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Quickview: Crowdsource Your Next Logo

Resources such as 99designs offer a novel and affordable approach to logo design for advisors.

Bill Winterberg, 02/23/2012

When I attend marketing presentations at conferences, I consistently hear how important it is for advisors to create a brand that stands out among growing competition in the marketplace. One major component of that brand is an attractive and compelling logo.

The process of independently designing a logo can be daunting, so more and more business owners, myself included, are turning to crowdsource solutions for design work.

The 99designs Process
The resource I used to create a new logo for my consulting business is 99designs, billed as the "fastest growing design marketplace in the world." Signing up for an account is free, and once complete, you can view current and past contests to gain a sense of the quality of the design submissions on the site.

99designs works by hosting design contests on your behalf, where you describe your need for a logo, web page, business card, or other marketing collateral. There are three price points for logo design contests: Bronze is $295, Silver is $495, and Gold is $695. The packages differ by the level of support you receive for your contest and the priority of its submission to the site's designer community.

I selected the Silver package, as I wanted to attract more designers with a higher payout than the Bronze package, but I felt I didn't need the one-on-one assistance included in the Gold package.

The design contest begins with a qualifying round, and within about 48 hours, my contest had attracted roughly a dozen designs. I provided feedback on what I did and did not like regarding the submissions, which helped the designers refine their work.

The objective of the qualifying round, which lasts around one week, is to identify up to six designers to proceed to the final round of the contest. The designers selected for the final round, which lasts three days, can update their existing designs or contribute new ones altogether.

At the conclusion of the final round, you select the winning logo and designer, and begin the handover process. You then sign a copyright agreement with the designer, receive the graphics files, approve the handover, and release the payment to the contest winner.

The Results
I was very pleased with my design contest. I received over 150 logo designs from 28 different designers. The quality of the submissions increased as I added public feedback on logo designs, so it's important to set aside time each day to review new submissions. Without consistent feedback, expect fewer submissions, as designers might get frustrated with the lack of guidance.

Crowdsourcing logo designs may not be right for every advisor, as some would argue that designers don't fully appreciate the brand and identity you are attempting to convey through your logo. On the other hand, hiring a marketing firm to cultivate such a brand with requisite marketing collateral may cost several thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars.

For advisors seeking a novel and affordable approach to logo design, I recommend investigating resources such as 99designs. You may be pleasantly surprised by what is created on your behalf.

Bill Winterberg, CFP, is a technology and operations consultant to independent financial advisors. His comments on technology have been featured in a variety of financial industry publications. You can view more information about Bill and see his schedule of upcoming speaking engagements at his Web site, FPPad.com. The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.
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