Brandstack: The Good, the Bad, and the Self-Congratulation

Written by Tech

Posted from: South Carolina

You know when someone you’ve been badmouthing pays you a compliment, and you’re suddenly left with a choice of being disingenuously nice in return or having to run back up to that moral highground you should have parked your butt on in the first place? Since, not my favorite site in the universe, just promoted a couple of my works, I’m making up a third option, which is “blog about the whole thing at length then forget about it”.

For those of you who haven’t stumbled on it yet, Brandstack is a marketplace for agency-quality pre-made brand concepts and logos. Designers set the prices for their concepts with an enforced minimum of $250.00 per logo, and provide the vector files and a couple of preview images. I won’t lie, a bunch of the stuff on there is pretty awesome, and there are some generous dollops of pure genius. The beauty of the whole thing is that many of the logos available on Brandstack would easily go for $20,000 or more if produced by a full-service agency, so it’s nice to see top-shelf design becoming affordable to smaller businesses.

That said, I never was much of a Brandstack fan. Evaluating from a position of pure ego, when I started sending stuff in, they rejected my first 6 uploads, which made me hassa sads.

Evaluating it from a position of pure avarice, sales numbers on the marketplace are fairly low; I guestimate about one sale for an average of 15 accepted logo uploads. And why shouldn’t they be low? You’re not selling a logo, you’re selling someone a complete conceptual vision for their business. Considering that someone who buys a pre-made logo has to share the designer’s taste, direction and aesthetic, it’s the digital version of putting a baby up for adoption. If you can tear out a fantastic logo in an hour, then you might upload a ton of concepts and turn a solid profit. If you’re like me, and it takes you several weeks of pacing, drawing, deleting, shaking the monitor, walking away, coming back, turning cartwheels, brainstorming, drinking coffee, having ideas, rejecting ideas and eating Skittles, then it’s worse than working on spec.

I rarely use the site – it’s become more of a dumping ground for logo concepts that never made it past round 1 of a client design process, but which I’m particularly fond of, and an outlet for random creative impulses.

So imagine my surprise when this afternoon, two of my concepts were featured in the Brandstack Favs. I’d like to say I took the shiny red “Favs” banner as a matter of course, but the truth is that I made audible squealing noises and emailed all my friends.

Below is my favorite of the two, a brand concept for “Deserter“:

Brandstack: Deserter Logo and Brand Concept

This concept was pure accident – I was moving a group of outlined characters in Illustrator, forgot to select the “r”, and there it was. It just needed some feet.

And the second, Up & Away Adventures:

Logo Concept: Up and Away Adventures

I’m still not 100% sold on Brandstack. But I do think I’m coming to appreciate it as a showcase. Having someone else evaluate your work, even arbitrarily and out of project context, is a good way to pass your skills through the fire.

And now onto more pressing concerns, like what is the projected shelf-life of an Otter Pop, exactly? And could I unwrap and enjoy one after several millenia, like an Explorer’s Club member eating prehistoric mammoth meat?