Topic: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

presbymergent, an organization of Presbyterians who are engaging the emerging church conversation, are sponsoring a logo design competition for our very small, beginning organization. We're offering some great prizes for the top five that are chosen by our users - very web 2.0 way of running a contest. We're offering some great books by Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren and $40 gift cards to Amazon and iTunes. We'd love to have your contributions to this contest! Thanks! More info here: … o-contest/

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

As the founder of Godbit (a title I don't invoke often, unless I feel the need to add weight to my argument) -- Let me strongly discourage Godbit readers from participating in this contest. Don't devalue your design services or debase yourself like that. Hold out for real, substantial work. This summarizes my thoughts on Presbymergent and design contests, in general...

Why doesn't Presbymergent approach a designer whose logo work they like, and hire him/her directly? The contest just makes Presbymergent seem cheap, and exudes the notion that they don't take their identity and branding seriously. Maybe they don't.

I'm not the only one who feels this way. Here are several articles written by Andy Rutledge on the topic... … igners.php

He even goes to so far as to warn businesses to stay away from designers who are willing to do spec work...

Give me liturgy or give me death.

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

WOW! a whole $40 to spend at Amazon or iTunes... Where do I sign up! This topic should be removed...

Daniel Marino |

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

@Dmarino -- I debated doing that, but I think it serves as teaching tool, about the nature of spec work. smile

Give me liturgy or give me death.

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

Daniel, I understand that this may not be worth it for you - but I ran one of these contests on my site a few years ago and had good response, and I think some folks from this site may have contributed as well. This may very well not be for you - but I figured a group of Christian designers may be willing to help out an up-and-coming Christian organization that is working for the church in today's world. Obviously, I'm aware of issues with NO!SPEC, but we're not a big company or organization that is going to make a profit off of someone's design work that is done for such little money --- we're just opening this up to folks since we're a very open-source, Christian community.

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

Should a comment be left on the competition's page? tongue

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

Nathan - if this is something that you wish to delete, I understand that. Being a designer myself, I can understand all of those issues that you addressed. The fact is that we are a very small, beginning organization with no funds. It was our hope that our logo could be something that came out of our community of folks, that it would have a very emerging, grass roots, organic feel to it. I also wanted to share the contest with some other design folks who were Christians, as they might have some ideas as well.

If you want to delete this, I understand. But I thought there might be some interest. I think some of you know Mike Rohde from rohdesign ( - he contributed to the last one that I did, and enjoyed the contest.

Again, I'm an only occasional user of this community, so if this really was offensive, feel free to do with it what you want.

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

@InfaredFrog -- No, please don't spam their comment form. smile

@cleave -- Nah, I'm not offended. In fact, it's not the notion of doing free work that I have a problem with. Over the past several years, I've done several sites for free, to help friends and various ministries. Here are a few examples... (Archived, no longer "online")

What troubles me is turning the design process into a circus. I'd much rather work for free in a situation where I am given creative leeway to come up with the best solution for a client (or friend, church, etc) than get into the problem of cooking Village Stew...

Invariably, that's what design mash-up contests turn into. The final product is often a Frankenstein of design elements from all the entries. This is not good for the business/ministry which is holding the contest, because it dilutes what might have been a good solution, nor is it healthy for the designers who enter the contest, because whether or not they win, their spec work often gets recycled when it becomes the intellectual property of the organization. That work can have far-reaching benefits for the institution, but leaves the designer(s) relatively un-rewarded. While not quite spec work, check out the history of the Nike logo ($2.00 per hour).

Give me liturgy or give me death.

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

I apologize for the nastiness and sarcasm in my previous post as it's not a very effective response. Especially when placed next to Nathan's eloquent response...

That being said...

I think I would have more respect for a company with little or no money to come right out and say so. "I don't have a lot of money, but would anyone be willing to donate their services... yadda yadda..." To do this as a competition 1) devalues a designers time and energy and 2) probably won't get you exactly what your looking for/need.

To go with the "We don't have a lot of money" approach would benefit you in several ways:

1) you'd probably have a lot of designers offering their services in a professional manner - meaning instead of a designer just designing something and submitting it, you'd get a designer who wants to form a business relationship and work with you to meet your branding needs.

2) a lot of designers who reply to a "Win a $40 gift card" advertisement probably aren't going to give you the best designs... and I'm sorry if that offends anyone, there are obvious some people who don't fall into that category. I know that there are plenty of people here alone, who do good work, and are looking to break into the freelance world, and would jump at the opportunity to work with a client - even if it meant not making any or little money, just to put that in their portfolio or on their resume. (For the record, this is exactly how I broke into freelance).

3) You wouldn't get labeled as a company who falls under the "Avoid this company because of NO!SPEC issues" category.


Looks like Nathan beat me to the "Submit" button as I pretty much just said the same thing as he did...

Last edited by dmarino (2008-04-10 09:58:09)

Daniel Marino |

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

I'd not come across no!spec before, but great idea!

Last year a client (who's had only had me design/run their site) decided it was time for a new brand/site and so put the design 'out to bid'.  They wanted two completely different brands/designs for web & paper. I started working on some ideas and then pulled out. A lot of work + no guarantee = not a lot of fun!

James Cooper --  God loving, banjo playing, geek!

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

As someone who has spent time in both worlds (three years as a donor-supported, fundraising urban missionary / worship leader AND designer gifted with rugged good looks), I can sympathize with both parties.

I agree wholeheartedly with Nathan's view again speculative work such as this. In fact, it's the same view I hold to myself (especially when for-profit companies try stunts like this - don't get me started).

However, the fact is this ministry / organization is likely operating on a super shoestring budget and lacks the financial capability to pay a fair rate to a designer to create a comprehensive branding / identity system. Like Nathan, I don't mind doing pro bono work from time to time, especially for ministries I personally support.

Also, I encourage you all to look at this from the perspective of the Presbymergent folks. They likely view the "competition" as an opportunity for people to get involved in helping shape their organization. Even more likely is that they have not considered the ramifications and offensive nature of speculative work to design professionals. I think it would behoove us to contact these folks personally, away from the decidedly condescending tone this thread has taken, and explain exactly why we - as design professionals and the Godbit community as a whole - do not participate in "competitions" of this sort.

Chiefly, as Nathan said, I think it would absolutely behoove the mministry to dialogue with an interested designer who may be willing to do pro bono or extremely discounted work to develop a professional logo and accompanying branding system. It's so vital, but to non-creatives and / or non-designers, this aspect of an organization is often little more than a Microsoft WordArt induced afterthought, as we have all seen.

Let's look at this as an opportunity to educate people about the importance of good, strategic design (and the edicate of going about getting it), rather than sitting on our high horses, blasting away at them for the mortal sin of spec work.

And for the record, spec work sucks.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr.

Re: Church Group Sponsors Logo Design Competition

All I can say is I love the mug I won for the Godbit logo. wink

"Bear 270, young man. Bear two, seven, zero, over." - Musings of a flight simulator guru, me.