Sometimes I really can be my own worst enemy (and your best example of what not to do).
In the midst of trying to pull all of the elements of a new website together, I originally thought I could just do it all myself. (Sound familiar?) I mean, I have the writing and WordPress skills, a bit of an artistic flair, and a huge sense of ownership. Oh, and of course a monthly budget.
So, after spinning my wheels on a logo to complement a background image I intended to use, I finally broke down and reached out to the designers on 99designs for professional help. Am I glad I did! All of the panel’s creative logo entries had my head absolutely spinning at times. (By the end of the preliminary round, there were a total of 128 designs, ranging from simple elegance to bright, cheery, and fun!)
But it wasn’t all rainbows and bubble gum … Clipping right along and going into Day 3, something happened. Looking at the gallery of proposed logos, I realized many of the designs revolved around my background image, an image that just was not going to work. Yes, suddenly the bubble popped, making a momentary mess of my mouth. A few designers and I found ourselves back at the drawing board, and while I gained a valuable lesson, I also lost valuable time.
- Don’t spin your wheels in your own pre-defined box. Step out of the box and into the realm of more possibilities through 99designs. They have a fabulous panel of designers with backgrounds, interests, and levels of experience that make the logo design options virtually limitless.
- Before starting your own design contest, look through the site, both for logo ideas and creative artists. You can invite other designers to contribute to your contest — a great option to broaden your designer palette. If you consider this route, I definitely recommend reaching out to Artistic media_X jkl, jeda, L♥GO™, mart_p, and smart88 — they were absolutely fabulous to work with and made it difficult to pick just one!
- Whatever you do, do not go in clinging to a pre-conceived idea. Be open to suggestions and remember: Your logo, business card, or website should reflect the overall business image that you want your potential customers to perceive. If they don’t “get it,” you’re less likely to get it. (Get it??)
- You are working with graphic designers, not psychics. Clear communication and feedback is imperative, using both one-on-one and group designer feedback where appropriate.
- Be prepared for the 11th-hour night shift — those designers who make their first appearance just hours (and even minutes!) before the qualifying round comes to a close. You can choose only a handful of designers for the final round, so choose wisely. Before you narrow the field, consider reviewing each designer’s profile and portfolio for a sense of their creative history and ratio of submission wins.
- And last, but not least, have fun with the process. You’ll find there’s much to learn — both about yourself, as well as the way you view your business.
The goal: One start, no stops on a path to success.
If you’ve already traveled this path, encountered similar challenges, and have other solutions you’d like to share, please chime in; I’d love to hear from you!