Within seconds of handing out my business card to Joel, he pointed to our logo and uttered, “I really like that”. Yet, it threw him off-guard when I added, “I crowdsourced it”. The logo for Mojo40 — you know that delightful, conceptual smiley face that’s up in the left corner? I casually announced, “We paid $269 for it and selected it from 105 entries worldwide.”
He answered without missing a beat (as he handed his card to me), “I paid $500 for mine.” But, dear readers, his logo was utterly forgettable.
Why pay for 1 designer when you can get 100 for the same price?
Even the most talented designer can have a tough time figuring out just the right design for you. Especially if you’re not sure what that design is yourself. Wouldn’t it be great if you could look at how 100 designers would do the job and just pay for the one you liked best? That’s crowdsourcing in a nutshell. You post a project, lots of designers give it their best shot, and then you just pay for the one you like best.
How to crowdsource a project
There are many crowdsourcing sites out there. Some of the more popular ones are 99designs.com and designcrowd.com. The most popular one, however, and the one we use ourselves is crowdspring.com. This is a jewel of a site for small businesses and they crowdsource much more than just designs. They also do content writing, websites, product design, and company naming. They have thousands of creatives participating from all over the world (although you can specify US only).
If you’re thinking about crowdsourcing a project or just want to see how it works, follow the steps below.
- Register at crowdspring.com (it’s free) and then take a look around to get a feel for how people describe their projects and how much they offer the winners. They have excellent FAQs, tips on how to describe your project , and how to include samples. Read those before diving into any projects.
- Decide how much you want to pay. The lowest starts at $200. The higher your award amount, the more designers will enter work for your project.
- Offer thoughtful and specific feedback to every person who submits an entry. The sooner the better. The feedback will be public so the other designers can get a better feel for what you like. Plus, this feedback may be the only psychological payment they get.
- Make sure that the duration of the contest goes beyond the weekend. Many freelance artists and writers work on evenings and weekends.
- Go into the portfolios of members, and invite them to take a look at your contest and submit something. This is especially necessary if you are offering compensation on the low end (like we did). Inviting people not only strokes their egos, but it also gets them excited about your project.
- As you rate entrants, keep in mind that someone who sends you a revision (or two or three) is looking for their ratings to go up. If at all possible, try to be positive and give them very specific feedback on which aspects you liked the most. Unless the revision was a slap dash effort, be nice and encourage them with a higher mark.
- At the end, take a few days to think on it. Select the top 4-6 entries and consult with your friends and trusted network. In our case, while there were varying opinions of what’s the favorite, one design over time definitely stood out among the others. Thanks Janisa.
Other great crowdsourcing sites:
- For great videos, check out PopTent.net. They have incredible work. I saw that one featured cinematographer (who had won a GEICO contest) lives close by. So I did the Mojo thing and met him for coffee. We now have a great resource for our future video projects.
- For more information about how to crowdsource financing, ideas, and just about everything else check out 48 Ways to Crowdsource Everything.
- Want to try the other side? Here’s Mashable’s 18 Ways to Make Money Crowdworking.
- Even if you aren’t currently thinking about crowdsourcing a project, check out crowdspring.com so you can see why it’s such a big deal
- If you’re a small business or a blogger in need of a logo, skip the one designer route and try crowdsourcing
- If you’re an employee, do your homework and research the right crowdsourcing site for the type of challenges your firm typically faces. Then, at the right opportunity, suggest crowdsourcing for your next video/ online project/ new product idea.
Got some other tips about crowdsourcing? Questions? Spill below in comments.
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