ATTENTION Designers: Stan Lee Needs You!

Man, Stan Lee is a busy man.  You may have seen us catch up with him in San Diego and get a taste from that about how busy Stan is, but he just won't rest!  In fact, he has recently launched The Stan Lee Foundation, which is a charity committed to promoting literacy, education, and the arts.  The newly formed foundation needs a logo and that's where you come in!

The Stan Lee Foundation has teamed up with Talenthouse to create a contest for aspiring designers to submit logo designs for the foundation.  The winner of the contest will have their logo used by the foundation on all of their materials and be given an award by Stan Lee himself at the New York Comic-Con.

Now, I know we have a ton of talented people in the iFanbase, so get cracking and submit some logos! We'd love to brag about how someone from our awesome community won this contest!

Submit your entries over on Talenthouse's website >


  1. I’d agree with the rest that commercial spec work is bad, HOWEVER…this is a charity (non profit?) that seems to be legit. As a board member of an AIGA chapter i’m fairly certain that the organization’s position on spec work doesn’t apply to pro bono work for charitable organizations. Its quite common for some of the biggest firms in the world to do this kind of work on a regular basis. That being said, proceed at your own risk and make your own judgments. 

    I’d be interested to know if the Stan Lee foundation would provide tax information so you could write it off as a donation at your rate?

  2. @Wally: I was waiting for that one and I agree. Designers must make an informed decision, hence my link bomb.

  3. @jumping–i think the spirit of the AIGA position was to discourage a particular practice that had become mainstay in the business….Client needs work done…approaches 5 firms and says "i’ll hire you if i like your idea" so all 5 of those firms do A LOT of work to get the account…4 of them get screwed in the end. It had become the only way to land a big account and was hurting the industry and value for design as a whole. 

    Pro bono work is different in that these groups struggle to have the money to pursue their own mission let alone pay outside vendors for help…and therein enters the one takes you seriously if you don’t have a good brand; brands cost money; charities have no money. 

    That all being said…its not like Stan Lee or his corporate partners are poor.  

  4. @Wally: I’m 100% in agreement with you. Including your last sentence.

  5. i like you guys

  6. I love that the community here at iFanboy seems to really understand the value of an artist’s time and the value they bring to projects, I wish the rest of the business community would see this as well. You guys rock!!!

    This seems to be a good cause and really, any excuse to design something is tempting. and it sounds pretty cool and actually made me excited about the foundation’s cause. I personally hate designing for contests cause there’s never enough info given to really understand how the foundation (or whatever) wants to be seen or what kind of feel they want to communicate. It’s like asking for the best drawing of a dog, but not saying what kind of dog, so you’ll get great drawings of a poodle or wolf or boxers or whatever and you’ll get fun cartoony drawings  of all the various varieties of dogs so it’s frustrating when you lose a contest cause it’s like, if I"d known they wanted a cartoon of a wolf then at least I’d have had a better shot instead of submitting my poodle on the podium image.  

     So many options. . .   

     I’m hungry. . .     

  7. Contests tend to not yield the best results for the client and it is often, not always bad business practice which hurts professional designers. This is why I opened the discussion.

  8. Design contests are just a fancy new term for Spec work. Think about it, you’re a company you need work done but dont’ want to or can’t pay for it you can still get "good enough quality". For a small "prize fee" that would be a minescule fraction of what they’d get billed by the smallest design studio, they can have dozens of quasi decentoptions to choose from. Its incredibly bad for the artist/designer. 

    Something i learned years ago from working on set in Hollywood. When you start off working as "The Free Guy" thats all they’ll ever see you as. The paying gigs rarely ever come from free gigs, and when they do its still low pay. Its all about respect and how much you think you and your work is worth.  

    Designers and artists should take every opportunity to preach about good business practices. =) 

  9. The mystique is persistent. Almost each and every on eof my prospective clients thinks spec is the standard way to do things. A re-education is necessary in every case.

  10. Meant to say, "That, is a problem for all of us." Not "a probably". 🙂

  11. I think that you guys have a point, it just depends on perspective I guess.

    It IS a non-profit like was said above.  It IS a really good resume builder for aspiring artists as well which I dont think has been mentioned yet. Not too mention, it’s a good cause.

    This kind of stuff in my opinion, isn’t what’s hurting professional designers, this is:

    Logos, banners, even web sites, designed for $5. And there are MANY designers/artists willing to do it for that price.

    That is a probably for all of us. 

  12. It’s only a good resumé builder if you win which is next to impossible because their is no creative brief. It’s a crapshoot. You might enter 12 contests, work 240 hours (which really isn’t much for designing logos), win none of the contests and still have nothing to add to your portfolio. All that time would be better spent hunting for paying jobs, interships, designing stuff at a discount for friends, doing pro bono work for your community or working on mock projects all things that would get you as much and probably more attention from prospective employers. Additinally, many contests tend to contractually retain the rights to the work so that it is no longer attributable to you but it becomes their intellectual property (I’m not saying that is the case here).

    So I’d be more inclined to say a contest is most often a terrible resumé builder.

    The contests devalue not only the designer but ultimately the brand itself. It’s really a lose-lose business wise (ethics aside). The foundation would have been better off getting a firm or an experienced freelancer willing to do this pro bono or at a drastically reduced price.

    In my opinion, it’s not a matter of perspective but a matter of education. Once a client understands the value of a proper creative process for brand building they start to see the disadvantage of contests. Sometimes.

    I just want clients to get good brands and I want designers to get good jobs.

  13. Agreed….these contests give you almost nothing to go on so you can’t really do a good job. All you can do is make a trendy, derivative thing, throw it to the wall and hope it sticks.  

    The point i was making is that when one guy takes a gig for free it effects me because it creates a culture where what i do for a living is thought of as a free commodity. You might not think it trickles down but it does.

    Its the same in comics. When one guy undercuts another’s page rate or whatever he/she is screwing over all their buddies and colleagues because that lower rate gets leveraged and then others start to lower their rates to get work. They have helped to lower the baseline of what a quality of work is valued at. Its easier to lower pay rates than raise them by vast numbers. 

    Sometimes those cheap guys are great for the business though…They create new clients for me and my company when they realize no one takes them seriously and they need to invest in real design and branding. lol. Seriously part of our new client presentation has to do with the value of design and how cheap work = cheap brands which = no revenue for you. 

    I still support pro bono work for the right kinds of organizations. The fine line between "we’re in desperate need, and i just don’t need to pay for that" is a fine one.  

  14. "Sometimes those cheap guys are great for the business though…They create new clients for me and my company when they realize no one takes them seriously and they need to invest in real design and branding."

    It is indeed a two-edged sword. 🙂

  15. Did any of you guys or gals, look at the link I provided?


    794 designers ready to design your logo, for $5!  Seriously, if that doesn’t scare you, you are already well to do in your field and have no need to enter such contests.

     For those that are still trying to make it, they have nothing but a few hours of their time to lose for the chance of a lifetime! 

    I’m sure they would rather spend their time designing for the Stan Lee Foundation’s project, than making $5 off someone else’s project.

    BE CLEAR, their are many, many artists/designers who are taking whatever they can get to survive $5 at a time. (SAD but TRUE). Just check the link.

    If they win this contest, maybe they can stop working for slave wages and charge what you "established" guys and gals charge.

    You should encourage those individuals to submit their logo design for this opportunity instead of bashing the opportunity itself. I would hate to miss this chance because someone who is more established than myself said it would be a waste of time.

    Established artist should be helping and enncouraging aspiring artists. It seems to me that is EXACTLY what the Stan Lee Foundation and Talenthouse are all about.

    No risk, no reward. No pain, no gain. Life is gamble, shoot the dice and see if you win…pass the dice and you lost already.


  16. @joint: I checked th lin, it’s pretty ugly.

    I’m all for contributing to a nonprofit organization on a pro bono basis, but running a contest is still not good for the industry. If they want a logo for free they should just hire one person to do it at no cost. 
    It’s ridiculous how everyone now thinks that acquiring design services via contests and free concepts is standard practice, and not just non profits either. This type of thing is not good for designers or clients. 
  18. For ALL of you that commented in this thread, here is a follow up that should interest you greatly. 

    Here is a video you should watch:

    This is a video of the Legend Stan Lee himself at Comic-Con New York, presenting the award for the logo design to the winner of the contest.

    Talenthouse flew the winner out from the Dominican Republic to NY,  and Talenthouse paid for the winner to stay at the SOHO House.

    Stan Lee Foundation and Talenthouse provided this once in a lifetime opportunity (wish I would have won, but at least I tried) that NO amount of money can buy.

    Imagine being able to stand in Times Square, during Comic-Con, and seeing your logo design illuminating the whole building! 

    Well, that is EXACTLY what the winning designer got to do. I get goosebumps each time I watch the part of the video of him taking a picture of his logo lighting up that building.

    Talenthouse and the Stan Lee Foundation changed this designers life for the better.

    PS. Talenthouse and the Stan Lee Foundation are going to do it again. See the teaser to design a new super hero for the Stan Lee Foundation: