How to Write a Killer Brief for Your Logo Design Contest

If you’re looking for a logo, you might have heard that you can run a design contest to get one.

Design contest sites allow you to pitch your logo request to dozens of different designers, who will compete with each other to deliver the best possible logo designs. In other words, you won’t be restricted to just one designer, and you’re able to work on a fast and cost-friendly basis.

Note that design contests aren’t the cheapest option for making a logo; for instance, you can create a logo yourself with an online logo designer for a fraction of the cost. However, some people prefer this option because they get to communicate with a bunch of people, as opposed to working with a machine.

Either way, you want your logo to be perfect. You need a design that will perfectly describe your business—an eye-catching logo that perfectly meets all your requirements for size, color, feel, etc. So, how do you make sure that the designer you work with gets you that logo?

With a killer logo design brief.

What is a Logo Design Brief?

A logo design brief is a document that outlines all of the necessary information that a designer needs to create the right logo for you. Its job is to ensure the designers know precisely what you’re after— including your style, timing, and budget—and will put your thoughts and ideas onto paper (and onto your screen).

Why Do You Need a Logo Design Brief?

If you’re going the design contest route, the critical element to your design contest recipe is the logo design brief.

Don’t believe me?

I’ll ask you to draw me a shape; what will you draw? Go ahead. I’ll wait.

If you drew me a perfect pink square, then congratulations! You got it right the first time. Otherwise…well, you get the point.

Avoid the headaches and the endless back-and-forth with your designers; nail your logo design brief, and you’ll get it right the first and last time.

Here’s how you do it in 3 steps.

How to Create Your Logo Design Brief in 3 Steps

Step 1: Writing Your Design Brief - Who Are You?

For step 1, write down the name of your company, who they are, what they do, who its customers are, and the kind of culture you want to present.

Include your company name & slogan.

Before diving into the deep end of logo design, you should start with the name of your business and slogan or tagline (if you have one). There’s more to designing a logo than you might think, and all the details that you include now will help the designer create your perfect logo. If you want the slogan to be in the design, now’s the time to let the designer know.

Plus, when writing down your name and business, be sure to include any specific capitalization requests and spacing needed in the title — for example, Ben’s Doughnuts vs. ben’sDoughnuts.

Describe what your company does and who it's targeting.

A good designer knows how to draw. A great designer knows how to help target your customers and users. In this section, you’re creating a design goal. It will include details about your product, what it does, how it works, and also info about your customers and potential consumers.

Experienced designers know what works well in each industry and will put that knowledge to good use when designing your logo. If you have a particular culture and set of brand values you want to portray, such as a fun startup or a serious investment company, you should include that here as well. Your designer will read this and know what type of visual to use to portray your values into the design perfectly.

Step 2: Nail Your Design Preferences - Styling and Colors

Imagine your designer looking at your brief. So far, they have an idea who and what your business is. Now you want to focus their creativity with a nudge in the stylistic direction that you want, while still allowing them the freedom to do what they do best.

To do this, try thinking of your logo as having a personality; which adjectives would you use to describe it?

Here are some of the main adjectives that can express the look and feel of your logo, and what they mean in terms of logo design elements. For the best results, choose between 1-3 traits, but try and stick to 2 if you can.



Modern designs often feature clean lines and are quite lean


If you want something more retro, think classic design


Often seen with legal firms, these logos contain the bare minimum of design and rely on their name


Creative companies or event companies can express their art with a complex design



Funeral homes want to portray a calm and serious business to mourning clients


Businesses aimed at children will want to choose a fun, carefree concept 


Get in peoples’ faces and grab their attention with a lively logo


Depending on your need, you may want a quieter, softer approach to your logo


Don’t be afraid to include examples of other logos that you like, which the designer can use for inspiration.

Color selection

If you have zero preference on the colors used, say so, as it will allow the designer to unleash their full creativity. But, sometimes you may be constrained by brand design details already in place, or maybe you happen to love a color that you saw elsewhere. Either way, it’s ok to include color preferences and be sure to include whether you’re flexible or not on it.

Finding inspiration

If you need to give your imagination a kickstart, head over to google images and start typing whatever comes to mind when thinking of your business or industry, for some logo design inspiration.

You’d be surprised at some of the results, which will help give you a creative boost and help you to visualize your perfect logo design.

Step 3: Clarify Time and Budget

It’s important to clarify your timing and budget from the very beginning. They’re both big constraints that will help weed out any designers who either don’t have the time to design your logo or won’t do it at your desired price point.


Where possible, try and give as much time as possible or at least a realistic timeframe to your designers. You don’t want them to feel rushed and don’t forget, your logo design may need some revisions, and you’re probably not their only client. So, by giving as much time as possible, you’re allowing them to plan and design effectively.

If you’re in a situation where you’re pressed for time, then creating a design contest is a good option, as you’ll connect with a large pool of creative designers. You’ll begin to receive proposals much sooner than trying to work with an agency or freelancer.

(But, if you’re really in a time crunch, you should consider using an online logo maker, as you can use one to design a logo in 5 minutes!)


Don’t be afraid to be entirely honest and truthful with your budget from the very beginning. Designers understand that you’re under restrictions on how much you can pay. But if you’re paying too little, don’t be surprised if you get what you pay for.

More important budgeting tips:

– Learn to be upfront and honest when talking about money

– Choose to pay ‘per project’ or ‘per hour’ beforehand

– If hourly, ask for a time estimate

– Decide on the number of re-designs allowed (will they be included in the price?)

Logo Design Brief Examples - The Great and the Ugly

Let’s put everything together and have a look at two design briefs made by Ben’s Doughnuts, a business looking for a new logo. Example A you’ll want to avoid. Example B is excellent.

Example A: Design me a logo, quickly and cheaply.

Note: The design brief in Example A is like playing the logo lottery. It might be a winner, but chances are it won’t be.

Example B:

Ben’s Doughnuts – Logo Design Brief

Business Name

Ben’s Doughnuts. We don’t have a slogan, but please include the full name in the logo and keep the words separate.

Who are Ben’s Doughnuts?

Ben’s Doughnuts is a friendly and local doughnut shop serving tasty doughnuts and hot coffee 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It doesn’t matter if you’re coming back from the school run, on a coffee break, or just want a tasty treat. Everyone is welcome at Ben’s Doughnuts.

Note: We’re also kid-friendly!

Design preferences

We’re looking for a simple design that will be also be used for branding, such as on business cards and in our store. Maybe the name and a doughnut, for example. Simple and modern.

Please see the design of Jane’s Croissants as an example of the kind of style we’d like to have.

Color preferences

Our store and brand revolve heavily around the color blue, specifically this color blue #0000FF, and prefer that you only use this color.


The deadline for the final project is 2 weeks from the start date.

The deadline for the 1st draft/copy is 1 week from the start date.


The budget for this project is $350, including VAT. This includes 2 revisions. If successful, we have other projects as well.

End message

I can’t wait to see your designs! 


Copy-Paste These Design Brief Headers

Instantly create your very own design brief by copying and pasting the below headers, and filling in the relevant information:

-Business Name

-Who are <insert company name>?

-Design preferences

-Color preferences 



-End message

How to Write Logo Design Briefs for Popular Contest Websites

If you’ve decided to run a design contest online, chances are there’ll be a pre-made logo design brief for you to fill out. Let’s take a quick look at the 3 most popular platforms: DesignHill, 99Designs, and Design Crowd.


DesignHill has a simple 3-step program.

First, choose your design category. You’re not restricted to just logos, either; you can choose coffee cups, stationery, and even t-shirt designs. Depending on the budget you select here, you can receive extra perks, such as business card designs.

Next, select your industry and choose 5 logos that you like the look of. The designers will use your selections as inspiration for your logo.

Then, you can select from a minimum of 3 different colors that you would like in your design.

Brand Your Page

You’ll now be presented with a simple brief to fill out with the necessary information about your business. If you have any logos to use as a reference, you can also upload them here.


To kick off your 99Designs contest, first, choose from the list of designs to help narrow down the style you want.

Because your brand styling is so essential, 99Designs allow you to define what characteristics you want and cater your designs to match them.

Similar to DesignHill, you can choose multiple color palettes for your designers to use.

99Designs’ design brief also has space to include your business’s background information and important notes for the designers.

Design Crowd

Design Crowd starts by asking you what kind of design you need, ranging from logos to social media covers.

Next, you’ll be asked to fill out some basic information, such as the name of your project, the logo text, a place to upload files, and that’s it. Note that you don’t get the choice to narrow down what kind of logo you’d like to receive, like with 99Designs or DesignHill.

As you can see, each design contest website has its own tweaks to the process, but they all follow the same basic flow. Remember, regardless of the logo design contest website you choose, it’s super important to create an effective brief.

Over to You

The more detail and information you provide to your designers, the better the final logo design will be, and most importantly, it’ll be what you want. By including a detailed design brief, you can expect to get the most out of your logo design contest with zero headaches.