99designs is a design website that harnesses the power of technology and crowdsourcing to give you the best experience possible. This easy-to-use website walks you through a huge array of choices to help you really define what kind of design you’re looking for, and then it gives you the option to either choose a designer outright or start a competition for your business. This “design contest” feature offers you the benefit of seeing ideas from numerous artists and designers before making your choice. Unlike a traditional design site, these design contests allow any designer on the platform to pitch their ideas, giving the customer unprecedented breadth of choices. The higher the prize you post, the more people will be attracted to your contest, allowing you to get the most value for your money. We hope our 99designs review will help you figure out if this is the right fit for you.
This site began in 2008 when a group of designers working together on SitePoint saw an opportunity to use their friendly competition in a different way. Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz, with the support of Lachlan Donald and Paul Annesley, created the site as a place where designers could connect with the growing market as freelancers. The original idea expanded quickly as more and more designers joined in, eventually creating what exists today–a community of more than 250,000 designers around the world that have served over 444,306 businesses! The love of design is central to 99designs, and they continue to grow and expand to better meet the needs of their freelancers and clients.
Getting started on 99designs is pretty simple. Below is a brief summary of the three major steps for using the site:
Write a brief—This is a short document explaining what you’re looking for and any specific requirements for your design. You’ll start by selecting the category of design you’re looking for (logo, website, label, etc.), and then the site will lead you through a series of questions to start defining the look you want, including choosing designs that appeal to you and a color palette. The whole process only takes a few minutes, but it’s worth taking the time to answer carefully as this will give parameters to the designers for your project.
Pick a designer—You can either let the website match you with a designer based on your brief, or you can choose a competition format which will allow multiple designers to submit ideas for you to choose from. Competitions will generally last for seven days, with the first four being open submissions and the last three being a “final round.” During the first days of the competition, you can give feedback to all of the designers, and then at the end of that time, you will be required to choose up to six of the designers to continue to the end. You can continue to communicate with your top choices for a few more days until you choose the final winner.
Perfect your design—Whichever route you choose to pick a designer, once you establish a partnership, you will work directly with your designer to tweak the final product into exactly what you’re looking for. After the competition ends, your designer will sign the rights over to you and send you the final files (the type of file will vary by what type of design you requested).
- High success ratings (4.7/5 stars)
- Quick turnaround time with designers from around the world
- Huge number of designers means lots of talent for competitions
- Well-established with customer service and a money back guarantee on design packages
- The website walks you through the brief process to help you really understand your taste, so if you aren’t quite sure what you want, you can still end up with the perfect design
- Not the cheapest service—packages for a single logo start at just under $300 with the prize and fees included
Overall, our 99designs review puts it at the top of its game for crowdsourcing design. The huge base of designers also ensures that there will always be lots of talented artists available to offer bids. Everything is organized into payment packages that include everything, so there are no hidden fees that will pop up later.
If you’re looking for a straightforward and simple way of getting a top-quality design, this site is for you. If you’re on a tight budget and are looking for the best value without all the bells and whistles, it’s still a good option, but you may want to check out our comparison table to find some more affordable options.