Marcus Lemonis offered $10,000 to design this Beyond logo on spec

Last year, when Overstock announced it would change its name after buying a bankrupt Bed Bath & Beyond, it was quickly hailed as one of the best rebrands of all time. But the brand’s new parent company, Beyond, still needed a new logo. Last month, board member Marcus Lemonis did something unconventional—and generally frowned upon in the design community: He put out a call on social media asking for designs on spec.

“I’m paying $10,000 for the best design of this icon and logo,” Lemonis, who is also CEO of Camping World and star of CNBC’s The Profit, told his followers on X. “Must be a shade of green. Must be web and app friendly. Spread the word.”

Of course, the price of a new logo can vary widely, from a few bucks on Fiverr to upwards of $1 million, which Pepsi reportedly paid for its rebrand in 2008. But even on Fiverr, many designers don’t work on spec, since there’s no guarantee they will ever be compensated for their efforts. Still, hundreds of submissions for the new Beyond logo rolled in from the masses on social media, which ranged from bland and basic to strange and absurd.

This week, after monthslong calls for Lemonis to take over management of the company, Beyond announced Lemonis would be its executive chairman. And Lemonis revealed he’d chosen new branding for Beyond: a concept from Sightbox, a Fullerton, California-based studio that works with tech startups. Within five weeks, the studio delivered a new visual identity along with a new website.

[Image: Sightbox]

“We pitched them the whole website and brand system, a whole bunch of stuff, a whole bunch of creative, and they basically hired us on the spot,” Sightbox cofounder and CEO Charlie Hinojosa tells Fast Company.

The logo Sightbox created for the brand isn’t going to win any awards or join the Nike Swoosh or McDonald’s Golden Arches in the pantheon of iconic brand marks. But in graphic design, sometimes you get what you pay for.

[Image: Sightbox]

The new logo contains a circular shape within a square. The square is intended to evoke a home floorplan, says Hinojosa, with corners that jut out to suggest expansion. The circular shape looks like four seats around a table.

Between the logo and the website, the effort comes across as rather slapdash, which makes sense considering the project’s limitations. The images on the website were primarily generated with AI, Sightbox tells Fast Company. It used Midjourney and the company’s brand strategy to create images of key marketing personas based on gender, age, ethnicity, and more, while overhead shots were designed to mirror the logo with square symmetrical environments, “which would have been almost impossible with stock,” Hinojosa says.

[Screenshot: Beyond]

This week, Beyond reported a $161 million Q4 loss. Its former CEO, Jonathan Johnson, stepped down last year in the face of pressure from a hedge fund that blamed him for the company’s poor financial performance.

Speed and cost were important factors in its design choices, the company confirmed. “We were eager to connect to consumers through the use of lifestyle images, showing real families in real home environments,” says Carlisha Robinson, chief product officer at Beyond. “Typically, this would have been cost- and time-prohibitive for our launch timeline, so we were happy they offered solutions through the use of AI.”

As a parent company, Beyond houses Bed Bath & Beyond, Baby & Beyond, and Overstock. The updated website promises more to come: brands like Kids & Beyond, College Living, and Backyard.com, as well as Beyond Home Loans to offer home equity lines of credit.

Hinojosa says Lemonis was drawn to his studio’s fast-paced work with startups and described the chairman’s vision of the company as more like a startup than a traditional public company. Lemonis says he was happy with the results of his design contest. He posted again on X Friday, offering $10,000 for a new Overstock logo design.

“Modern communication through social media unlocks relationships that no one could predict,” Lemonis said in a statement to Fast Company. “Our company found gold in the mine with Sightbox, which has allowed us to accelerate our strategy at a pace we couldn’t have achieved on our own.”

Update, February 23, 2024: This article has been updated with information about Lemonis’s Overstock logo contest.