99designs and Amazon. Design. Crowd sourced.

A week or so ago my Dad asked if we could have our designer put together a logo for him. Unfortunately, our guy was buried under a mound of work and generally couldn’t help us out. We haven’t always had the best luck with Craigslist so I was ready to try something new.

Over the last few months, I’ve been seeing a good amount of chatter surrounding “spec” design sites especially 99designs.com. After taking a look around the site I figured now was a good time to give it a shot. We were on a tight budget, tight time line, and my Dad didn’t have much direction for the logo.

I posted up a contest last Sunday here and we were looking at entries by Monday afternoon. Now things got more difficult. We were having a hard time coming up with “star ratings” and constructive feedback in general. My Dad’s staff was having a hard time not getting pigeon holed by the submitted designs and Setfive wasn’t doing a great job helping them along.

We did our best and we felt like the entries were moving in the right direction. Then the contest closed. In the last 8 hours of the contest the number of entries nearly doubled. With 70 entries we now had the problem with objectively picking a winning logo.

At this point, I wanted some more input on what people thought about the logos. I decided to create a set of Amazon Mechanical Turk tasks to get some feedback.

After about a day, I had 200 responses asking for user’s top three logos and any additional comments they had.

Some of the comments I got back were insightful and moving:

  • Don’t pick any of the logos on the second page. They all look terrible.
  • Due to nature of your business I would prefer a sober and serious looking logo.
  • I chose these three because they are visually appealing, and convey a sense of being able to ease pain.
  • I suffer from cronic pain. I wish you the best of luck in finding your logo. People that do your type of work are a life line for people like me. Hope I hope have helped.

I tallied up the results by weighting +3, +2, +1 for first, second, and third choices respectively. The results were interesting.

  • Every logo received at least one vote.
  • The top ten logos accounted for just about 41% of all the votes.
  • Only counting the top choice caused 3 logos to fall out of the top ten.

The top ten logos as voted by the Amazon Mechanical Turks were:

Entry ID Votes URL




























Personally, I like the top ten logos and my Dad’s staff seems to like many of the same logos that were voted up. It’s been an interesting experiment almost exclusively using the “crowd” to design and then select a logo. I’m not sure if we’ll use 99designs in the future but it has been a pleasant experience.

We still haven’t picked a winning logo but I’ll update once we do!


We finally picked a winner! We decided to go with the crowd and selected http://99designs.com/contests/24619/entries/88 as the winning logo.

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