Leveraging Crowd Sourced Graphic Design

by / ⠀Startup Advice / April 24, 2011

crowdsourcing graphic design

We all know how “hot” the group buying discount industry is right now, but equally as popular is crowdsourcing business processes like graphic design. Once upon a time, businesses invested thousands of dollars in graphic design services to polish up their brand image; but the Internet has brought upon new pricing models and services. For example, take Netflix who used crowdsourcing to improve software algorithms offering customer video recommendations. The team or individual that achieves key software goals received $1 million. Whether you feel graphic design contests, and ultimately crowdsourcing is ethical or not, they undoubtedly can help your business.

Many critics of graphic design crowd sourcing claim it has diluted the industry and is unfair for graphic designers. How it works is businesses like crowdSPRING and 99 Designs employ a horde of graphic designers whom submit graphic design services for free. They are only paid by the company when they are awarded a project which makes their pay very unstable and based on competition. However with every critic is a proponent and businesses can definitely leverage crowdsourced design.


Obviously in conjunction with the sheer amount of designs you typically receive, cost is the main reason for crowdsourcing. If you own a startup business and you are looking for minimal cost graphic design around $250-$500, crowdsourcing is the way to go. Depending on the industry you operate in you can create a professional brand image with crowdsourcing graphic design. The ROI is there, if you are paying $500 for something you would have to pay $5,000 for, you are getting back more than you give.

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Crowdsourcing gives your business the ability to receive hundreds of different designs catered around your niche.  The great thing about this is, you can tailor your directions to be as specific or broad as necessary. If you are only looking for a logo polishing, you will receive a great deal of logos that are similar. However if you have no idea what you want with your graphic design service, you only know that you need a graphic designer, crowdsourcing is perfect to get your brain running. With this service model you are setting your budget internally and that is not necessarily a lever for quality. A $500 dollar graphic design project typically receives similar quality of designs as a $5,000, however the $5,000 project will receive much more entries.

Crowdsourcing graphic design is only the beginning; I’m envisioning a future where we are crowd sourcing social media strategy, business plans and advertising campaigns. According to Open Forum, Dell has crowdsourced a white paper, and the Institute for the Future crowdsourced a research project. Not only that companies like Trada are outsourcing ad campaigns, according to Forbes, “Many of these marketplaces and crowdsourcing companies are only a few years old and have taken advantage of the recession’s challenging employment environment. It’s hard to say yet whether people will want these jobs if they have the option of full-time employment. Also there’s a question of whether crowdsourcing helps customers arrive at the best solutions. Robertson says his teams of search engine optimizers have largely been beating customers’ expectations and helping Trada earn 20% margins on roughly $10 million of ad spending in 2010.” A natural predecessor to outsourcing, crowdsourcing may not be for everybody, but it definitely is allowing quality work to be done on low startup budgets. It gives jobs to the best designers within an industry, and more importantly shapes an industry.

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Matt Krautstrunk writes for Resource Nation, a service that provides expert advice on everything from business security systems to video surveillance purchase decisions.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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