We're planning to re-build our product identity (which has never been built in the first place, it just came out of nowhere).
Obviously, we're somewhat tight on money, so hiring a professional designer is out of our reach at this moment. Also, we're incubated by a university startup incubator and the university has a design department.
Is it a good idea to launch a contest to build our product identity, reserved to design students, and give away a prize (not money, but a cool gadget like an iPod or something) to the one we select?
How would that compare to an intern in your opinion?
If you're looking for a graphic designer to help design your brand identity (logo, colors, font, etc...) 99designs.com is good as mentioned above but there are a couple others for this - 99desk.com or crowdspring.com as well. $100-$300 cost + they'll deliver to you in a format from which you can have business cards / stationery done.
If you're looking for product design - you need an industrial designer.
Hope this helps!
the new venture branding + marketing agency™
Go to 99designs.com You can run a design contest for around 300 dollars. You only pay for the one you like the best.
There are a lot of places online, where a lot of talented designers are hanging out. If $300 is still a stretch, have a contest and offer a product, say an iPod. But remember, you get what you pay for. If you need an original identity design that works online, stationary and wherever else you need it -- you need a professional with experience. Most of the time you can view portfolios online.
Beware of those cookie-cutter logo mills. They are cheap but one day you may come across a logo like yours but for a different company. To avoid this, community-based contest approach is the best way to go.
Best of luck.