Hi Sue,

      Thanks a lot for your kind words, I really appreciate it! It makes taking the time to help via email and comments worth it ;)

      I’m really happy to hear you won’t be giving up on your dreams any time soon. Don’t forget that most successful people became successful through managing a string of failures. Keep it up and you can’t fail, eventually!

      By the way, I just emailed you back ;)

      Thanks again Sue!
      Will

      Reply
  19. You don’t own the copyright to the logos until you pay for them. So how are you using all of them prior to paying for them?

    Reply
    1. Hey there Rajat, thanks a lot for commenting. Hope you liked the article.

      In the article I mention at the bottom of step 1 that I always ask the designers for permission to test their logo before moving forward. I tell them exactly what I’m going to do with it, test it against a few others I like and see which performs best. I’ve yet to have somebody deny me permission…

      I’ve been informed that 99Designs doesn’t like this, but I think if you get permission from the designer himself you should be fine. It is perfectly ethical this way in my opinion, but maybe not everybody…

      Reply
  20. I am not sure what the controversy would be about, I found this well written and informative. You obviously put a generous amount of work into creating the walk through.

    The only thing I could see that might be construed as negative is that it might give the impression you were shilling for one company. I doubt this was the intention.

    Thanks again for all your hard work, I intend to benefit from it. ;)

    Reply
    1. Thanks a lot for your thoughtful feedback. That definitely wasn’t the attention, though I’ve had some bad feedback from that. But the truth is, I would only use 99Designs at this point in time, so it’s the only one I can recommend confidently! I don’t recommend what I don’t use :)

      Thanks again for the awesome comments!
      Will

      Reply
  21. Hey there,

    Want to know something funny? I’m one of those designers from 99Designs you left an ego-boosting inbox for the design of your book. Honestly it was kind of suspicious from the very beginning, I thought it was a trick from the website to encourage designers to participate in random contests or whatever. Even more suspicious because I’ve only participated on two book design contests and have won nothing. But any ways, I opened your contest, read the brief and started my research (thus the first thing a designer must do), which eventually brought me to this article.

    I have to say that I decided not to participate on the contest after all I read here, but I admit that you clever guys are very ingenious and I almost fall in other one of your design hacks. Which left me thinking a lot on what you do for living, because our way of thinking about jobs is almost the same. I totally understand the hate mail, by the way…

    I’m a professional graphic designer who ended college about a year ago, but I’ve never had a proper job in an office with a salary, medical insurance, and all that stuff, unlike my fellow colleagues that like to live normal capitalist lives. I could be doing the same and earning good money, but somehow that’s not me, and all this year I’ve been surviving as a freelancer and entering web contests as the ones on 99Designs. So far I’ve been living in my family’s house and had not to worry about the rent, but I will soon be moving with my girl and I feared I will have to surrender from this hippie life and get a proper job. But then I found you and have to say that I’m very interested on what you do, the description I read about your book on the design brief seems like something I would like to try.

    So I only wanted to share this with you as a person that now has been on the two sides of the coin. You do naughty but clever stuff to get what you want. I like you. And definitely want to know more about your stuff. And by the way, if you need a personal designer for your upcoming projects and get tired of holding 99 design contests, here I am.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Hey Mario,

      Thanks for the very interesting comment :)

      Sorry to hear you don’t like the method, and that we won’t be seeing your work. But glad to hear you can see the value in it for entrepreneurs :)

      Honestly, I think you’re right on that. I don’t think it’s possible to free yourself from the worries of money on 99Designs. It’s a good way to make money, and probably a good way to make a living; but it’s still trading time for money. You have to free yourself from that grind (it seems like you’ve realized that, though).

      On the flip side, there a designers out there who are making a killing. I don’t know any personally, but I’m sure they are out there. It’s definitely a good idea to look for long term clients though. I’d imagine that one of the easiest ways to create some cash flow for a designer would be to get a recurring client (like a daily coupon design for a grocery store), pass most of the work to an outsourced designer (a virtual assistant), then put the finishing touches on it and send it back to the client. Just my first thought, but there’s a ton of ways out there.

      I’d love to keep in touch though, I like your style as well ;)

      Also, one thing that constantly bothers me about designers I work with is that they don’t know marketing. It’s impossible to find designers who know how to CONVERT as well as make something look good. Branding yourself like that may be an opportunity. There are a few companies out there that just make landing pages, but they make the best damn landing pages out there. I buy from them for some clients, because I know they make great looking pages that will convert.

      Would love to hear your thoughts on those ideas!

      Talk soon,
      Will

      Reply
  22. Hey Will,

    Thanks for your comment! I think 99Designs is a good way to earn extra cash but as you well said, you can’t really make a living out of it, although there are some that claim that it is indeed possible, but that’s very likely to just be like the 2% of the community.

    I agree with you, having long term clients seems to be the best option for designers, and what I love the most about this profession is that it gives you the possibility to work by yourself without the actual need of being at an office, but it is harder to achieve that as far as I’ve experienced. Any ways, I guess I just have to seek harder for those clients and work on my pitch!

    Thanks for taking the time, and yeah, let’s keep in touch! I attached a link to my demo reel (2D motion is what I do the most). I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and what the hell, maybe you know someone that could use some of my animation skills :P

    Cheers,
    Mario

    Reply
    1. Hey Mario,

      Completely agree with you on all counts there! Work harder on your pitch maybe, or change your positioning :)

      Checked out your demo reel, very trippy and very cool haha. It always amazes me what people can do, I’ve never been too good at art. Business is my art :)

      Reply
  23. As a former designer doomed to sites like elance and 99designs, I just want to say that what you’ve come up with here is genius.

    If I was still designing logos, I would probably hate you after reading this, so I can see where the animosity came from.

    You’re going to be putting a lot of logo designers out of business with this method. But you’re going to be enabling many more entrepreneurs to get started. Bravo.

    Let me ask you though, how did you used to get your logos designed? Could you tell me about the evolution of your logo design methodology (not to get too scientific-sounding haha)

    I’d be interested to hear that.

    Reply
    1. Hey again Verdan,

      Haha, I was nervous when I started reading your first sentence. Thought I was getting more hate mail from this article :)

      This method will probably frustrate a lot of logo designers, but that’s fine. Like you said, it’s going to help a lot of entrepreneurs. That’s my goal.

      I suppose I used to get my logos designed the same way everyone does, at some point. The first few logo designs I had done were done by random people on the internet. I went around to forums and found some people that looked like they had a decent logo portfolio. I messaged back and forth with them and picked a few of them to work with. I sent them some basic ideas, they sent me back a crappy logo. I wanted some revisions, they gave me a few. The logo ended up being not as crappy, but I still wasn’t happy with it.

      I ended up extremely frustrated. I figured the only way to get a real polished logo done would be to spend the big money with design agencies I haven’t even heard of.

      Then I started to see something interesting happening on forums. Logo design contests. People would post a brief outline of what they wanted done, and offer a reward for the best submission. These logo design competitions created some of the most valuable logos I’ve ever seen that. When I say that, I mean the logo was worth SO much more than what they paid. The competition aspect really beefed up the design standards.

      I started using those for a few years and had great results. I had finally figured out a way to get a decent logo designed. Then, all the forums cut us off. They banned all design competitions.

      Luckily though, within 6 months 99designs had taken the cue and created a business based on the idea. I started using then for logo designs, website designs, book cover designs, business card designs…everything I could. Ever since then, I’ve gotten a large amount of my design work done on 99designs.

      It wasn’t until a few years later that I began to understand A/B testing and business in general on a deep level. That’s when I started combining everything to come up with new ways to make 99designs more valuable for me. And like I said, I figured out how to get the perfect logo designed. :)

      Hope this helps, thanks for the comment!
      Will

      Reply
  24. Will,
    great article, I think I’m going to start using Leadpages seems easier to use, what do you think about optimizepress?

    Cheers

    Reply
    1. I’m a big fan of Leadpages actually, I use them quite a bit. OptimizePress is decent, but I’ve heard it’s no Leadpages :)

      Here’s our affiliate link if you’re feeling nice – http://www.startupbros.com/leadpages

      Reply
  25. I read the article, and I’m currently a student just working my way through college so I can get my degree. I have done the 99design contests in the past, but when I started to learn about it I changed my mind.

    I don’t really have a problem with the whole idea, seeing as how it is really the designers that are participating in the contests that are losing. Kind of like what Mario was talking about in the above comments.

    I do know that the competitions are also risky if you don’t get any good designers or designs coming in. Which is why the recommendation lies in finding a professional designer to do the logo for you. You can find one who does things that you like as 1000′s of freelance and other professional designers have their portfolios on the web. The real bonus in this is you can get the customization that you want, with the promise of getting it hammered out until you get something you like. Branding is huge for the business world, and if it was me paying to have something made, I would want the best. Something that I wouldn’t change anytime soon. Which is the general problem that you run into with outsourced logos, they work for a while and then they get boring.

    Anyways, ran into this article looking for logo design ideas as I am about to start a project for school with that soon.

    Good luck with everything.

    Brett

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the comment Brett!

      I think there’s a place for dedicated designers. But until I am ready to hire somebody full-time, I’ll be running contests for most of my work.

      The people that I get to do further work on my brand and website and graphics are usually the people who designed the winning logos, because they’re style connected best with my audience.

      Even if I was hiring one designer, I would like some data to put behind my choices. As elegant as I think my taste is, I don’t think I can beat hard data :)

      But again, to each his own :)

      Good luck on the project,
      Will

      Reply
  26. Hi Will!

    Really enjoyed reading your article and hearing some love from an entrepreneurs viewpoint about logo contests. I’m a Graphic Designer, I’ve worked in a few art departments but currently am a designer and Community Manager at 48HoursLogo.com (check us out sometime!).

    I think you’ve got some really good tips in the walk-through. Whoever did the vector work on your heads did a great job, they look awesome :) good luck on your future contests!

    Rick

    Reply
    1. Happy to hear you enjoyed the article Rick! Great website, I love the design and the concept :)

      Thanks a lot for the kind words, I’m a big fan of that designer. He actually does all his work by hand first, great guy :)

      Reply
  27. This is why I go on this site…freaking great man

    Reply
    1. Haha, glad you liked it Chris

      Reply
  28. Brilliant idea Will, I’ll be using this soon. Leaving my job next week, I’ve finally built up the side income to make it possible – in no small part thanks to you! Wish me luck!

    Reply
    1. That’s awesome to hear Russ, wish you the best of luck on the next phase of your life :-D Feel free to email or comment any time if you need help, of course…

      Reply
  29. Just now I was reading your post “How to get the perfect logo designed” very useful information. Thanks for sharing! Subscribed too ;)

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Thanks for joining Hadwa, glad to have you on board :)

      Reply
  30. Hi, thanks so much for the advice, i’m looking to build my own company aswell, i’ve been trying online logo design sites like LogoGenie, does anyone know any good online logo design sites or programs that i could use, thanks Dean

    Reply
    1. I haven’t heard of that site, but of course – I’d recommend 99Designs using the method I documented above ;)

      Reply
  31. Thanks for the great article.

    Your Visual Website Optomizer – Conversion Goals graphic link does not work. It would be nice to see this page. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. There are other broken graphic links as well. Might want to test/fix them all. Thanks!

      Reply
  32. This is a very interesting forum and I must applaud Will for his genius, even though I find the ego-boosting method to attract designers to be politically incorrect. You should not be telling a designer “I love your work” unless you mean it. Manipulating people into your contest might give you a high count of participants but, unless you really liked their work, these participants will end up being useless simply because they will not be on the same page as you in terms of what makes good design. So you will just be wasting their and your time.
    Further more, I would like to bring awareness to those that talk about “overpaid” designers. They are paid for their expertise and hard work and many years of experience that makes their designs so great that in the end they will make the customer rich. So there is nothing wrong about paying well the person who is going to make you very rich. As for the remaining designers, the ones who struggle and scramble on the crowd sourcing sites, just know and appreciate how lucky you are to have all these people working their buts off for you. Be always respectful and appreciative and make sure not to be wasting their time, so always provide honest and prompt feedback and acknowledge their effort. It usually takes them more work and time than they are getting paid for, but most of them will remain committed and loyal, providing one proposal after another, one revision after another, and ending up with putting so many hours into pleasing you that their total hourly pay ends up reduced to less than the minimum wage. I just want to bring awareness about what goes on on the other side and hope every interpreter here will know to respect and appreciate these people. And that begins with not bragging about manipulating and exploiting them.

    Reply
  33. Just receive my company logo and the result VERY PRO & AWESOME JOB from THE TEAM… Thanks Guys

    Reply
  34. Just found your site for the first time. I am impressed! Well done! This method makes a lot of sense when you’re looking at a redesign.

    Reply
  35. The website optimizer won’t upload the logos I saved from 99designs. I already have the permission. They keep saving as .html. What do you recommend I do to save them so they can be uploaded to the optimizer?

    Reply

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