Prize increased! Innovative logo for banking products!

That’s the headline of one of hundreds of design contests currently underway at 99designs.com.

The rest of the ad for this contest reads:

“There will be a number of banking products/services grouped into the ‘My Life My Money’ offering. Checking accounts, online bill pay, ATM, Credit Cards, etc. This is for a small credit union looking for a way to help younger people get into banking.”

The 99designs idea is simple. It’s kind of like “reality TV” meets “logo design.” If you need a logo (any design, actually), you go there and post a brief description of what you’re after along with how much you’re willing to pay. According to the site, there are “13,357 talented designers” ready to fight over 483 contests paying anywhere from $100 up to $700 .

This “My Life My Money” contest drew 104 entries in about a week (view them here). The top three finalists (see below) – as picked by the contest holder – were presented to the credit union’s marketing team last Thursday.

Reality Check: Out of 104 entries, about 100 of them are really weak. Even the final three aren’t all that great.

The person sponsoring the design contest for this Gen-Y banking logo has held six such contests. One of them was for Ultimate Financial Services, which received 116 entries. The winning design (shown right) received $150.

Reality Check: Designers submitting entries into contests at sites like 99designs are recycling their ideas over and over in multiple contests for multiple clients. Don’t be surprised if medical imagery or sports iconography creeps its way into the logo for your checking product. Also don’t be surprised if/when you see those logos used by someone else someday.

Bottom Line:

  • You know the adage, “You get what you pay for.” But hey, it’s only $200.
  • This isn’t “strategic design.” If you come up empty handed, you have to start from scratch.

Serious designers will tell you that this is the worst approach one could ever take to develop a new logo, but if you’re a marketer with almost zero dollars in your budget, then why wouldn’t you give it a whirl?

For Discussion: What do you think? Is this a good way to get ideas for a logo project, or not?

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