I'm looking to have a couple logos and website designs done. I've had some great local designers, but each one has moved or gone else where so I keep having to look for new designers. My thought and realization in the last couple days is to go to a crowdsourced design site like crowdspring.com or mycroburst.com.

Both of these sites look good, but I'm wondering what else is out there? Are there better ones and how have your experiences been them?

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    Just a note: Don't feel limited by the distance, I am sure that if you contact the designer that you know, they can still work at distance for you. Luckily graphic design, as web design, can be done at distance. I know that as human being we like to have people face to face, but anyway they will not do the work at your home :), and there are plenty of tools for videoconference via internet. Just one day give a try, if you know a good designer that worked for you I wouldn't lose them, they are rare. :) – Littlemad Jan 9 '11 at 14:43
  • Unfortunately, the designers that I've had have all moved on to other things and don't have time for extra work. But yeah, distance doesn't matter. I did work with one guy while he was living in the arctic. – Darryl Hein Jan 10 '11 at 2:21
  • Oh sorry, I felt that was a matter of distance and not of busyness – Littlemad Jan 11 '11 at 14:27
  • Does "crowdsourced" include sites where anyone can bid for the work, and you employ one, as well as contest-type sites where anyone can submit a design, but only one gets paid? – e100 Feb 8 '11 at 19:35
  • @e100 sure. I'd say they're in the same category, although somewhat different. – Darryl Hein Feb 8 '11 at 23:12

Consider the type of talent that will participate in online logo contest/crowd sourcing sites. These are people willing to spend hours upon hours designing logos based on weak or non-existent business requirements with nearly zero consultation with the clients to compete with 100 others in the same boat for the slim chance at winning $100?

I usually say you get what you pay for, but you don't even get that at sites like that.

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    As per Can Berk Güder's answer, it worked for Jeff Atwood; $500 each for SO and SF logos. – e100 Feb 8 '11 at 19:38
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    Yea, kind of sad/ironic. – DA01 Feb 8 '11 at 21:20
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    But given that example where the client's needs appear to have been met, where's the problem? (Playing devil's advocate to some extent; think you could add weight to your answer with more specific problems/pitfalls). – e100 Feb 9 '11 at 10:21
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    It'd be akin to the StackOverflow team sending the actual development of the software to India and paying someone $5 an hour. It's being cheap and not really focusing on value. THAT SAID, $500 is a respectable starting place for a decent logo. Is the SO logo worth $500? Eh...again, people that use crowd sourcing sites as a place to get work aren't what you'd call top tier talent. But if SO is happy with it, sure, that's fine. But it's going to be rare that one is going to get good value out of these sites...unless their standards are already pretty low. – DA01 Feb 9 '11 at 14:28
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    There is a reason why crowdsourcing pages are bought by other crowdsourcing pages, it is becoming its own industry to make money out of the crowd and not of the design. so any client who wishes to have an unique and very fitting design will learn how it feels to start every design with some other random designer, at the end nothing of it fits together and even the 100$ are for nothing payed. concept means relationship and knowing each other, even interesting in germany by law a copyright holder has the right to recalc his payment if a project becomes famous and makes money for the client!! – codelio May 13 '13 at 22:33

None. Please do not use them.

They are all harmful to the graphic design industry and should be avoided at all costs.

When participating in these logo contests, you are devaluing the design industry as a whole. Also it gives off the perception that logos can be "ready made", with the ability to simply change the name and have it work. There is a LOT of hard work, research, and unique consideration that should be taken into account when creating a great logo. Even if you decide that you would like to work for pennies, think about the greater implications of bringing down the industry as whole.

Example, "Why would I pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for a logo from you, when I could go to this site, have 50 people make me different logos, and choose one for $100?"

That is the point of view that people begin to view the graphic design industry with after seeing or using these contest sites. Of course many will be able to spot the difference in quality and understand that you get what you pay for, but at the same time many will not.

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    Totally agree. The sad part is that most of the general public wouldn't notice the quality difference. – John Apr 9 '14 at 13:24

I have no experience of any other crowd-sourcing sites, but currently I'm having some amazing designs developed on http://www.designcrowd.com. You can get really good designs at crowd sourcing sites, but the one thing to bear in mind is the time you will need to commit to a project. Even if you only have 4 or 5 really good designs developed during the process, you are effectively managing the delivery of 4 or 5 small projects whereas if you had a single designer working on a project you only have to manage that one project. Giving feedback on all the designs you receive is hard and takes a lot of time, but in my opinion that is the commitment that you make as client on a crowd sourcing site. I am fully expecting that by the end of my current crowd sourcing project the time costs of the time I've had to put in will far outweigh the fees associated with the project.

You must bear in mind there are a lot of good designers on crowd-sourcing sites and often they are looking for experience rather than payment so you must give them feedback as part of your commitment to receiving designs.

  • You make a good point about inexperienced designers. It is better to do something for nothing than do nothing at all. Some people are so passionate about design that they would do it for free. Considering the many other undesirable career opportunities available, you can't blame them for their hustle. So even though the work they are doing, technically goes to waste (or purchased at a bargain price), at least they have a portfolio of work examples or experience driving them in the right direction. – John Apr 9 '14 at 13:33
  • @John but it's not a very useful portfolio. Design portfolios are examples of solving problems for clients. That doesn't happen when you work for crowdsourcing sites. The only problem you solve is that the client doesn't have money to pay for a real design solution. And in terms of future employment, telling an art director that "this was a bunch of stuff I did at a crowdsourcing site that no one picked" isn't going impress them. – DA01 Apr 9 '14 at 14:47
  • @DA01 I agree, but for a kid with nothing, it is better than nothing. Personally when I look at portfolios, I don't cross reference whether the logos match the current ones that company is using. Having a bunch of logo work there, regardless it's fate in the crowdsource, looks just like a normal hire job to me. Also, I don't hold much weight in a clients ability to choose the best logo. They choose what they like which is obviously subjective. The portfolio pieces should be viewed for what they are, not whether they were previously judged best by someone with no design knowledge. – John Apr 9 '14 at 15:10
  • @John well, when I interview, I don't care so much about the logo itself, but the process that was taken to get to it. I want to understand the design process that happened to get to a solution. The catch with a crowdsourced logo (whether the client picked it or not) is that there wasn't a proper design process. So I'd argue it's not much value as a portfolio piece (other than maybe showing off some rendering skills, but they don't need a crowdsourcing logo to show that.) I'd get much more out of a conversation about student work than crowdsourcing work. IMHO, of course. – DA01 Apr 9 '14 at 15:40

99Designs is a racket. Their commission rates are 30-45%, and inversely proportional to the project price- i.e larger projects = higher rates. (Compare to Elance at 6.75-8.57%).


I haven't used it myself (yet), but the logos for Stack Overflow and Server Fault were done at 99designs: http://99designs.com/users/245023

Actually, one of the reasons I proposed this site was so that I could improve my design skills and do my own designs instead of paying for them at 99designs.


I, like many, have dabbled in spec/crowdsourcing work (notice the past tense). The problem for designers are legion. There is a website http://www.no-spec.com/ that perfectly illustrates the points designers try to make in against spec work, so I won't delve into that any further as DA01 made that point earlier. :)

But, as that is not really the question, I've had some good experiences in the past with Pim Tim, they are not as large as 99designs but that means their team is also flexible.

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