If you own an independent brokerage or if you’re an agent with a personal brand identity, this post is for you!

At VAR we don’t have a full-time graphic designer. Aside from some small Photoshop and Microsoft Publisher projects taken on by staff, we don’t often exercise our amateur graphic artist skills (and that’s probably a good thing!). Outsourcing graphic design can be challenging, though, in that it often takes multiple back-and-forth conversations with an artist to get the project just right. Furthermore, by working with a single graphic designer for a project, you are locked in to one person’s creativity. That can be frustratingly limiting.

When our marketing team needed to get a few logos designed, we decided to try something different instead of calling on one of our graphic design firms. We contacted Worth1000.com, an online graphic design portal where budding and accomplished artists compete in design challenges and competitions. This is a kind of crowdsourcing, an evolution of outsourcing made possible by the internet and online communities.

At Worth1000.com we’re currently running three design competitions. One to redesign the Virginia REALTOR® Leadership Academy logo, another to create a logo for the expo theme at VAR’s Convention & Expo 2008 (now open for registration, by the way), and one more to create a logo for IdealRoute.com (a new VAR service that helps REALTORS® save time and gas).

The benefit of crowdsourcing our graphic design is that we get to see a wide array designs from multiple creative people.

Here’s how it works: We created three contests with prize money going to the winning design. We set up certain rules for the competition to ensure the designs are in line with our standards. Designs can be submitted during a seven day period and afterwards the Worth1000.com community votes for the best design. Ultimately, VAR gets to choose the design competitions’ winners, but the community votes will help us in our decision-making process. Rights to the design are transferred to VAR upon determining the winner. Many artists are willing to tweak the winning design if we want to make minor changes.

We’d like your help on this project! If you know any graphic artists, please forward this information to them. Also, when voting begins on Saturday, please take a look at the submissions and vote for your favorites; it really will help us make our decision.

If you’re an independent broker in need of a company logo, or an agent with a personal brand, Worth1000.com might be an option for you. You might also look at Crowdspring.com, a similar service.

We’ll report back here on VARbuzz with our winning designs and to talk about our experience.