Trying to find the right designer for your project can be challenging. As a result, many business owners find the concept of a design contest appealing: users simply describe the kind of work they need done for their design project. Once the job is posted, dozens of designers submit their work, hoping to be selected and win the contest (and the fee).
While contest design platforms can sometimes produce work that clients are happy with, oftentimes the results are less than ideal, frustrating, and less cost-effective than they appear at first.
Throw Something at the Wall Until it Sticks
It’s not uncommon for business owners to end up with submissions that they’re not happy with. It’s important to keep in mind that these designers are working on spec; as a result, you’re not always going to attract the most talented designers, because there’s only a slim chance they’re going to be compensated for their time and talent. Even if you do get quality designers for your project, you’re likely not getting their best work.
Some sites offer a money-back guarantee, but only if you haven’t guaranteed your contest—meaning if you commit to paying for a logo, but aren’t happy, you’re just out of luck. This can be bad for both the client and the creatives, who could submit work and then not have a client select any options under the money-back guarantee.
It Can Be Hard to Communicate Your Vision
Another common issue with design contests is that there is no single point of contact for clients, who are often business owners with busy schedules; they don’t always have the time or skills to translate feedback into actionable edits a designer can complete. This can lead to frustration on both ends, and result in design that clients are not happy with.
One benefit that a traditional agency has is that there are often account or project managers serving as the point of contact for a client, helping to translate the client’s vision into effective creative feedback. Of course, working with a traditional agency can be very expensive, and isn’t an option for many businesses. BXP Creative fills the gap, with consistent, scalable creative talent and a single point of contact for clients, our project managers.
Your Design May Not Be Truly Unique
Because contest design platforms require creatives to work on spec, they often take shortcuts that allow them to quickly finish designs and move on to the next contest. It’s all about minimizing the amount of time spent on your project. In order to achieve this, some designers will recycle old design elements or logo styles, simply swapping in your brand name and changing colors.
The last thing you want is your logo design to be forgettable.
Does the Design Align with Strategy?
Design without strategic thinking isn’t going to help move your business forward. For example, you may need a design for a landing page designed to convert web visitors into email leads. Designers from design contest platforms may be able to produce a visually pleasing landing page design, but may have no idea who your target audience is, what other marketing strategies you’re pursuing, or how their work fits into the big picture.
Details like the layout, headline typography, color of the CTA button, formatting, and color can have a big impact on conversion rates—and consistency across all your marketing channels is essential to providing a clear message to your customers.
The team at BXP Creative believes great design should be accessible to everybody—we don’t offer bronze, silver, or gold quality design at different prices because we do our best work for all our clients every day. If you’re frustrated with design contest platforms, let’s talk!