Violet Photography & Design | Altoona, WI Lifestyle Photographer » Life. Captured.

99 Designs Logo Creation, In Depth Critique & Review | Eau Claire, WI Photographer

Hey ladies & gents! So, if you’ve been with me along this journey for a while you know that I have went through a few different logo designs and ideas. Most were made by me, and none of them really stood the test of time. I was constantly struggling to find that ONE logo that really represented who I am & who Violet Photography & Design is. It was a frustrating journey because I knew in my mind the image I wanted to convey, I just had a hard time putting the vision to paper. Then, I read an article that said that no one who owns their own business should do their own graphic design even if you’re a graphic designer yourself. Apparently it’s similar to being a doctor and trying to diagnose yourself…you’re just not objective. There are important details you may miss. When you hire a professional, they see an image of you that you don’t see. While you can gently guide the design process, you’re going to be receiving someone else’s unbiased opinion which helps a great deal.

Now, anyone who KNOWS me, knows how hard I am on myself. I have strong perfectionist tendencies, so I knew going into this that I was going to be a tough cookie to crack. I had been considering a few different independent designers for a while, when Travis happened upon 99designs is a community of designers who will compete for your business by entering their very best interpretations of your design brief. In short, you provide a design brief, choose what you want to pay, and a contest is started. Once the contest has started, you can invite up to 20 designers per day to your contest by perusing the work of various designers on the site. The designers decide if they would like to participate, and then they enter their design to your contest. You then have the option to rate each design using a 5 point star system. One star is: has potential, 2: right direction, 3: Good Design, 4: Great Design, and 5: Leading Contender. If you do not like the design at all and it does not meet with your vision you can eliminate it. Once eliminating, you give a reason why you eliminated the design and then you can leave comments for the designer that no one else can see. You can tell them you like this part of the design, but not that, change the colors, fonts, etc. The designer responds back and you begin a dialogue with them in an effort to create the vision in your mind.

You do have time constraints. 7 days to be exact. The first 4 days are attracting designers to your project through an intriguing contest title, inviting designers to your contest, and providing in depth critiques and feedback to keep designers engaged and your contest healthy. After the 4 day period, you pick up to 6 designers who you feel have most closely represented your vision and you continue through the process. If you only have one designer you really like, you can choose that single designer to move on and have less distraction from others. After 3 days, you’re expected to have the majority of the design process done and you can move over to the handover process. During this process, you finalize minute details, still maintaining communication with your designer, and finally the file turn over and copyright sign-off and payment release.

It’s a very interesting and different approach to design. My thoughts and reactions were scattered and I definitely think there is room for improvement as there is with all things. One of the things I found most frustrating about the entire process was not being able to fully convey exactly what I was looking for. As a result, after providing comments & critique I would have designers change a design entirely because they misunderstood what I meant. Add to the fact that many of the individuals do not speak strong english, and it can be a recipe for disaster. My suggestion to 99 Designs would be to create a pen tool that designers and contest holders can use to circle areas they want to improve upon while leaving the rest of the design the same. The language barrier isn’t that big of a deal then. I only wish I spoke italian though…bucket list guys, bucket list.

That brings me to the next thing. Remember when I said I knew that it was going to be a hard contest with me because I am so picky?? Yes, well…over 320 designs and 42 designers later, I finally had my logo. I was so lucky with my contest. I had the involvement of some fantastic designers, with some amazing designs. After viewing other contests, I didn’t feel that as many contest holders got as lucky as I did. I was extremely lucky. However, I think I was also a great contest holder. I provided constant feedback & constructive criticism. I was very, very thorough and detailed. I was specific about what I wanted and I provided a lot of inspiration for reference. I was positive, and I provided a lot of “way to go’s,” and “that’s awesome!” and “you’re amazing,” and “THANK YOU.” That last one is so important. Nearly every time I responded back, I always said “Thank you!” I think my designers felt appreciated, and guided. In this process, I think it’s very important.

99 Designs has a ton of talented designers, but the designer I ended up choosing, I knew I would choose from the very beginning. She was my logo soulmate. Alicia is a phenomenal designer, a go-getter, and a person with great work ethics and professionalism. I appreciated her more than I could say. She is 34 years old and has been doing design work for the last 4 years. She lives in Texas, and she is amazing. My experience with her has made me dedicated to using her for future design services outside of 99 Designs. Which, 99 Designs fully advocates which is nice. There is not a “conflict of interest” clause which I think would be pretty silly anyway, because people are always going to find ways to break that rule. Anyway, I promised I would share Alicia’s info because she is THAT amazing. While I do not get a kick back of any sort, if you do contact Alicia please tell her I sent you. I would really appreciate it! You can reach her at

So, I bet you’re anxious to see this design, huh? Well….I went through quite a few, so I am going to show you my journey and tell you a little story. Originally, my plan was something with a 1950’s modern vintage vibe. I wanted like an old 50’s sitcom logo. Something feminine and vintage. Well, I have very specific tastes and while I had a lot of fantastic attempts none of them quite nailed it. Which was when I decided to change my tactic and go a little more modern. I figured the plus would be that then my logo would better stand the test of time. While brainstorming, I came across the following photo for a violet.

 I loved the idea of using a modern looking sketched violet in my logo for a very long time. I had Alicia use the Violet on the right for inspiration of a hand drawn violet. If you look closely at my logo, you can see it. How amazing is that?! Next, I told her to just give me some colors, her color palette and arrangement gave me the light bulb moment I needed. I have always been a fan of Monet & Van Gogh, like many people I am sure. Their work really speaks to me on a level I cannot quite explain. I find myself drawn to the work of other artists who are quite similar and I always realize that it’s the inspiration from these two artists. I sent Alicia examples of two pieces I liked the color palettes of and asked her to draw inspiration from those:

I had a distinct reason behind this…I love color. As I explained to Alicia, I think one of the most unique things about my photography and what sets me apart is my use of vibrant colors in my photography. And not just any colors either, I like strong primary colors. If you look at my photography, really look at it, you’ll see a strong use of reds, blues, yellows, vibrant oranges and greens. I wanted to convey that colorful combination in my logo.  Once we had the palette worked out everything came together so smoothly and beautifully that I just cannot convey how pleased I am with my resulting logo. The collaboration between Alicia and I was perfect and resulted in something I am proud to share with you and proud to use at the representative image of Violet Photography & Design and my resulting branding. I only hope you all love it as much as I do. Below, is the new face of Violet Photography & Design.

I hope you love it, and I hope if you have need of a Graphic Designer, that you get in touch with Alicia or try 99 Designs out for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it. Welcome to the NEW Violet Photography & Design.

  • Rae Anne Marie Frey via Facebook - Loved your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Moua via Facebook - How unique! I might have to look into 99 designs myself one of these days 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Violet Photography & Design via Facebook - You may have to Mary! I enjoyed my experience tremendously.ReplyCancel

  • Alicia - Oh what a beautiful blog post(I’m gonna cry). I love it! You were an awesome contest holder Your feedback is what made this beautiful logo! Thank you so much for this.
    Cheerfully, AliciaReplyCancel

    • Bobbie Sue - I feel like I made a long distance friend through this. 🙂 I’m glad it makes you happy, I am so proud of my absolutely beautiful logo.ReplyCancel