A get-rich-quick scheme promises a high rate of return for little risk, skill, effort, or time. Most are scams and I don’t see much difference with design contests. Designers who choose this route (informed or not), tend to believe that designing a logo is “easy”, requires little risk, skill, effort or time and might just win them a few hundred dollars.
I checked out three logo design contests at Crowdspring (time is automatically adjusted to my local time):Contest 1 went live at 4:27 pm. Design 1 was uploaded at 4:53pm — 26 minutes. Contest 2 went live at 7:53 pm. Design 1 was uploaded at 11:19pm — 3 hours 26 minutes. Contest 3 went live at 1:57am. Design 1 was uploaded at 2:46am — 49 minutes.
Since it is unlikely that designers are expectantly waiting for a new contest to go live that they immediately start working on it as soon as it does, the time shown above is a generous estimate. Three hours, 26 minutes isn’t bad but if it were a “real” client serious about their branding, I would still be in the middle of research and using Illustrator is days (or weeks) away.
Of course there are exceptions where we may really need to do a quick logo and John McWade of Before & After even shows a way to do it.
If it were a logo for your own business you could probably create one quickly too, although mine took a while.
The image above shows a logo I did in 30 minutes. I needed to take a step back from my current project so I decided to challenge myself to meanwhile create a quick logo for a fictitious company named from a random word generator (parameters: noun, very uncommon). Eighteenmo or octodecimo is a book size made from folding a sheet of paper into 18 leaves. I’m thinking the plural form, octodecimos would make a nice brand.
But going back, I can’t really blame spec designers for spending little time on one logo contest. 149 out of 150 designers won’t get paid anyway and the contest holder gets what he paid for, which usually isn’t much (both the payment and the winning design).
Yes, we can create logos in 30 minutes or less if all we needed to do was work in Illustrator. But if we were hired as professionals, we need to spend time first on research, on asking questions, on brainstorming, on drawing (by hand!). All these take time and it doesn’t make us rich quick. But hard work always pays off and much better too. If you are a designer working for crowdsourcing sites like 99designs and Crowdspring and you think hard work is all about joining as many contests as possible and churning out as many designs as you can, yes that is indeed hard. But it isn’t very smart and you’ll eventually feel like you’re one of those scammed by get-rick-quick schemes.
If you are a designer for a contest site, do you believe you are winning enough contests and money to justify your time spent designing for clients on these sites?
For the rest, I’m curious, what was the shortest time you ever spent on a branding project?