Crowdsourcing is a new tool in the entrepreneur's arsenal. According to Wikipedia, the term crowdsourcing first appeared in a Fast Company article in 2006. The term is defined as:
the act of sourcing tasks traditionally performed by specific individuals to a group of people or community (crowd) through an open call.
For entrepreneurs this provides an amazing opportunity to tap into a global pool of talent for everything from designing your Web site to designing a tee shirt to creating your logo at very affordable prices. Platforms have emerged to manage the process of crowd-sourcing and savvy startups are using them to move quickly with a splash of style.
Today we spotlight one such crowdsourcing platform in 99 Designs. 99Designs is one of the original leaders in crowdsourcing and has provided businesses with over 50,000 designs. While they started out with logos, 99Designs can now be used to help design:
- Web sites
- Wordpress themes
- Stationary and business cards
- Tee Shirts
- Banner Ads
I've used 99Designs in the past and they provide a well managed process which moves along very quickly. If you need a design in a pinch, they provide a great solution for startups. Starting at just $99, the price point grows as more designers and more customization is added. However, entire Wordpress themed sites can be designed and built for $595.
In our work with entrepreneurs, finding good Wordpress themes has become a pressing issue. 99Designs gives you a professional platform, backed by a money-back satisfaction guarantee to ensure you are satisfied with your design and project. Given the challenges in finding quality designers who can deliver, this is a terrific option to consider.
The process is straightforward. You fill out a brief detailing information about your Company and what you're looking for. After you determine how much you're willing to pay and set a time duration, you post your contest and designers submit their designs. This is the most exciting part of the process as you get to see the various directions you can take your logo. Tip: Provide feedback from the beginning by rating the designs, disqualify designers who are not providing the type of work you're looking for and answer questions as soon as possible. The more engaged you are during the process, the more likely you'll receive something you're happy with.
Are there any drawbacks to crowdsourcing approaches like 99Designs? Sure. As with anything, there are pros and cons. Designers may recycle some of their design concepts to get started quickly. After all, to make 99Designs work for them, they have to bid on several projects. That means you may end up with designs that aren't 100% unique to your business. To combat this, be viligent about checking their previous designs and ratings.
If you are hoping to build an intimate, long-term working relationship with your designer, then the arms-length process managed by 99Designs might not work as well for you. The designers are mostly anonymous, which is necessary to make the 99Designs business model work.
For most startups, these tradeoffs are minor compared to the advantage of inexpensive, professional quality design that a 99Designs project can provide. Check 99Designs out and see how they can help you get started on your brand.
Disclaimer: 99Designs is an affiliate marketing partner of CheapRevolution.com that provides advertising revenue to this blog.