10 Tips for a Successful Design Project

The crowdspring creatives are an amazing group. Coming from more than 170 countries, speaking hundreds of languages, covering all age groups, demographics, and religions, they've created graphics designs for companies in virtually every country of the world and in most languages spoken on Earth.

We invited a team of our top creatives to collaborate with us on this guide for crowdspring clients. 


The creative process can be a challenging experience - especially if you're not a creative yourself. We've written this guide to help clients acheive the most successful design project possible. Read on to learn our top ten tips for a successful design project...


1. Write a Strong Project Brief

Your project brief can make or break your project. We can't stress this enough. A good project brief gives creatives the information they need to succeed. An engaging brief is often more compelling to creatives than an interesting topic or a big award.

Remember that creatives have limited time and can't work on every project. So make sure your project stands out with a strong project brief.

To learn more about how to make your project brief the best it can be, check out this FAQ.


2. Score all Entries

Score early and score often! Your star ratings help to guide the creatives in the right direction, so getting started early means you'll get the best results from your project. Scoring all entries also improves your feedback rating - a metric that many creatives use to decide if they'll participate in a project. A higher feedback rating leads to more (and higher quality) entries.

When scoring, try to score all entries. Remember that creatives will learn a great deal from the star ratings you assign. If you don't score entries, you send the message that you don't value your project or the creatives' time and effort. 

And, please remember that it's more important to be honest than nice. Don't throw high scores around like candy. If you don't like a design, rate it with only 1 or 2 stars. Reserve high scores of 4 or 5 stars only for the entries you really, really like. This is especially true early in a project. Giving high scores early in a project - unless truly merited - will discourage watching creatives and turn them away.

To learn more about star ratings and entry feedback, click here.


3. Set a Fair Award

The award you give your project will generally dictate the quality and number of entries. The amount of your award(s) is a signal to creatives about how much you value your project and how much you value the work they put in to provide you with outstanding designs. And, remember that these creatives have chosen to work pro-bono in the hope that they will be chosen and paid. Offer them a fair award in exchange for taking that risk.

If you're not sure what a fair award is, you can browse through Explore to see the awards other clients have offered in similar projects. And if your budget allows, offer amounts you think are fair and reasonable. Adding a second and third award for runner-ups will encourage more work and will give you more choices!

For more information about project awards, click here.


4. Learn from Other Projects

Explore other projects on the site. You can search for other projects like yours using the filtering tools on the right side of the screen. 

Take note what you do and don't like, find creatives who's work you like and invite them to your project. When inviting a creative, tell them which of their works you've liked and why - it will help them provide you with outstanding designs in your project.

Click here to learn how to invite creatives to your project.


5. Provide Constructive Feedback

If you want great results, provide timely constructive feedback by leaving entry comments. A creative can't design for your vision without your input.

Providing feedback to your entries - even those that you don't like - benefits you in two ways.

First, creatives will iterate and improve their entries to help you find your perfect design.

Second, creatives will learn a great deal from your feedback. Remember that while you select one or two winners, the remaining creatives are not compensated for the work they do.  Help them to learn and improve by giving them constructive feedback whenever possible.

While honesty is important, remember to provide feedback on what you do like as well as what you don't like about an entry. It's easy to focus only on what is wrong; but, letting the creatives know what they're doing right let's them know what elements to keep in their next design revision.

Click here to learn how to provide entry feedback.


6. Focus on the Right Details at the Right Time

Don't get caught up in details before they are relevant.

When your project is for logo design, for example, don't get caught up in colors. Creatives can easily customize colors to your liking within seconds, but a complete design concept takes a lot of hard work and brainstorming. The overall concept and design are what you should consider when comparing entries.

Details like color iterations, font changes, and small visual adjustments can be discussed during the project wrap-up after you've awarded your favorite design. Focus on the concept and overall execution when choosing which entry to award. You can always negotiate details later in the Proof phase of your project wrap-up.

For a complete walk-through of the wrap-up process, check out our "Illustrated Guide to Design Wrap-up".


7. Keep an Open Mind

Unless you have a very specific design concept in mind, try to remain open to ideas outside of any specific imagery or concepts you may have included in your project brief. crowdspring gives you the opportunity to draw on the talents and experience of thousands of creatives, so be open to the ideas they present.

While it's great to come in to the process with a vision, you could be missing out on many other terrific concepts, one of which may be perfect for you! If you're set on something specific, consider describing what you want but inviting creatives to submit other ideas.

If you're not getting what you want, make sure to provide feedback and give further direction. 

And, finally, if you know exactly what you want, consider one of crowdspring's Elite or 1-to-1 projects instead of a tradtional crowdsourced project.


8. Don't Fall Victim to "Committeecide"

The committee process (often a series of compromises over the final look and feel of a design) frequently produces a result that's as mushy and bland as cafeteria mashed potatoes. "Bland" is the last thing you want your logo to be.

Pick a group of 2-3 (no more than that) people whose opinions you really trust. Consider knowledgeable people from outside of your company as well as inside. Get their input, and then weigh it against your own thoughts. Then make your decision. Which leads to…

You're the client. Don't let peers or the designer coerce you into a choice you're not comfortable with. Feel free to ask creatives why they've designed something in a particular way, why they've suggested certain color combinations, etc. You've taken the time to write a good creative project brief - ask them to do the same to explain why their design is great! Then make the choice that feels right to you. 


9. Consider Printing Logistics

Take printing costs into consideration, if you plan to print your logo. 

Designs featuring color effects like gradients display beautifully on the web. But, they are far more expensive to print than flat colors. So, ask your creatives to see versions in flat colors (that are cheaper to print), too.  

Be aware that the more colors are involved in the design, the more expensive it will be to print. So, you may want to consider requesting a version of your design with fewer colors for printing.

Insist on Vector AI and EPS files with your final files so that you can scale the design larger or smaller for crisp, professional-looking prints. 


10. Remember the Wrap-up Process

Remember that you'll have an opportunity to tweak your awarded design during the project wrap-up.

If there are any small changes you want to make to your awarded design, request these changes during Step 2 of wrap-up. This is the Proofs step.

After implementing your requested changes, the creative will submit new proofs (usualy in JPG or PDF file formats) showing the changes. Only approve the proof once you are happy with the design.

The next step is final files during which the creative will submit all of the necessary file types to you. Approving the final files releases the creative's payment, so please don't forget to approve the files.

In a nutshell, focus on the designs' concepts during the project. Then take care of the execution details and final tweaks during wrap-up. The design doesn't have to be perfect when the project closes - you'll have the chance to address small details and perfect the design after it has been awarded.

For a complete walk-through of the wrap-up process, check out our "Illustrated Guide to Design Wrap-up".



Many thanks to the following talented creatives working on crowdspring for their collaborative effort to bring this guide to you: 



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