I’ve been judging the Logo Wave awards for a number of years now. It’s an independent award scheme by designer Kyle Courtright. Kyle and I have yet to meet in person, but we’ve come to know each other online over the years and I have a lot of respect for him as a family man and as a designer. Kyle kindly answered some questions to give us an insight into the awards.
What made you want to start a logo competition?
Like many ideas, Logo Wave was born out of necessity. I wanted to enter my own work into a logo awards competition and felt frustrated with the antiquated and drawn-out submission process. At that point, I knew I wanted to start a design awards to help support my fellow creatives, and I had three criteria out of the gate:
- Must be centered around logos
- Must encourage and give value to creatives
- Must fill a gap in the design awards space
After feeling like each of those boxes had the potential to be checked (and getting the green light from my wife), I decided to move forward. We launched in June of 2016.
You describe Logo Wave as a “reimagined” awards platform. What sets it apart?
1. The “Wave” structure
The wave model sets us apart. There are usually 3–4 waves per year (each lasting 3–4 months). Other design awards tend to run one annual competition.
Freelancers and studios upload their best logo work from their design portfolios and when the wave’s complete our jury carefully reviews the entries and determines the winners. When one wave ends a new one begins, like waves in the ocean.
2. Massive prize bundle
Our prize pack includes $1,000 USD, custom-crafted bamboo trophies, a one year membership to LogoLounge, the Logo Package Express extension, a winner certificate, recognition on the Logo Wave website, additional network exposure, and more.
3. The investment
We’re one of the most affordable design awards and we’ve intentionally maintained a wallet-friendly, prize-heavy platform.
4. Internationally acclaimed jury
We have been fortunate enough to bring on a jury of design authors who genuinely care about moving our profession forward. People who love being a part of recognising and celebrating design. Virtuosos like Louise Fili, David Airey, Gail Anderson, Chris Do, Alina Wheeler, Jacob Cass, Debbie Millman, and Bill Gardner have graced our panel over the years.
5. Level playing field
We’ve intentionally created a competition where freelancers, studios, and agencies alike have the chance to heighten their credibility and recognition. The platform was built by designers for designers, with the heart behind the brand being to give creatives a credible, exciting boost of social proof.
6. User-friendly and fun
Part of reimagining the awards space meant creating a user-friendly competition. As I mentioned, this was a big pain point from experiences with other design awards. We’re mindful that busy designers don’t have time to fill out long, drawn-out forms, so a simple, straightforward entry process was important.
While we have an expectation of excellence, we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We want designers to have fun as we help to celebrate and shine a spotlight on their work, offering great prizes along the way.
Logo Wave exists to help designers and studios secure a greater percentage of bids, land more consistently qualified clients, and raise their rates as a result of added credibility and value.
Who do you see as your competition (other design/logo awards)?
It’s interesting to see A’ Design Award and the platform they’ve built. Core77 is doing some nice things as well!
Did you set any goals at the beginning, or have you reached any milestones that have helped keep you going?
Initial entries were mostly from freelancers. After a brand refresh, increased cash prize, additional trophies with an updated design, and increased brand recognition, there has been a seismic evolution in the audiences we’ve attracted. The number of studios and agencies deciding to take part has greatly increased in line with the value and credibility of the brand.
I’m grateful to every designer who’s reached out over the years to say Logo Wave has helped level-up their business. That encouragement is part of why I love building the brand. Here’s just a couple of testimonials:
“Logo Wave has been the catalyst in helping me win more large, qualified branding and identity gigs. With their top-tier jury, $1,000/trophy prize, and more than reasonable entry fee, this one is a no-brainer.”
– Costa Mamangakis, Orfik Design
“Winning Logo Wave helped my studio generate new business leads and secure new clients as a result.”
– Filippos Pente, Mistershot
Those are the kind of stories that keep me trucking along.
Has anything proved more difficult than expected? Any plans to change the awards in future?
In early 2020, I was on the cusp of rolling out a membership/subscription option. Feedback from designers was overwhelmingly positive and I was excited for the big launch. Unfortunately, I realised that I didn’t have the time or infrastructure in place for the roll-out, so needed to pump the brakes. That was pretty tough on me. I put a lot of time and effort into its creation, all while running an independent graphic design business. With a commitment to my wife and three kiddos that I’d limit work to 40–45 hours per week I needed to put things on hold until I had right people in place.
My vision is to pivot Logo Wave into more of a designer ecosystem. Members will have access to our job board with qualified and primarily remote logo/branding/identity gigs. We’ll also have a community forum where like-minded branding designers can support each other and access exclusive discounts on design-centric products such as Adobe CC, Dribbble, etc. and other perks/resources. We’ll still have the logo awards as the cornerstone, with the prizes and recognition that offers.
Fast forward to the time of this writing, I’ve slowly added new team members and I’m hopeful for a 2023 beta launch of the new membership experience. Designers can reach out here to be a part of our beta.
I’ve also learned that I have a heart for students and less-experienced creatives. I want to give the next generation a chance to stand out in a crowded marketplace. And this is how Logo Wave Students came to be.
It’s structured differently. In short, we’ve partnered with universities to bring the competition to the classroom. Whether it’s helping final year students land their dream studio job, or helping attract qualified clients to their independent design businesses, the mission is to make a positive impact on the careers of design students across the globe.
Have you had any issues with the making or supply of your trophies?
We had difficult experiences with our first two trophy providers. Items not delivered on time, suppliers forgetting to engrave the winners names, poor customer experience. The list goes on.
In 2021, Katie Totheroh and the team at Awarding You came along as a breath of fresh air. They’ve been outstanding, taking the custom trophy design I created and producing a perfect replica. Their turnaround times, quality of work, and communication have been superb.
How can designers enter the awards?
Upload your logos here, 900 x 900px on a white background, and you’re all set. We get an average of three logos per designer/studio, per wave, and the maximum upload amount is ten. Here are the entry details and other relevant info.
It’s a pleasure to be part of the esteemed jury, Kyle, and here’s to much success with the membership launch.
Calvary Church, by Logan Brazeau
Crib Genie, by Adolfo Teixeira
Mujahid, by Shyam Agarwal
Penguin Brand, by Francesco Vittorioso
Fox Stevenson, by Samadara Ginige
Kieran Hawes, self-designed
Art as Therapy, by Nothing
Baby Zebra, by Mr Simc
Tiki Tonga Coffee, by John Vingoe
Thanks so much for the feature spot, David! Grateful for you!
Such a great award platform. Accessible for any logo designer out there for an affordable price. Good job Kyle!
Really appreciate the kind words, Ruud. You’re a good man!