Japanese startups find creativity at Crowdworks


Crowdworks is the Japanese equivalent of design crowdsourcing sites like Logo Tournament or 99designs. It launched in March of 2012 and its total number of registered creators and engineers surpassed 7,000 in October of the same year. To date, more than 3,600 small businesses have used the site.

Among the small businesses that leverage crowdsourcing, tech startups are apparently very active in using the service to create new logos and app icons. Here are some of the tech companies that have used Crowdworks for creative inspiration and what those winning designs look like.


crowdworks-millmiil is basically a sort of Instagram for foodies. You can like and comment on each other’s food photos, and find out nearby restaurants and photos shared there.

On Crowdworks, the startup asked for a new icon they could use for the app store, and paid 30,000 yen (about $320) to get the job done. 36 designs were submitted in total.


crowdworks_gunosyBy looking at your Facebook and Twitter accounts, Gunosy curates news articles best suited for each user. The news can be viewed on the Gunosy website, received by email, or simply read in their app. The service launched in October of 2011 and gained over 76,000 users as of this month.

Gunosy was looking for a cover image for their Facebook page and found one they liked from the 19 designs submitted. Considering the tech savvy user demographic, the very modern design really suits the brand.


crowdworks_takumenTakumen is an e-commerce service for well-known ramen spots all over Japan.

Takumen offered creators 20,000 yen (about $213) for a logo for a new ramen shop called Sakuta-ya. 34 different designs were submitted, and a very manly black and red logo won the competition.

Samurai International

crowdworks_samuraiThe startup was seeking a logo for a new music application which has racked up over 2 million downloads to date. The app auto-plays selected music from YouTube, so it was essential that the logo reflects that connection with YouTube.

From the 18 submitted designs, the startup chose a very simple logo with a musical note.


crowdworks_poicaPoica is a smartphone app that carries all of your point cards in one handy place. Readers may recall our video review of the app earlier this month.

The startup used Crowdworks to create introductory business cards to give out to people they meet. The 40,000 yen prize (about $426) was won with a simple white and green design, out of 15 designs.

Crowdworks recently partnered with Yahoo! Crowdsourcing this past January, teaming up to make the service the largest crowdsourcing site in Japan. Other small businesses are leveraging the site as well, including a local beer manufacturer in Atsugi. You can see some pretty labels for the new spring beer here.