Why Logo Auctions cost more in the long run.
Logo auctions and logo contests provide a simple and affordable way of getting a cheap logo, the problem is that they are as bad for the person that buys the logo as they are for the person that designs it. Typically how it works is that a customer will fill out a questionnaire and several designers (I use that term loosely) will take a shot at coming up with something that the customer will like, and occasionally one of these designers will come up with something that is acceptable to the customer; but as the saying goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once and awhile.
Why it’s bad for the customer.
Some of these customers only want or can only afford a clip-art style logo while others have visions of grandeur and think they are going to end up with a symphony for a song. The problem is that this is a volume game, and these designers all work on spec, they aren’t guaranteed a payday for the work they put in up front. So these guys aren’t apt to put much effort or thought into your project.
Some business owners think that a logo design is a reflection of their artistic sense and reflects their good taste and in these cases logo auctions make sense because they really want someone to bring their idea to life. However, a logo, while it might be artistic and have good aesthetic value, is a tool designed to do accomplish a specific task. Good logo designers understand this and will work with a customer to help them understand what they need instead of just giving the customer what they ask for.
Why these companies suck
Not to put too fine of a point on it but I mean that they literally suck, these guys are parasites in every sense of the word because they prey on naive customers and desperate designers. Their goal isn’t to design logos that serve their customer well, their goal is to take advantage of people that don’t understand what they are buying; and have no understanding as to the negative impact a poorly realized logo with have on their business. A good designer will take the time to understand the customers goals and work with them to design an effective logo that will help them accomplish their goals.
Why it matters to me
It’s certainly not because I’m losing business to these companies, these guys absolutely aren’t my competition, they churn out truckloads of crappy logos and well, I don’t churn out… I design. Their business model is to turn out a high volume at low prices. What this approach does is undermine the design industry and makes a highly specialized service into nothing more than a commodity. And a logo is no more a commodity than a persons face is. A well designed logo captures the essence of a company and is to a degree the face of your business. When you dress for a business meeting do you just throw on any old thing you have laying around or do you put your best face forward and dress for success. A logo isn’t just a pretty picture and it’s about much more than aesthetics; it is the outer appearance that reflects an inner image, it elicits an emotional response and conveys what kind of business you are… inside and out.
I honestly can’t count the number of times a business has come to me after going the logo auction route and I certainly understand the appeal of having dozens of designers at your beck and call doing a hundred plus designs for a couple hundred bucks; but ultimately what you get from logo auction isn’t the logo you want, or the logo you need… it’s the logo you settle for.