Design Fstoppers' New Logo And Win $2000

Design Fstoppers' New Logo And Win $2000

4 years ago Patrick and I came up with the idea for We needed a logo and so I went into Photoshop and created the "FS" inside a circle that you can see above. It took me about 5 minutes and neither Patrick or I have ever really liked it. It's time for a change and we will pay you to help us get there. is about to be totally revamped. The blog itself will work exactly as it always has but we are adding 2 completely new facets to the website that will a big jump forward. To match our new site redesign we would like a new logo. You can submit your logo ideas to us at If we end up using your logo design we will give you $2000. If we like multiple logos we will put it to public vote on If we don't like any of them, we may decide to stick with what we have but we hope that won't be the case.

Now before you go out and start designing let me explain to you what we want. The first thing we need is a "Mark" similar to the FS we currently have. We like the idea of the "FS" being a unique shape but it's also very important that the "F" and "S" are easily legible. This "mark" needs to be accompanied by the full name "Fstoppers". Both the "FS" Mark and the "Fstoppers" text need to work together and separately.

Below are a few "marks" that I like for one reason or another. You'll notice that each of these examples are extremely simple so please do not over complicate your designs. Feel free to use them as inspiration or create something totally unique.

We had a design firm come up with some concepts and our favorite was the one directly below. We agree that it's an interesting concept and it has potential but it looks too much like a bank or IT company's logo. The other issue is that the "FS" is pretty difficult to read. The circular one below that is something that I created. Again we like the basic direction but it feels a bit too "star trekish." Feel free to take either of these ideas and tweak them.


1: All submissions must be emailed to with the word "logo contest" in the subject line by Wednesday June 12th.
2: All submissions must contain a "mark" with the letters "F" and "S" and the word "Fstoppers" written out in full.
3: You may submit as many logos as you like.
4: If you use aperture blades in your design I can almost guarantee we won't choose it.

May the best designer win.

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First, do you retain any rights to designs that are submitted and you don't use them? I'm going to assume no because y'all know how badly the design community hates spec work.

No, if we don't like it then we won't have any use for it. If we do like it we will pay for it. I understand that many designers are not willing to work on spec and that is why this is a simple contest. If you want to enter you can, if not, you don't have to.

Woah ok, just wondering about the rights. Also, this is a contest and spec work. It's not really an either or type of situation. Both sides of the argument have valid points and I think it's great y'all are reaching out to your support community for a new logo.

Would you shoot an advertising campaign with 4 other photographers and then get paid based on who's photos the client decided they wanted? What if they gave your photos to less expensive photographer and said "this isn't quite right, but tweak it a little and we'll pay you"?

Let's say you got good designers who do spec work. Now, you're insulting those people by saying to your readers "Here are their ideas. We didn't like them right off the bat, but one of you tweak it and we'll give you $2,000 instead of asking the company who originally sketched it to work with us to make this something we love."

I don't know what your history is with these design firms, but that doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem to be how creative artists should treat one another, and it completely devalues the creative process.

Here's an article, by a designer, on this subject with one of the dangers being very close to what you did in this post:

"4: If you use aperture blades in your design I can almost guarantee we won’t choose it." LOL

Contest over, Nick wins

Sending over some work samples by the morning - EVODD.COM

Andrew Griswold's picture

Not bad Nick, may need to work on your kerning but a vallient effort buddy. Haha

Haha! The best.

Just when I thought I had a chance...Damn Nick. Way to bring an atom bomb to a knife fight. ;)


Brendan James's picture

Lovin' the Comic Sans.

why end with the stop sign? why not use the whole special bus? :)

This is totally the first thing I thought of! I HATE stop signs so great idea but don't do it LOL

Jaron Schneider's picture

For the love of God, no one submit anything like an aperture symbol.

Tam Nguyen's picture

Is it just me or the even characters, S-O-P-R in the featured image seem to be more "in focus" than the odd ones, F-T-P-E-S?

What file format do you want the submissions in?

Not to be a downer or anything but this in the design industry is called "spec" work which is short for speculative work and is just as bad as when businesses expect photographers to work for free because it is a great "experience" opportunity.

Video worth watching.

I knew this would come up. Just know that we did do the thing "right way" and we got burned. Lost thousands of dollars. I can't pay for designs we will never use.

Jon McGuffin's picture

The way you're doing it I think is spot on and I agree, if you don't want to do it, don't do it. For what it's worth, offering to pay $2,000 for a logo is about 5X the going rate for a quality logo IMO. You'll get tons of entries and I'm sure you'll end up with something vastly superior than what that firm created for you (which is bad). You should have started here. :)

Someone who is classically and professionally trained in graphic design will not even pick up the sketch pen for $2000, let alone it's a contest.

Jon McGuffin's picture

Good for them.. This isn't meant for them anymore than I wouldn't expect Joe McNally or David Hobby to spend their time submitting for a contest here either. This comment has no relevance to the audience this contest is geared towards.

I think the greatest challenge of a creative process is that you aren't always able to communicate your desires to the designer. In this case especially from reading the above it seems that you don't really know what you want, (which is ok). You just know what you don't want. Which makes it very hard for the designer to come up with a logo that you will want.

But think of it from the point of view of the designer. Client comes to you with some vague creative direction. You do your best to ask questions and narrow the direction into something that they will like. You spend day researching and carefully crafting a logo that meets their defined parameters. You then present it to that client and they take a look at it and turn it down based on a reason that had never even come up before. (for example the logo being too star trekky). Its like guess and check where your livelihood depends on guessing right.

Looking at the logo above that you said you paid for I can't agree that you were burned (though I don't know exactly what went on so could be wrong). The logo looks well thought out and executed to me with expert precision. It's failing is merely that it isn't something that you want. Which I can understand your plight for but I think ultimately it was a difference of creative direction. If they had burned you they would have taken your money and given you a piece of junk or simply not delivered anything.

The answer shouldn't be to switch over to a method that ensures 99% of the designers do not get paid for their time and effort. If every client moved to this sort of business model the design industry would be gone. Even really good designers would struggle to make a living.

It is functionally the same as going to a movie once and deciding you didn't like it so from now on your will steal the movie tickets then go pay only if you loved the film.

And yes, it does seem simple to simply not enter the "contest" but the problem is that this sort of thing is becoming more and more popular in the design world. As more companies see it done the more companies do it.

Yes. All of this.

Yup. Very well said. Really sad to see people in the creative industry asking for spec work. I would say I only hope it comes back to however that really isn't better for anyone. So instead let me just say that I ask that you consider what you are doing and think about what it means for the photographic industry when it happens to you.

Are you moderating away my comments because of what I'm saying, or how I'm saying it?

When you envisioned this contest, did you consider that the winning logo you choose, since you're not vetting the designer before selecting their work, could possibly be infringing on another company's identity? Is the potential litigation worth $2000 to FStoppers? That's just ONE risk. Here's a great article I found on Crowd Sourcing and Intellectual Property Issues that you should read:

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