6 Tips to a Successful Contest – 99Designs.com
99Designs is a website that gives you access to the creative minds and skills of 75,000+ (as of 2010) identity, web, print, graphic, and merchandise designers. It works like this: you post a “contest” that is available to thousands of designers who compete for your “prize-money” by submitting design entries based upon your needs. The designer that you choose who has the best design, is awarded the money. Simple right? If you don’t like anything that was submitted, then there is a 100% money back guarantee — but in my opinion, that’s your own fault.
To help make the process most effective, I’ve put together a few simple tips and tricks based on my experiences in having a great logo made for my product, the Fiesta5. Whether you need a logo, web, icon, t-shit, stationary, or banner ad design; or even a professional looking twitter background, WordPress theme, or Quickbooks form— most anything can be done in 7 days.
6 Tips to a Sucessful Contest:
1) Don’t Eliminate, Give Ratings & Feedback to the designs as they come in. In the beginning, it’s more constructive to offer feedback on what you like versus don’t like, rather than simply eliminating a design off the bat.
2) Build Rapport with designers from the beginning (make them like you). This goes a long way throughout the contest and especially after you’ve picked a winner. It can increase the number of modifications a designer is willing to do, and also their response time in getting back to you. The easiest way to do this is to give timely feedback and tell them what they are doing well. Everyone likes to hear that they are doing a good job. Consider using the Criticism Sandwich.
3) Continually Update The Contest Briefing as you learn what features you like/don’t like. This helps keep the instructions clear for any new contestants coming in late to the contest. New designers will enter your contest until the very last day. Also, be sure to add to your briefing that any new designer should read the public comments before getting started. It’s a pain seeing a new entry, mid-contest, that completely disregarded everything posted in the public comments and strictly went by the briefing.
4) Use Public Feedback to reference individual designs and point out what you like and don’t like. This way, you are not repeating yourself to each designer. More importantly, post your thoughts and ideas here. Often times you will come up with a new idea or concept that no one has tried. Post it publicly and say that you would like to see someone try it and offer “bonus points” to those that do. You can’t really give out points, but put a little extra time in with the designer who goes out on a limb.
5) Use Private Feedback to add a more personal touch. Make each designer feel that if they make the changes you request, then they will be your favorite. Be honest and let them know who they are competing against — it will help keep them submitting revisions. After all, it’s a contest, so feed their competitiveness.
6) Change Star Ratings until the bitter end. As new and multiple entries are submitted, keep the star ratings up to date. Even though you give something 5-stars doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Used in combination with the written feedback will help keep everyone working towards incorporating the features you like best.
As a testament to how important feedback is when posting a contest, here is a public post from one of the designers as my contest neared the end:
“I have to tell the contest holder that their consistent and helpful feedback is a blessing to us all. This is a textbook way a contest should be held. This person really knew what they wanted. What ever the decision is, I know they got their money’s worth too. Thanks again for the opportunity. Great Contest!”
Disclosure: Going into my contest, I had no idea what I wanted.
…May this serve you well.