Logo competition sites like 99designs where a client will submit a brief, and "designers" from around the world will supply speculatively, without payment, "logos" in the hope that their logo will "win" the competition. They get paid if they win and it is usually about $200 or so.
Now there are some pros for this process, such as price, which is the main one, but the cons by far out weight these. We use the word loosely when we refer to "designers" in these contests, as many have little or no training in actual design, they can use the software, but it would be rare for a professional educated designer with any reputation to submit to these contests.
Stolen Copyright and IP Infringement
At Minio Design we often see our designs being stolen and presented as original designs in these competitions. We will contact the copyright infringing client and ask them to stop using our intellectual property. They invariably claim that they bought the logo legitimately from a logo competition. In the end they cannot use this logo and they have lost their money.
Who Can Work For Free?
To be able to work for free with no guarantee of payment means either you cannot get work any other way or you are a trust funder and don't need to be paid (which is rarely the case). Logo contests waste "designers" time. There can only be one winner so the other "designers" don't get paid for their hard work.
Working for free means that your content "designer" cannot give the care and attention to the project that a genuine designer will give to a client. Most logos are sketched out, revises over a few time and output in a range of sizes for print and web. A freebie cannot offer this level of service and quality.
The Client Isn't Always Right – Guidance, Education And Proefessional Expertise
A complete and succinct brief from a client to a designers who's track record and portfolio will give a better result, due to the care and attention, revisions and fine tuning a truly professional logo.
Many clients are unversed about what makes an effective logo and choose a logo based on their experience, rather than being guided and educated in the best option by a professional designer. In short they choose a logo that isn't right for their business because they have no guidance. At Minio Design we guide our clients to the best solution which may not be the best in their eyes initially, but it is the most effective solution in the end and their business flourishes.
Logos are not just a pretty symbol. Nothing can replace a professional approach in developing a complete brand, taking into account all aspects of the company, from the culture, integrity, and values.
Speculative Work Undermines The Profession Of The Designer
AGDA (Australian Graphic Design Association) is against speculative work (presenting ideas with no guarantee of payment) because it undervalues the profession, means designers cannot put the full amount of effort into the project and designers have to take copyright shortcuts to make ends meet. It results in poor quality work.
Nothing can replace the process of a professional design team developing your brand. Don't try to save money on your logo, as it will cost your in the future. Just as a building without good foundations will never be stable, a brand without the right logo will never reach their true potential.