The 99% on 99Designs: crowdsources logo search

Snazzy logos aren’t just for corporations anymore., the soon-to-be-launched website for the international Occupy protest movement, has turned to the online graphic design marketplace 99Designs to find a logo.

The “Occupy 99Designs” design contest, which launched Wednesday and will run until February 8, has garnered nearly 400 entries in its first few hours online. The winner will get $1,000 and, most importantly, a ton of exposure. According to the contest page: “This logo will live on and @occupy on twitter. It will go on billboards, on TV, in magazines, on sidewalks, street walls, T-shirts, hats, postcards, on everything you can imagine — all over the world.”

Here’s more about what Occupy is looking for:

“We are challenging designers to think beyond the iconic Clenched Fist and create a new iconic symbol for resistance, solidarity and empowerment in the 21st century. It should appeal to a broad base and reflect the diversity of the 99%, while encompassing the values of the Occupy Movement – among them, integrity, justice, freedom, equality, compassion, community and true democracy.”

The logo contest on 99Designs (click to enlarge)

It may seem a bit funny that a movement that seems to be against all things corporate is looking for branding of its own. But in a way, it actually makes a lot of sense: There’s something to be said for fighting fire with fire, and having a more polished image would be a big step toward legitimacy for a movement that has been criticized for not having a unified message. And turning to a crowdsourced design site like 99Designs is more in keeping with Occupy’s message of being by and for the people than, say, commissioning a fancy custom design firm.

It makes me think of how in the Autobiography of Malcolm X published in 1968, the iconic activist wrote about why he dressed in tailored suits and ties: “In order to get something, you had to look like you already had something.” It looks like nearly 50 years later, the Occupy movement is trying to do the same thing in a modern way — on the web.