How To Run A Successful Design Contest

Matthew Magain

Conceptualist LogoSahar Sarid of conceptualist.com knows how to run a design contest.

Last week he announced the winner of the $2,500 prize money offered via the logo design contest that he ran at SitePoint (the winner was John Wik for this entry).

It’s interesting to look at the process that Sahar followed, as the contest holder, to ensure that he was getting value for money in return for the prize on offer. For example:

  • He offered a large cash prize, guaranteeing that the best designers from the community would take notice. In fact, this was the largest prize awarded for a single design contest to date.
  • He was clear and detailed in his initial brief.
  • He was prompt and thorough in giving feedback to each designer’s submission. In fact, 576 of the 745 feedback posts were Sahar’s — as were many of the 212 comments for the contest — totaling 313,872 characters or about 52,000 words!
  • He insisted on being part of the process. This is one factor that many detractors of design contests cite as being a failing in on-spec work: that client communication is taken out of the loop, resulting in lower quality work. By requesting that each designer include their rationale for each submission, he was engaging them in a discussion about how and why a certain concept was a good fit, and could work with the designer to help shape and refine the idea.
  • He promoted the contest on his own site, with various blog posts reporting on the status of the contest. In fact, there was so much interest in the outcome that others started making YouTube videos about it!
  • He offered a referral bonus of $1,250 to encourage other designers to sign up and submit their concept.

Of course, many contest holders may not have the budget that Sahar had — or do they? If you were to view the prize as a marketing expense, then the exposure as a viral campaign that Sahar got for his site in exchange for his marketing dollars was probably far better than he would have received via more conventional efforts!

Certainly an approach worth thinking about for future contest holders.

By the way, those interested in the evolution of the SitePoint Design Contests, including information on features continually being added to enhance usability, protect designers and more should follow the SitePoint Dev Blog.

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  • 2MHost.com

    I see there is no way to submit a logo contest for prize over $500 in sitepoint!!!

  • http://www.yogler.net Yogler

    That was very wise of Sahar. I think many of us are tempted to say, “Oh, I don’t have that kind of budget,” and ignore this post, but every single one of us can follow the rest of his strategy. Good stuff.

  • Lachlan

    2MHost.com, I’m not sure why you would think that, why would we limit prize money on contests?

  • http://www.tyssendesign.com.au Tyssen

    If you were to view the prize as a marketing expense, then the exposure as a viral campaign that Sahar got for his site in exchange for his marketing dollars was probably far better than he would have received via more conventional efforts!

    You’re probably right in this case because he came up with the idea first but I can see similar returns decreasing over time if more people were to jump on the bandwagon because the concept would then lose its novelty factor.

  • 2MHost.com

    Lachlan: I tried to create a contest for a logo, I see the maximum amount to spend is $500 .. check yourself!

    http://contests.sitepoint.com/newlisting/details
    “The prizes being offered for contests in this category range from $100 to $500″

    in fact, spending $2500 to get attention of this number of webmaster is good if compared with what we pay for regular ads + we will get a logo :)

  • http://www.sitepoint.com Mark Harbottle

    2MHost. The prizes being offered currently range from $100 to $500 however you can offer any amount you like as long as it’s more than the minimum (in this case $100). You can offer $2,500 as these guys did. Try it.

  • Pin

    Sahar’s feedback is the most important prize for those who didn’t win the contest, bravo!

  • Xaner

    The prizes being offered by Sahar was a huge. I think most of contest holders not able to pay such a huge amount. The amount range lies in between 200$ to 500$. But the rest of strategy is very good.

  • Mariah

    It’s unfortunate that Sahar’s new logo is nearly unrecognizable on his site. Now, he needs to have a contest for a site redesign.