How To Win Logo Design Contests: 5 Winning Strategies For Graphic Designers

Graphic designers know all about the hustle—it’s a tough industry to break into and, at first, can seem like a thankless task.

You need to build a reputation and get some real work experience under your name—which is why logo designs contests, like 99designs, are so enticing for newcomers.

These contests can totally work: they’re basically a big “Now Hiring” sign, but it’s been estimated that you have only a 7% to 9% chance of winning any single one. Read on to learn how to increase your odds of winning your new logo contest.

As a small business owner myself with years of experience building things up from scratch, I know how precious your time and work is—who wants to invest countless hours on a contest you might lose?

Well, take it from the experts: there are some great strategies you can deploy right now to ramp up your likelihood of success and start acquiring the reputation—and money—you deserve.

#1. Pick Your Battles—And Your Contests—Wisely

Part of the appeal of a logo design contest is its “freeness”—in other words, the fact that it usually costs nothing to enter (other than your blood, sweat, and tears).

This means you can technically just Google “logo design contest” and start mass-spamming entries—but this is a flawed approach.

Being reserved and selective is the much more effective strategy for being successful in logo design contests and not working yourself into the ground. The reason for this is simple: we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Some contests will demand certain qualities and features that are a natural match for your talents, while others might not. Signing up, creating a design, and submitting it to a competition that doesn’t want your creations could be a massive waste of your time and talent.

Instead, before signing up, take a moment and assess your strengths.
Are you better at creating cleaner corporate-style logos? Or is your skill naturally directed at more gritty and unofficial designs?
Understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and passions will allow you to determine the best contests to enter. Then, you can direct your energy more efficiently and confidently knowing that the odds are much more stacked in your favor.

Another quick tip is to take “invitations” with a grain of salt. As exciting as it might feel to get that sudden invite to contribute your design, don’t forget that some of these could be nothing but mass spam invites. It’s easier to welcome in designers than it is to design the concept, so be more selective.

#2. Stand Out In Newer Contests

Imagine you’re looking for a designer and just launched your contest. Within a few days, you’ve received dozens of logos, and you might have already fallen in love with one of them. How much consideration will be given to a design submitted on the final day?

The truth is, your odds will likely dwindle the longer a contest drags on, so consider searching for newer ones with fewer entries. This way, you’re more likely to stand out and create a fresh impact in the host’s mind.

Dozens, maybe hundreds of logos might flood their inbox, and after a while, they might even grow tired of the whole process. Don’t let poor timing and oversaturation ruin your odds of success.

Many online logo contest websites provide simple sorting tools to search for competitions with the fewest entries or the most recent start date. These can be invaluable in helping you find what works exactly for you.

#3. Know Your Enemy—Or Client

Knowing your enemy is a principle of war, and although your client is practically a savior in your eyes, you need to understand who they are and what they want.

Focus in on the contest briefing—this is the precise roadmap they set up with the concept they had in mind. Be sure you understand it thoroughly and aren’t misinterpreting anything.

Industry research is also key: look into your client’s business and industry. What are other top competitors up to? What norms in style, tone, and professionalism do you notice?

Though, as important as industry research is, be sure to stay original, too, if that what the client wants.

#4. Be Bold And Stand Out

In some instances, you may be able to see which designs submitted by others were favored by the client. One temptation at this point would be to emulate their style—but think twice. Instead of impressing the client you may end up just reinforcing the original favorited concept (since so many other designers are emulating it).

Sometimes, if you want to stand out, you have to, well, stand out! The best way to be bold is to do something different—it may be polarizing, but in this case catching the host’s attention with a great, unique design is better than camouflaging with everyone else’s.

#5. Create Quick Rough Drafts

It’s quite common for a rough prototype to win a contest—it’s just a fact of dealing with clients who don’t have the keen eye for perfection that you graphic designers do.

Thus, one major consideration is to focus less on perfection and more on speed, since this will get you submitted faster and might capture a host’s eye while it’s still fresh.

One great strategy is to use your speed and extra time to create numerous logo concepts. Additionally, it will allow you to hear client feedback quickly, giving you invaluable insight into what they crave most.

Good Luck And Stay Persistent!

Logo design contests are a dime a dozen yet remain priceless gateways for up and coming designers.

There’s a lot of strategies to consider, especially if you’re strapped for time. Using the tips above can help ramp up your productivity and success rate, giving you the work experience needed while establishing a rewarding client network.

About The Author

Marsha Kelly is a serial entrepreneur who has done time in corporate America, selling her first business for more than a million dollars. She has learned what products and services work in business today, and she shares her experiences on her best4Business blog at https://best4businesses.com/. You can learn from her experiences from shopping the internet for tools, supplies, and information to build your business and improve your finances.