I have some incredibly talented graphic designer friends, but when I considered my options for The Great Exchange’s logo, curiosity about 99 Designs overcame me and I crowd-sourced my design brief.
The specifications I gave my designers included three colors (red, yellow, orange–if any nonprofit is allowed to feel sunny, it’s this one) and the feeling I’m trying to achieve. I also said I love bridge imagery, since a lot of our programming will run with a bridge metaphor, and that I had been previously experimenting with a nifty bridge / heart shape combination.
11 designers pulled through with 55 designs (not 99), many of which were quite beautiful. I then narrowed it down to three. Each design would target a different audience and would speak for The Great Exchange in a different way. The one I posted above is my personal favorite, but there are some obvious issues with it–namely, it wouldn’t be a great “instant brand.” The other two images (not posted here) work with or without text, and I think that’s important.
Unable to make a decision, I sent a quick email to my 20 most design-savvy friends and asked them to weigh in. The results? Every single person loved a different design and hated designs that other people had loved. My in-box is now a cacophony of of converging opinions, and the lack of a clear front-runner is really starting to mess with my head. I was expecting my friends’ opinions to create a tonal symphony of clarity, but instead it feels like the dissonance that occurs when you wind up and play 20 music boxes at once.
There’s a large part of me–probably the same part that used to write 25 drafts of a poem before calling it done–that wants to scrap all three designs and start over. There’s another part of me would like to take this moment to remind myself that forward momentum is sometimes better than waiting to make the “perfect” choice. If there’s one thing my short life has taught me, it’s that there’s never a perfect option, and that waiting for the ephemeral usually just causes a build-up of fear and stagnation.
Pick one, work with it, and keep running. That’s my motto for the day.