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Using a Logo Contest to Brand Your New Firm: Part 2

Monday, May 14, 2012

By Jan A. Glassman, Esq., Founder and co-owner of Daily General Counsel, PLLC

The following is the second installment of our April 20 post on using online crowdsourcing to find a professional firm logo.

Monday Night, April 16, 2012

By 11 pm we have more than 200 entries, from all over the world.  We are thrilled to have such a tremendous response, but it is daunting at the same time.  Although some designers submit only one or two designs, there are a handful of designers who are submitting multiple designs each day - often with variations on the same theme. As soon as we sit down to compare the submissions, my eyes glaze over and I am falling asleep. With extreme effort, we pour over the submissions.  For me, this is torture, and wine doesn’t help.  We are not impressed enough to rank any of them highly.  We mark almost every design with one of the 2 generic choices – “has elements we like” or “not interested.”   We narrow those still in the running down to 20 or so.  We rank a few, but only in the 5th to 10th places.  There are two days left in the contest.  We expect a surge in submissions.  Why did I think this would be easy?  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The designers are paying close attention to the nuances in our selections.  This is gratifying, in light of the effort we are making.  The designers are replicating a feature or two from those that survived the recent cuts, and then expanding the concept into something original.  As far as we know, there have not been any disputes among the designers claiming infringement.  The quality seems to be improving.  By day’s end, we have another 75 submissions, so once again we sit down to review the choices and narrow the field of viable designs.  As soon as I log onto our home page to begin the review process, I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall of overwhelming fatigue.  There are not enough lemon jelly beans or caffeine in the world to keep me awake.  We slug through them.  Perhaps it would be better to do this work during the business day, instead of at the end of the day.  We made the decision at the outset that we would work on the logo “after hours.”  In the middle of the workday, this is more fun and easily could become a black hole for procrastination.   I’m beginning to rethink this premise, because these late night review sessions are killing me. We cut many.  Overall, we have reduced the 300 designs down to 15.  We remove all rankings, as our preferences are shifting.  Any of the 15 may be selected.  With one day left, we post a message to the designers to let them know that the 15 remaining designers all have a shot.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The contest ends today.  We spend the day with our first client and forego the opportunity to have one last interaction with the designers.  Today we received 165 new submissions.  The task of choosing will be difficult, but we have 14 days to make a decision.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It’s time to call in the reserves.  We send out a mass mailing to friends and family, explaining the process and asking them to go on line and give us feedback.  We decide to hold off on further cuts until we hear back from them. 

Be careful what you wish for! When family weighs in, you never know where it will go.  Cousin Steve, an “A” player in the ad business, posts strong, harsh criticism.  He dislikes crowdsourcing and the designs submitted in our contest, but he agrees that $600 is cheap.  The criticism shows up on Facebook as well.  Great.  Now others are agreeing that the current pool of designs is too commercial and lacking an object that identifies and connects with our business. We don’t like any of the top choices selected by friends and family.  Son-in-law David wants us to revive an earlier design that we had rejected.  We take his suggestion seriously and it is back in the running.  Cousin Steve offers his expertise.  Awesome! We take him up on the offer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The friends and family critiques turn to unsolicited criticism of our new web page!  We postpone that issue.   Too much rejection for one day.  Seven days left to complete our judging.  We begin to think about asking for an extension of time to judge and decide.  If we extend the time, we prolong our pain.  Need to get this done.  We wait for feedback from the pro. 

Monday, April 30

Cousin Steve is now more receptive to crowdsourcing, takes an interest in our project, and reviews all submissions, including those previously rejected.  He likes the more avant-garde designs and those with any object that relates to any business (not just ours).  We remain stymied.   We have 2 days left to make a decision.  If we fail to choose and we do not seek an extension, then the designers get to choose.  Not a viable solution for us 

Tuesday, May 1

We opt for an extension on the judging period.   We request an additional 7 days.  We think we are getting an extension for the decision.  Instead, the contest has been extended 5 more days.  Here we go again.   The contest now ends on Monday, May 7.  New entries are trickling in.   By the end of the evening, we have 20 more and we have a total of 485.  We notice for the first time that one of the surviving entries was “bombed,” which means that the particular graphic designer lost a logo dispute based on alleged copyright infringement.  The Logomyway people have replaced the picture of the logo with a picture of a bomb with a lit fuse.  We cannot get any more information on the dispute.

Wednesday, May 2

Only a few more entries.  Still under 500.  Although the vast majority of the designs do not fit our particular specs, I am impressed with the quality of the artwork.  As I stare at the designs in my caffeine-deprived state, I see: fish, an upside Twitter egg, pumpkin pie, the roof of a house, a globe, a racecar, sunshine day care (we asked for youthful but not that young!), a bowling ball, a political campaign button, a movie reel, a pinwheel, a postage stamp, a morning news show, robots, pyramids, umbrellas, fancy door handles from an Asian restaurant, an overnight delivery service, modern art, a “for sale” sign, a fence, and a staffing agency. My imagination knows no limit!

Thursday, May 3

We have a conference call with Cousin Steve.   He likes son-in-law Dave’s choice, too.   We want a logo that is distinctly different than a design that a law firm would use, because we are anything but a typical law firm.   By the end of day, we are up to 550.  We struggle through the new submissions.  The review process takes twice as long as it should, because I keep falling asleep.  I bring out the jelly beans and Diet Coke, and we knock down the list to 6.  We send private emails to each of the remaining 6 designers, with pertinent comments.  I am encouraged that we will have a winner.

Saturday , May 5

We are up to 580.

Sunday, May 6

Another 30 came in overnight, so we start the day at 610.  By the end of the day, we have 668 submissions.  Shoot me now.  We slug through and get rid of many.

Monday, May 7

It is mid-morning.  The magic number is now 714.  We are trying to get work done, but the contests ends in 6 hours and this is our last chance to send back any comments or suggestions if we want to get a turnaround from any designers before the contest closes.  In the past 10 minutes, it has gone up to 730.  Good thing it’s going to close.  The submissions are flying in.   With 5 hours left, we have 754 entries.   We leave for a meeting with 2 hours left, and we are up to 780.  While we are out, the contest closes with 795 designs.  Time to circle back and bring in Cousin Steve again.  We have 14 days to decide.   This must end.

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