Ugly. My design attempts are ugly. Like a smashed crab, beaten with ugly stick. My grade 9 art teacher, Miss Sprot tried to teach me all about aesthetically pleasing design. Unfortunately, design was like girls. Just because I knew which girls looked great, didn't mean I get hem to be my girlfriend.
I wanted aesthetic design so I found help...
Design competitions are Fun
Usually, I prefer training and keeping in house employees. I make exceptions when it comes to design. The only way you can review 100's of creative ideas from many talented designers, within a number of days and for zero cost, is by hosting a design competition.
Make me want to lick the screen
Remember how Steve Jobs once said that his new O.S. made him want to lick the screen? (I didn't care. I'm a PC.) That's how I want to feel when I review the submissions for my design competitions on 99Designs. I use 4 tips to help do this.
1. Motivate the top designers
You want the very best designers to enter your competitions. A large prize helps, but you also need to motivate them. If there is a chance there may be future work for the designer. Say so. They like this. If the winning design will receive good exposure on a popular website or signage, say so. Good Designers know this is impressive for their portfolio.
New website design for CarHire.com.au
The Competition: http://99designs.com/contests/20132
2. Leave lots of feed back
The competitors need to know if they're on the right track. Give feedback at least once a day.
Design a logo for CaptainCompare
The Competition: http://99designs.com/contests/25547
This competition didn't actually receive many entries. Luckily with lots of feedback, it was rescued and a decent logo won the prize. As mentioned in Tip#1 the designer received extra work to design a super hero
3. Mention three Logo design rules
If the competition is for a logo, copy and paste these three rules in to your competition specifications. Makes a big difference.
ONE. must look good big and small
TWO. must work good in greyscale
THREE. keep it simple. No photos in the logo.
Case Study: Logo for RoadTripMania.com
The Competition: http://99designs.com/contests/28055
4. How do you want to feel when you see it?
Sing to yourself the M.J. song "The way you make me Feel" as you write down some words describe how you want to feel when you see the logo. eg. Fun, Safe, Dominating, Friendly, Happy, Trustworthy.
This makes it WAY easier for designers to know what you're looking for.
Case Study: Krow
I used words like "fun, happy, talkative". There was no winner in this contest since the project was put on hold. Therefore, I did not have to pay the $450 prize.
5. Bonus Tip: Invite recent winners
Invite recent winners of other competitions to submit an entry into yours.
These rules have helped me run design competitions on http://99designs.com
that are fun with results that have exceeded my wildest expectations.
If you're about to run a design competition, tell me about it so I can mention it here and tweet about it.