Kickstarter has made the process of starting a business a lot easier, but running a successful contest that reaches your funding goal isn’t always as easy as making a potato salad. Kickstarter design counts, and it counts a lot. Campaigns that look professional inspire more trust, and more trust means more backers (and more money).
But design costs money. And if you had money, you wouldn’t be running a crowdfunding campaign! So what’s an entrepreneur to do?
Lucky for you, the internet exists. Crowdsourced design services (like 99designs. Oh hey!) allow up-and-coming entrepreneurs to get wow-worthy design for I-haven’t-even-run-a-successful-crowdfunding-campaign-yet prices.
But what do you do with all of this awesome design? Read on for some crowd funding crowd sourced design inspiration. (We won’t even try to make you say that one three times fast.)
Kick start your brand identity
Have you ever heard of a product that sounds like it would really great, but when you google the company their logo looks like it was designed by their nine-year-old nephew and their website somehow time traveled here from 1996? And you totally judge them and decide not to purchase their product? Yeah, you don’t want that to happen when a potential backer scopes your Kickstarter page.
Creating a company logo before you launch your campaign shows people that you’ve put time and energy into your project—this isn’t just a whim that you won’t follow through on. Having a professional designer create a great logo before you launch takes it one step further, demonstrating that you not only have the drive, but the skills. You understand who your customer is, what your product is and you’re ready to take on the competition from day one.
Want some proof? Lets look at a couple of successful campaigns that started with a logo:
HaloVino wine glasses
Former sommelier Jessica Bell had a problem: too many venues didn’t allow visitors to bring glass containers. And she was tired of drinking good wine out of cheap, disposable cups. So she invented HaloVino, a shatterproof polymer wine glass shaped like a real goblet and designed to accentuate a wine’s best qualities.
Before Bell launched her Kickstarter campaign, she came to 99designs to create the perfect logo, which would accent the unique element of her glasses: the halo ring which makes them stackable.
She then used this logo on her featured image and video on Kickstarter. The result? HaloVino raised $26,647, or 78% more than their goal of $15,000. We’ll drink to that!
Completing my logo work through 99designs allowed me to go to the market on Kickstarter with a professional looking concept for relatively little money. I also loved the ability to poll my friends and family on the look of the logo. It gave me a valid excuse to share with everyone my upcoming plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign. I was able to start creating a buzz and excitement before I launched, which is so instrumental to having a successful campaign.
—Jessica Bell, Founder of HaloVino
The Freedom Case for Microsoft Surface
Tablet cases are a dime a dozen, so the creators behind the FreedomCase for Microsoft Surface knew they had to do something to make theirs stand out. The came to 99designs seeking a logo that highlighted the unique flexibility of their product.
FreedomCase did their research before they launched. Testers thought their product was “sleek” and “elegant,” making it a perfect high-end option. But high-end buyers (or backers) are even more insistent that the products they use are professional. By featuring their colorful, stylish logo on their Kickstarter’s featured image (and having an awesome product), the FreedomCase team was able to raise $144,109, which is more than three times the $40,000 they were seeking.
Design your campaign page
Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, you wouldn’t meet potential investors wearing a t-shirt, sneakers and a pair of faded jeans. The same is true for Kickstarter. You don’t want to launch a fundraising campaign on a page that looks like you woke up in the middle of the night and scribbled some notes down… without putting your glasses on.
A lot of people underestimate the importance of their Kickstarter page design. You just throw up a couple of photos and make sure your friend who was an English major in college proofreads your copy, right?
Wrong. There’s a reason the entire field of user experience design exists. A website’s navigation and layout can have a drastic impact on sales. Same with a Kickstarter page and contributions: the way you layout your content and illustrate key points can make or break your campaign.
The folks behind WEMAGIN had one goal: online data privacy. They invented a USB device that users could plug into any computer, giving them the opportunity to use the internet without leaving any trackable data behind.
Originally operating from the founder’s living room, the company—like most startups—didn’t have much of a budget, so they turned to crowdsourcing when they needed expertise they didn’t have in-house. That included having their Kickstarter page professionally designed. Being able to illustrate their security features, compare themselves to the competition with a visual checklist and highlight their packages helped them raise close to $55,000 ($5,000 more than their goal).
WEMAGIN isn’t alone in understanding the importance of a professional-looking campaign page and the value of crowdsourcing. Mint came to 99designs to design sections of the IndieGoGo page for their oral-health breathometer.
Their designer was able to breath (ha!) some personality into their campaign’s page, giving a fresh look (haha!) to their list of perks. And guess what? It worked! They raised almost $120,000, or 326% of their initial goal.
Offer incentives that actually incentivize
A lot of Kickstarter campaigns offer incentives that seem like an afterthought. Sure, a mug with your awesome new logo on it seems like a great gift to you and your mom, and hey, an opportunity for some marketing, right? But take a second and think about this: do your backers really want a mug with your company name on it?
Incentives that backers actually want can help push a crowdfunding campaign over the edge, and allows you to grow your base from loyal friends and customers who want the product to succeed, to those who are just doing it for the sweet swag. (And hey, all exposure is good exposure!)
Precision Coffee Grinder
When Handground needed funding to start production on their precision coffee grinder, designed with the serious coffee aficionado in mind, they took the crowd sourced idea one step further and offered their backers the opportunity to help them choose their own incentive t-shirt from among their contest finalists.
The result? A really unique t-shirt that any coffee drinker would love to wear. It also came with a cool story since the ink used to print the shirts was made from coffee! Oh, and their campaign was selected as a Kickstarter staff pick and was wildly successful, raising over $300,000 (ten times more than their original goal)!
It may sound like something intended for surfers or skaters, but the Wurf Board is actually designed for office employees who like working at a standing desk but don’t enjoy the accompanying foot and leg pain.
Like Handground, the folks behind the Wurf Board understood the importance of offering their Kickstarter investors professionally designed incentives, so they asked our designers to create some fun t-shirts in classic surf style. The shirts look like something you would purchase on the beach boardwalk, giving their campaign a fun personality and making backers take notice.
Kickstarter design isn’t over when your campaign ends
As important as the fundraising part of your journey is, the work doesn’t stop there. Many entrepreneurs forget to include an important part of their product’s production in initial budgeting estimates: the packaging design.
If you’ve found yourself in that position, or just want to make your product look it’s best—think about what’s more appealing when you’re grocery shopping: the name-brand packages or the generic versions?), crowd sourced design can give you a top-of-the-line look for a startup budget, which will keep the revenue rolling in once the campaign is over and the real work begins.
ZenDock had a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, raising over $100,000 (and 267% of their goal) for their docking station for Mac users. Once their campaign was complete, they used some of their extra funds to design sleek, professional boxes for their product.
Their packaging takes it from idea to reality: they always knew they had a great product, but the box adds that final professional touch, making it store-ready.
It’s not just Kickstarter entrepreneurs who need to think about their packaging: after running a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch her solo musical career, Bree Whitworth found herself in need of an album cover that captured her quirky pop style to help her music sell. As an artist with very limited funds, crowdsourced design is a great option: not only does it offer high quality design at a low cost, but album covers (and other creative endeavors) are always popular among designers, as they give them opportunities to be creative and help out a fellow artist.
If you’re thinking of launching a Kickstarter campaign, it’s because you’ve got a great idea, but money is tight. This is one of those situations where a little investment can go a long way. That’s because image is important when you’re asking strangers to hand over their money. The more professional your brand looks, the better your chances of success.