99designs is the crowdsourcing design marketplace that is probably first-to-mind for most people. I first learned about the company at a conference in 2008, and since then the Melbourne, Australia-based business has grown by leaps and bounds.
In fact, 99designs has thousands of active design contests and pays out more than $1.5 million to designers each month!
In any freelance or crowdsourcing platform, the level of activity and engagement from the community is paramount. The worst feeling is to go through the trouble of creating an account, paying the fee to escrow, and then hearing the crickets chirp when no one submits any responses.
At the time of this writing, 99designs contests are receiving an average of 110 entries, so you should have plenty to choose from.
How it Works
As the name suggests, 99designs specializes in crowdsourced graphic design work. The platform is a good place to turn for logo design, web design, print media, mobile apps, promotional materials, t-shirts, and more.
If you don’t have ongoing design work, it makes sense to get it done one-time at a place like this instead of hiring an on-site or virtual assistant designer.
To start a design contest with 99designs, you go through this detailed questionnaire about your business and what kind of designs you might like. I think this feature is definitely a strength. When I went through they had sample logos, descriptive words, and colors and their common associations.
You can even upload other logos you like or choose from a sample gallery. It forces you to think about the kind of design you’re looking for and gives the army of designers something to base their work on.
Plans and Pricing
Logo design starts at $299, and web page design starts at $599.
On the lower end of the spectrum you can find card and invitation design (like custom wedding invitations), apparel design, and banner ads all starting at $149. There are several pricing tiers, and as you might guess, the higher price points attract more designers into the contest.
The turnaround time is roughly a week from beginning to end, and each 99designs contest comes with their risk-free money back guarantee. If you don’t like any of the designs you receive, you can get a complete refund.
I’m in the process of experimenting with getting some banner ads done at Fiverr. For 30x the price, I expect the quality would be much higher at 99designs, but depending on your needs it might not be worth it.
If you want to try making a free logo, check out the templates and tools at Logo Garden. You can play around and generate a logo yourself for free, and you only have to pay if you need a copy of the high-resolution file.
Have you had design work done on 99designs? Please leave a short review below and help others with their decision.