Udate: Crowdlogoing the New Spreadshirt Tagline: New Design Competition Launched — and finalized

Some recent entries to the Spreadshirt OLP(Update of the original posting from Sept 2007 — now with the project’s final result at the end of this post!).

Hey, you designers of the world. Treat me nice: I am on the panel of the new Spreadshirt Open Logo competition :-). Coined the Open Logo Project (OLP) 1.6, this is the second time that the company has started a crowdsourcing contest for its new logo. Anyone can submit a draft logo for comment and evaluation by an expert panel, other designers and the Spreadshirt community. Each week during the contest, the top entries will win awards and a place in the overall grand final.

The last contest (hosted 1.6 years ago) received over 1000 submissions from more than 600 designers mainly in Germany and France. This time, the entire world shall participate. The contest will run from the 27th August – 14th October. To take part in the contest – with submissions, comments, voting or just lurking – head to http://olp.spreadshirt.net.

Every branding textbook, however, will tell you not to change your logo every two (or even 1.6) years. But “…this is not a publicity stunt,“ said Jana Eggers, Spreadshirt’s new CEO. „We found a tagline that better represents what we do, and now is the right time to change our current logo to support it“.

The new tagline, resulting from working with an international branding firm: „Your own label“ shall reflect Spreadshirt’s mission to be „the world’s creative apparel platform“. After deciding on the new tagline, the natural step for Spreadshirt was to turn to its community again for a logo that better supports the new tagline.

The cool thing: Adam Fletcher, who is coordinating the competition at Spreadshirt, even allowed me to pick my own prize. So: I will award a first price for the most innovative design, one, that really demonstrates uniqueness and out of the box thinking. And this price will be truly innovative and unique as well: You can win an entire mass customized outfit. More on the website!

But beyond the innovative prices, also the OLP idea competition itself has some nice features which make it a great example of open innovation and sets it ahead to other design contests on the web:

They have ten different awards and prizes for different categories which also honor not only WHAT, but HOW you design, awarding good competition citizenship. There are prices for community involvement, memorability, branding excellence, etc …

This also allows Spreadshirt to think of those that offer input but can’t design (I would be a perfect candidate for this). Anyone who actively contributes to the OLP community by ratings, commenting, offering feedback, starting discussions etc can win one of every shirt that Spreadshirt’s “La Fraise” prints for the next year (should be around 100 shirts – so if you win, buy a new closet).

„We

[want] to recognize out-of-the-box thinking, collaboration, community favorites and more,“ adds Adam Fletcher. „Even if you’re not the winning designer, you can scoop a number of other prizes, or just waste a lot of your time, learn a lot from looking at the work of the other designers.“

For real winning designers, they also provide more than cash, but help with the most valuable good for artists, recognition. Along with a MacBook pro and €3,000 cash, the winner will be featured with a photo and an interview in he “Computer Arts” magazine, an interview on “Computerlove” and a permanent “thank-you-page” at Spreadshirt.com

So, now get your creative fluids working … and submit a nice logo so that I have something to judge next week !!

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Labelhead - my personal winner of the OLPUPDATE: The project is over –– and it was an interesting experience for me to be on the panel of such an open innovation competition. Here some observations:

First: The winner: While Spreadshirt selected two first prices for their new logo (see the designs here) and is now working with the community on improving the designs. My personal short list looked a bit different, see it here.

Second: My winner: As written above, I could award my very special price for the most innovative design. My clear favorite was Labelhead, not just a logo but an entire logo configurator. Here is my long description why this is the most innovative (and in any case customizable) logo! (and this posting also gives you a rare view of my living room 🙂

Third: Participants of an open innovation project get engaged and personal: The entire competition drew more than 2800 entires, generated millions of hits and views, a lot of postings and good press for Spreadshirt — and did not cost really too much compared to the cost of getting a professional new logo (and PR campaign) from a regular agency (cost were about 10 K Euro for prices, Adam Fletcher’s salary of running the contest, and some web site programming etc ..). The best insight into the enthusiasm and engagement of the participants can be found in the comments to the posts, just browse through some of the winning designs or see the comment on the selection of the winners (example).

For me, it was was interesting to read what people really thought about my selections (more comments here). I think I really do not look like a designer or pretend to know much about graphic design — my task was to provide a business and customization perspective for the panel. But participants expected my real feedback on their designs … learning_ pick panelists that really know what they are writing about.

Fourth: I learned a lot about customized toilets 🙂 See comments in the middle of this stream.

About the Author:

Frank T. Piller is a Co-Director of the MIT Smart Customization Group at the MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, and a chair professor of management at the Technology & Innovation Management Group of RWTH Aachen University, Germany, one of Europe’s leading institutes of technology. Before entering his recent position in Aachen, he worked at the MIT Sloan School of Management (2004-2007) and has been an associate professor of management at TUM Business School, Technische Universitaet Muenchen. Frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Economist, and Business Week, amongst others, Frank is regarded as one of the leading experts on strategies for customer-centric value creation, like mass customization, personalization, and innovation co-creation. His recent analysis of the crowdsourcing business model “Threadless” (co-authored with Susumu Ogawa), an innovative crowdsourcing business model in the fashion industry, has been elected as one of the Top-20 articles in MIT Sloan Management Review.