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Get a New Logo for $30

by Brian Blum on March 31, 2010

in Advertising,Resources

NameProsI want to let you in on one of my biggest – and most cost-saving – secrets. Did you notice the new logo I posted awhile back on this site – the colorful “Blum Interactive Media” with the interacting squares? Now take a look at the new logo I have on my personal blog – “This Normal Life.”

How much do you think I paid to have each of these logos designed? A reasonably priced graphic designer here in the Jerusalem area told me that to create a logo, I needed to conduct a full branding endeavor that would run a minimum of $700. From what I’ve seen, that’s actually pretty cheap in the world of corporate creative.

But I didn’t pay $700. Not even half of that. I paid only $30. How did I do it? I went to a website called NamePros. The site is mainly about buying and selling domain names, but there is a section in the bottom of third of the page called “Design Contests.”

Visually, the site is nothing to write home about – it’s essentially just a big bulletin board where you start a new topic and then people post their responses. But don’t let the simplicity fool you – this is a powerful tool.

Here’s how it works: you start a new “contest” by writing a description of what you’re looking for, including any specifics, such as dimensions, colors or concept. You indicate a price and a time frame – contests can run no longer than 10 days. Most are priced between $25-$50.

Designers then starting posting their ideas to the board. Now this is what’s key about NamePros: the logos are displayed for everyone to see – you and all future and current design competitors. The artists expect your feedback and then come back and post revised versions.

At the end of ten days, you could have dozens of different designs and their iterations. Some are amateurish, to be sure, but many are truly top quality. Posting on NamePros represents a radically different experience from other freelance design sites such as eLance where you have to pick a designer first before you see what they’ll come up with.

The one rule you have to follow: at the end of the contest, you must pick a winner and pay them, even if you haven’t received a design you really love. If you don’t ante up, you get banned from the site. But at $30, think of it as a couple of falafel rather than a major investment.

Where are the designers from? All around the world. I’ve had submissions from Malaysia to Maryland. My latest winner lives in Greece; before that, Pakistan.

Tip of the hat: I would never have known about NamePros if it were not for my friend and social media colleague Akiva Fuld. Thanks Akiva for saving me hundreds of dollars!


Television_remote_controlInteractive video has been one of my passions since I worked as a “multimedia producer” in the early 1990s creating CD-ROM titles in edutainment and healthcare. In 1994, I led a team that produced “How Multimedia Computers Work,” an immersive interactive environment that plunged viewers into a virtual 3D computer. We followed that up with “How Your Body Works.” Both were co-published in a book-CD package by Ziff-Davis Press.

In recent years, interactive video has been used very effectively for advertising and marketing. Carnival Cruise Lines employed it to help bring a cruise ship alive for would-be (and high-paying) passengers. Mars created an entire mini-commercial called “Get the Girl…An Interactive Love Story (Sort Of)” for its Twix brand where the viewer gets to choose what happens next. Even The New York Times got into the act with an interactive David Pogue sharing insights on consumer electronics.

But the Holy Grail for we interactive pioneers was always marrying it with broadcast television. It was the late 1980s, though, and technology never kept up with our creativity. Now, though, with the advent of social media, that day may have arrived. But with what consequences?

I wrote in my earlier post about Jeff Pulver’s “140 Characters Conference” which paraded a veritable cavalcade of social media luminaries on stage to talk about all things Twitter and Facebook. One of the panels at the event was on “social TV.”

Veteran Israeli media consultant Dror Gill described how TV and Twitter are already mashing up. A growing community of users are tweeting while they watch the tube, he explained, sending their comments, theories and criticisms into the social ether for others who are following the same program at the same time to reply to or re-tweet.

Gill called this phenomena 2-screen interactive TV (there are cable operators that have already integrated similar social media tricks into a single screen).

The experience, Gill explained, in some ways recreates a bit of what was for me an integral part of my childhood: sitting together as a family, laughing at dead parrots and silly walks, or cringing at another one of Mary Tyler Moore’s insecure faux-pas’s.

These days, it’s rare for members of a family to even find time to eat dinner as a cohesive unit. Twittering together, apparently, is the next best thing…even if your fellow schmoozers are on opposite coasts (or even different continents).

Conference host Pulver related his own social TV experience. A big fan of the NBC show Heroes, one evening, Pulver found himself away from the TV trolling the aisles for canned corn or some other delicacy in his local supermarket.

Distraught over missing his favorite guilty pleasure, he pulled out his cell phone and was able to follow the show by scrolling through the real-time tweets that neatly summarized the main plot turns.

How Pulver got his shopping done I don’t know…I also have to wonder why the one time founder of VoIP giant Vonage didn’t just TiVo the show, or at least watch it later on Hulu. But that wouldn’t have made for such an illustrative story.

Despite the fact that a number of the participants at the conference praised social media for making the post-modern world a little less lonely, the entire experience seems to me to be exactly the opposite. Where once we gathered in a shared space, we now sit alone opposite our 42-inch plasma screens tapping away to strangers thousands of miles away.

But for advertisers, this real time web can perhaps be seen as a hopeful trend. Broadcast television has been inching inexorably towards time shifting. The number of viewers watching a show at the hour it’s actually aired has been steadily declining in an online world where you can instantly stream that same program on any number of sites or – heaven forbid – download it for free.

The social media interactive experience, by contrast, requires participants to watch live. Tape delay ruins the whole thing. Moreover, not only can’t live viewers fast forward through the commercials, TV Twitterers may be less likely to jump up at a commercial at all. With all the real time excitement, a social media conversation may actually evolve about the ad itself. That puts the onus on the advertiser to make sure that what they’ve created can withstand the withering comments of a live Twitterverse.

The game for advertisers, as a result, gets even more complicated than it already is in a globally connected world. Companies must make sure they have assigned a staff person to monitor Twitter and other social media channels whenever their ads play in primetime. Because, when the masses won’t put down their keyboards even during the once sacred passive TV experience, the necessity to remain vigilant, to jump to attention and enact damage control if the need arises, becomes an integral part of the job.

It’s been said before by techno-luminaries far more prolific than me, but social media can no longer be seen as a “nice to have.” This makes it at once both terrifying and a terrific opportunity. But it’s one that must not be ignored.


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