May 24, 2021
99Designs is a crowdsourcing platform that lets you pay to create a design contest. You can create a design contest for just about anything from Logo designs, brochures, marketing materials to web designs. Prices for the contest depending on the design category.
We decided to explore 99designs to give you our thoughts on the service. Before you sign up for 99designs, read this entire review. This 99designs review will save you some money and headaches along the way.
Additional reading: See our review of 99design alternatives if you're looking to compare services.
99designs offers two different models. You can create a contest or hire a single designer to work with you on your design. A contest has the benefit of a fixed cost to get many samples to narrow down. Meanwhile, it allows you to name your price to attract the best talent. The higher your contract offer, the more likely better designers will apply.
If you're not sure what you're looking for, I recommend creating a contest instead. It's more streamlined and much less is required from you to get things started. Hiring a designer will yield better results only if you know what you're looking for and can communicate your needs accurately.
99designs allows you to create contests that designers can participate in exchange for a cash reward for the winner of the contest. You can submit a design brief and after which the design contest is open for submissions for a period of days. During that time, you can communicate with designers, request revisions/give feedback, and select a winning design and designer to work with to complete your project.
We went ahead and ran a contest, read our detailed step-by-step 99designs review on how running a contest went.
Designs from 99designs vary on the type of design work you're looking for. 99designs has a wide selection of designs you can choose from, from website design, logo design, videography, and branding. Even after that, you can pay for different packages depending on the extent of what you're looking for. Paying more increases the probability of receiving more designs (but not always) and ensuring you're working with only the highly rated artists.
Running a design contest and hiring a designer on 99designs have different costs. It's typically much more expensive to hire a designer directly. Price is decided upon by you and your designer.
After you completed your creating and paying for your contest, it'll be open for any designers on their platform to apply. 99designs contests operate in 3 stages typically. It may take 4-7 days for you to get all of the submissions in.
Stage 1 - Qualifying (4 days): In this stage, you wait for designers to submit designs. From my experience, you don't always receive as many submissions as you paid for. If you only receive a few designs for the first couple of days, don't worry, as 99designs lets you know that most designers submit designs towards the end of the contest.
During this waiting period, you can message and point out revisions/give feedback to designers that you'd like made on the submitted designs.
Stage 2 - Final Round (3 days): In the final round, you are made to pick your top 6 designers or "finalists" to move forward with. After choosing, you'll be able to continue to work with these designers to fine-tune the designs to your likings.
Stage 3 - Winner (5 days): Here, you pick a winner and get your completed source files.
What if I'm unhappy with the designs I received? It is possible to get a full refund back from 99designs. However, you have to do it within 60 days of payment and before you select finalists.
Curious about what running a 99designs contest look like? We went over our 99designs contest process.
Design quality is subjective. Sometimes you don't know what you want. And that's where 99designs excel. The one thing 99ddesigns does right is giving you lots of choices. For those who aren't sure what they want, at least one design will catch your eye from the sheer volume of submissions.
We submitted an illustration design request, and here's what we got back.
Here are our top picks.
Top pick #1
Top pick #2
Top pick #3
99designs is not a cheap service, and when you're paying hundreds of dollars for one design, you will want to make sure that you're getting your money's worth. Fortunately, you can use tips to help you ensure that you get a design you're satisfied with even if it's your first time using 99designs. Here's some tips we used and recommend to help you:
Maybe after reading this 99designs review, you feel that 99designs isn't your cup of tea. You may need a more consistent design team to work with or designers who can do a wide variety of design work and don't feel like running contests or constantly searching for new designers on 99designs.
If this sounds like you, then check out our list of unlimited graphic design services - subscription-based design companies that offer multiple design categories for prices ranging from $299-599/month.
In addition, there are other companies that you can turn to for 99designs alternatives.
99designs is a great platform to get quick one-off design work done. They're outstanding when it comes to logos, UX/UI, packaging, and marketing materials. You'll probably get the best bang for your bucks with their branding and logo design work.
While you can still use 99designs to get all your design needs to be done, the bill can rack up quickly as each design can run you $299 - $999. So if you're looking for 99design to save money on design cost, you'll likely spend more in the long run.
However, if you're a new business or startup looking for branding help, 99designs is a great place to start.
Where is 99designs based?
99designs is an Australia-based company with an office in Oakland, California. They were founded in 2008 to connect designers with businesses looking for affordable graphic design help.
How much do designers get paid on 99designs?
99designs take 30-40% of the total project cost. The winning designer
Is 99designs legit and safe?
Yes, they're a legitimate and safe service to use. They're flexible and won't give you any issues with money-back should you run into an issue. Customer support is responsive and usually responds within 24 hours.