[thelist] Logo Contest Question

Antigone Zero antigone0 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 3 21:07:19 CST 2006

I am designing a new website for a new non-profit institute at a university.
I am more of a coder than a designer, and hiring a designer would have been
both expensive and difficult from a bureaucratic standpoint, so I decided to
run a logo contest. The prize was $100, and I promoted the contest at
several design schools in our area. We got one entry and we don't like it.

Obviously, that entry wins, and that person gets the money. We put up a
small amount of money and we got what we paid for. My question is, what do I
say to the designer of the winning logo. Our contest rules read as follows:

Institute Logo Contest

Your Mission: To create a logotype containing a name and a sign for the new
Institute. The logotype will be used on the Institute website and in various
print materials.

The Prize:   $100

Design Guidelines....and so on.

The problem is, we like the logo so little that we would rather use one of
the logos that I developed when I thought we weren't going to get any
entries at all. The prize is the money, but the contest rules state that the
logo is going to be used. Have I legally obligated us to use this logo? What
do we do then, put it up to meet our obligations? For how long? A day? A
week? And how do I tactfully tell the designer that he won because he had
the only entry, and we don't actually like his work (at least this specimen
of it, for $100 he probably didn't spend a lot of time on it)?

And, for future reference, other than specifying that the logo 'might' be
used, what should I have done here? What would have been a reasonable prize?
Do you think we didn't get any entries because our Institute's mission isn't
'sexy' (we're engineers) or was to hard to design for, or because AIGA
disapproves of works on spec, or was it just that we didn't put up enough

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