Sometimes the most overwhelming part about hosting a contest can be choosing a winner from all the great entries.

But there are a few steps you, as a contest holder, can take to help make selecting a winner – and the perfect design – a little easier.

1. Contests Should Include Detailed Information

Make sure to tell designers exactly what you are looking for if you have a concept in mind. Explain and provide color swatches if you want to maintain certain branding schemes.

You can also provide as much detail as you want in the design brief. Are you looking for a logo that must contain the image of a bird? Make sure to explain that clearly from the start.

2. Make the Prize Worthwhile

Prize money for each contest should be on par with what you are asking for.

Designs that require more work on the part of the designer should have higher values. For example, if you are looking for a website design that includes multiple pages, set the contest value higher than if you were seeking a single page design.

Remember, designers will scan available contests looking for higher prize amounts. You want your contest to jump out of the mix for the best results.

3. Communicate with Designers During Contests

Don’t wait until a contest ends to work with designers on entries; communicate throughout the process so that you and the designers have a clear understanding of where a design is going.

Designers will often chat with you about ideas and you should be willing to tell them exactly what you think. Constructive criticism is acceptable and will help designers better understand what you are looking for.

The Design Contest commenting system was recently upgraded to include filtering, the ability to reply to specific comments and pop-up messages. It is a great tool to help contest holders and designers open a dialog.

4. Eliminate and Rate Designs

Narrow the field for your contest as it progresses by eliminating unwanted designs. This will make it easier for you to see only the concepts that appeal to you. (Just remember to let designers know why their entries have been eliminated.)

On the other hand, make sure to rate designs you like highly. The ratings process will help you keep track of concepts and help designers earn credit toward future design entries. (You might get the opportunity to work with a designer that you liked but did not choose in another contest.)

5. Trust Your Instincts

Finally when it comes down to making a final selection, trust your instincts. Which design are you the most drawn to? Which one did you like immediately?

Even if there are some things you would like to change, follow that gut reaction. You will be happier with the end result in the long term.

Then, ensure that the design is perfect by working with the designer on details that you would like adjusted. Discuss if a color is not quite right or if a font needs adjustment.