Don’t know your CMYK from RGB or your typefaces from fonts?
For anyone who doesn’t “speak design” (which is about all of us!), the prospect of managing a major design project like logo development can seem overwhelming and downright intimidating.
For those of us lucky enough to work for a company with a seemingly endless budget, you can afford to hire a major design firm. They’ll handle your logo creation, color palette, and typeface selection, and all the different design elements that will go into creating your brand identity.
The trouble is that for the rest of us who are solo-prenuers or work at a small business startup, hiring a major design firm is often times a financial no-go.
Your solution: crowdsource your logo.
Crowdsourcing is the practice of outsourcing ideas by soliciting contributions for a large group or online community. Don’t confuse it with freelancing. While hiring a freelance designer is certainly cheaper than a major design firm, a freelancer is still similar to a design firm. You pay a retainer, receive a set number of options, and are limited for the number of revisions.
Crowdsourcing is quite different .
Most of us crowdsource every day and don’t even realize it. Ever posted a question on Facebook or Twitter asking for restaurant recommendations or what folks thought about the latest summer blockbuster? Yep, you’re crowdsourcing!
I know what you’re thinking. When it comes to getting dinner recommendations or a yay/nay on the latest movie, the stakes are a lot lower. Suffer through a forgettable meal and you move on. But make a major blunder  on your logo design, and you’re not only wasted time and money but also you risk hurting your brand identity.
Many designers will argue that entrusting your brand’s future identity to a team of relative unknowns is risky, and they have a valid point. Working with a professional firm is certainly a valuable experience. But if you’re strapped for cash and just don’t have the funds to invest in design right now, one option for generating fresh ideas without breaking the bank is to crowdsource your logo.
Here’s why you should consider going straight to the (crowd) source for your next logo design.
Reasons to Crowdsource Your Logo
Stay Within Budget
Sure, you may dream about working with a Madison Avenue ad agency to build your brand, but if your budget can only afford the Microsoft clip art version of an ad agency, it’s time to think outside the box. Hiring a design firm can cost thousands of dollars ; most insist on a retainer prior to initiating work, which means you’re stuck paying for the final results whether or not you like them. Additionally, you may be limited to a fixed number of initial options or revisions. Crowdsourcing provides more variety at a much lower price point.
Expand Your Options
When you’re just getting started with your business, more options are better! Maybe you have a clear vision that your logo should be in the color green and contain a natural element (like a wave or a tree) but beyond that, you’re totally lost. With crowdsourcing, you submit a basic design brief that’s open to creative interpretation by designers. The result: hundreds of options you might otherwise have never considered.
Build Word-of-Mouth Buzz
When you crowdsource a design, you first get to review all the options. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful that you like, you can then invite friends and colleagues to vote on their favorite design. Post a link on Facebook or Twitter to get customers, clients and fans in on the voting. Not only do you benefit from a wide range of feedback outside your immediate bubble, but savvy businesses can also use this as a free PR opportunity.
While most design firms truly want the very best for their clients, sometimes firms will sacrifice good design in order to please a difficult client and secure future business. With crowdsourcing, designers are only concerned with presenting the very best options for the client; there’s no concern about retaining future work. This means that designers are free to think creatively in ways you might never have considered!
While there are certainly drawbacks to crowdsourcing – you may end up sorting through a hundred designs you hate! – If your business is on a budget, it’s undeniably the best option to source quality design. Plus, with some crowdsourcing platforms offering  a money-back guarantee, it’s definitely an option worth considering.
Colored Pencils  Photo via Shutterstock