99designs is a platform, where you can get just about whatever custom graphic design you want. Here you can get access to professional designers who will help you create your brand from scratch. Well, if you haven’t used the platform, you might want to get through this review before using up your money.
Is 99designs worth the hype? Let’s find out below.
What is 99designs?
99designs is a global creative platform that brings together designers and clients to work on different design projects. The Australian company has its headquarters in Melbourne and a US office in Oakland, California.
Matt Mickiewicz and Mark Harbottle are the brains behind the platform. The two founders came up with the idea in 2008 following a design competition on SitePoint forum. Over the years, the platform has grown to include one million designers from 192 countries.
Although the platform’s strongest suit is logo design, the creatives can design anything you want. 99designs has its services divided into categories such as web & app design, clothing merchandise, and book & magazine, among others.
How Does 99designs Work?
There are two ways to achieve the design that you want on the platform. You can either work directly with a freelancer on the platform, or start a contest and choose the best design.
99designs will help you find the right designer for your project. You will then proceed to work with them one-on-one. The platform outlines three steps for the design process.
Step One: Briefing
You will start by giving the specifications for the design that you want. The details include your preferred colors and styles. 99designs provides a brief creation process to help you capture all the components of your project.
An excellent tip is to get into all the nitty-gritty details in your brief. It’ll help you attract better designers and achieve a design that is closest to what you want.
If you are stuck on the layout of your design, 99designs gives you some inspiration to get your creativity flowing.
Step Two: Connecting
The platform then helps you find the perfect match for your design. Here, you get to choose whether to work with a designer directly or start a contest.
Working with a freelancer is an ideal option if you have a clear picture of the design. 99designs has vetted designers, and you will only have to review portfolios and request quotes. Once you find your designer, you make a payment to 99designs. Don’t worry; the platform will only release the payment to the freelancer after your approval.
If you would love to explore different options, you may be better off holding a contest. Multiple designers take on the project with the brief you provided. You then get to choose a winner and get all the copyrights for the design.
Step Three: Collaborating
You can continue providing feedback on the design and request changes until you are satisfied. Following your approval, the platform releases payment to the designer and gets you production-ready files. The designer also hands you all copyright ownership. If you are impressed, you can keep working with the designer on other projects.
Features of 99designs
Although the platform mainly deals with logo designs, you can have just about anything designed here. 99designs offers a wide range of categories that you can choose from.
For starters, the platform breaks down the designs into seven main categories. These are logo & identity, web & app design, business & advertising, clothing & merchandise, art & illustration, packaging & label, and book & magazine. Each category then includes some subcategories. For example, for logo and identity, you could get a logo design, a business card, or stationery, among others.
Full Copyright Ownership
Whether you decide to hire a designer or hold a contest, you will receive full copyright ownership of the design. Once you have approved of the design, the designer will send you your design files, and you receive all copyrights. The files also remain stored on your 99designs work area so you can download them at any time.
One of the best things about the platform is that you don’t have to pay for a design that you don’t like. Sure, you’ll need to deposit some funds before designers get started on the project. But, if you aren’t impressed with the outcome, you can always ask to have your money back. The 60-day money-back guarantee doesn’t apply in contests where you guarantee a prize, where you have selected a winner, or those already in the final round.
Getting an excellent design isn’t always easy. If you find yourself stuck, you could have a dedicated manager to help you. The manager will take up your project and carry it to completion. They will help you set up the expectations for the contest and share tips all through. The manager will also be available for any questions that you may have.
Unfortunately, the dedicated manager is only available if you choose to run a contest for your design. You must also pay for the platinum package to get this option.
Immediate Access to Designers
99designs has designers from all around the world. This means that you can always access someone to take up your project at whatever time.
If you, however, run a contest during the weekend, you may have to wait till Monday so that an account manager can get in touch with you. But, the support team is always available to help you out 24/7.
How Much is 99designs?
The price you are going to pay on the platform will depend on the design that you want. There are also different prices for designs you get through a contest and when you hire a freelancer.
Hiring a freelancer will subject you to different prices. Your designer will send you a quote depending on the complexity of the project. If you decide to start a contest, you will get fixed rates. The contests have four pricing levels; bronze, silver, gold, and platinum.
For logo design, for example, the bronze package costs $299. For this option, you will receive about 30 design concepts. The platinum option, on the other hand, will cost you $1299. This option also allows you to access top-level designers only, and you also get a dedicated manager and priority support.
If you would like a web page design, the estimated price range for a designer is $629- $2999. Holding a contest, on the other hand, starts at $599 for the bronze package and $2499 for the platinum option.
You can find out more about the pricing for various designs here.
- The platform offers a money-back guarantee
- Vast pool of talents to choose from
- Quick turnaround time
- Customer support is very efficient
- You get full copyright ownership
- The setup wizard makes it easier to navigate the platform
- Supports multiple languages
- The prices may be quite high for small businesses
- You will only get the expert designers if you pay for the higher tiers
Free and Paid Alternatives to 99designs
You may find yourself looking for alternatives to 99designs. You may, for example, be looking for a platform that is cheaper, or one that doesn’t require you to give a detailed brief. Whatever the case, it always helps to have a few options.
If you are looking for some alternatives, here are some platforms that are worth checking out. Perhaps you will find one that suits your business needs entirely.
DesignCrowd is an ideal platform if you are looking for an alternative that is quite similar to 99designs. Here, you get to choose whether to work one-on-one with a designer or to run a logo contest. The upside of taking this route is that it will cost you less to have your design completed.
How it Works
Here’s how to get a logo design on this platform. Like 99designs, you will first need to come up with a brief highlighting your project. It will only take you a couple of minutes. You then get to decide how much you are going to pay for the designs.
Designers on the platform then get to work on your project. Typically, clients receive their first designs within a few hours. The platform, however, allows for 3, 5, or 10-day deadlines so you can get a variety of designs.
The last step is feedback. You can choose to share some of the designs with your friends and get their opinion. Additionally, you can ask for some changes to the designs made and even get rid of those you don’t like. When you find a design that you like, you will receive your design files together with all the copyright ownership.
DesignCrowd lets you distribute the payments to the designers. For example, you can rank the designs in first, second, and third place, and even award some designers a participation fee.
DesignCrowd boasts of a large community of designers, totaling to about 800,000. For every project, you can expect about 100 designs. You also get a money-back guarantee so that you only pay if you like the outcome.
99designs vs DesignCrowd
One of the most significant differences between 99designs and DesignCrowd is in the designer rating. If you choose to work one-on-one with a designer, you will want to have a look at their profile and ratings on the platform. With 99designs, designer ratings are only based on customer reviews.
DesignCrowd, on the other hand, rates the designers using the payments they’ve received, the projects they’ve worked on, and even the designs they’ve submitted to other contests. This overall rating gives you a clearer insight into the designer’s abilities.
Fiverr is one of the most diverse freelancing sites, and if you would like a truly unique design, you had better try out your luck there. The platform is home to thousands of designers, and you can have whatever design you want at different prices.
How it Works
It’s worth mentioning that Fiverr is only ideal if you are looking to work one-on-one with a designer. Like many other platforms, working with a designer is a risk-free venture. You only need to deposit funds in escrow and release them after you are satisfied with a particular design.
On Fiverr, you will need to search for the best designers for your project. Unlike 99designs, you don’t get help from the team. However, you get some exciting search features to help you ensure you get the right person for the job.
To get you started, you can browse through the different designer profiles available on the homepage. One of the simplest ways to narrow down the choices is by looking at their ratings. Ideally, designers who have a 4.8 rating or above would be the perfect fit for an excellent design.
99designs vs Fiverr
One of the best features of Fiverr is the range of design services available on the platform. Sure, 99designs offers the designs in different categories. But with Fiverr, you get more design options, and more price options as well. The price for designs start at $5, and it all depends on the quality you are going for.
Fiverr also lets you apply some search filters to make your work easier. With 99designs, you can also use category and industry filters for your work. Fiverr allows you to apply filters search as style, file format, minimum and maximum budget, and delivery time for the design.
Ideally, you can also use the logo design search wizard. The wizard helps you eliminate some of the profiles based on your design vision.
One of the most significant additions of Fiverr is the Pro service. If you are looking for a unique design and wouldn’t mind breaking the bank for it, this is an excellent choice. Fiverr Pro contains the most exceptional freelancers on the platform.
The team at Fiverr vets and verifies these designers. For the designers to achieve Pro status, they undergo a thorough application process that looks into their background information, current experience, and on-going excellence on the platform. You are, therefore, assured that you would be receiving high-quality services.
If you choose to hire a pro designer, you will also gain access to 24/7 VIP support. The support team will cater to your queries in under an hour, should you have any.
Wix Logo Maker
Do you want to showcase your design skills? Or perhaps you are working on a shoestring budget and can’t hire a designer. Why not come up with your logo by yourself? Wix logo maker gives you all the tools you would need to design a stunning logo. The interface is quite straightforward, making it quite easy to use.
How it Works
All you need to do is a series of questions that help determine your logo vision. The subjects include the name of your brand, its purpose, and your preference for the style.
After putting in the answers to these questions, Wix will automatically generate some logos. Well, you can’t bank on these designs, since they are all AI-generated. But, the customization options on the platform allow you to take control of the design and turn it into an excellent one for your brand.
The editor allows you a range of options. You can change the color palette, the shape of the logo, and even the positioning of the elements. A fantastic feature is that the platform places no limits on the website name and tagline. It becomes easier to include these in your logo; you only need to find a creative way around it.
The Wix logo maker offers you a free and paid version for the final logo design. For the free version, you will receive a small sample image that you can use for non-commercial purposes.
The paid option will give you access to high-resolution files that will help you to either download the logo or print it. When paying for the logo, you get different packages. The most popular option comes with the website builder. This option makes it easier to integrate the logo into your site.
99designs vs Wix Logo Maker
An advantage of choosing Wix over 99designs is that you get complete creative control. You get to decide how your logo turns out and what elements go into it. Besides, you don’t have to deal with the back and forth communication with a designer.
Additionally, once you pay for your logo, you will get a brand guide. This guide contains all the details for your logo. If you ever need to duplicate the logo, the guide will come in handy. On 99designs, you have to pay extra for you to get the brand guide.
Another impressive feature on this platform is the Social Media Kit. Like 99designs, you have to upgrade to an advanced plan for you to access this kit. However, Wix gives you more than 40 files optimized for different platforms. With 99designs, you will pay more for this kit and only get files to use on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
What Reviews Say
Like every other platform, it’s wise to check the reviews before jumping on board. With 99designs, users expressed a mixed set of reactions based on different experiences. To get the general feel of the market users, here’s an analysis of the platform’s performance on several rating sites.
On Sitejabber, 99designs received a 3.83 rating from 353 reviews. Some of the reviewers chimed that they got the designs that they wanted from the platform. Many said that the platform was quite easy to use and that they got excellent service from it.
The reviews weren’t all positive. For some users, the number of designs they got from their contests wasn’t impressive. Others also claimed they got far less quality than what they expected. Overall, most people were satisfied with the platform. On the same sight, users ranked 99designs third among graphic design sites.
The platform received a four-star rating on Trustpilot. Six hundred seventy-three users reviewed the platform, with most of them leaving a positive feedback. A common complaint among the users here was that some of the designs were copied from free sources.
Will everyone get to see my designs?
You can choose to keep your contests confidential. When launching a design contest, select ‘Make your contest private’ from the contest options. Doing so will ensure that designers cannot submit the designs elsewhere. Your competition will also not come up in search results. You can also attach an NDA to the contest if you wish. But, making the contest private will automatically include a standard NDA for the designers of the contest.
Can I share design work before choosing a winner?
If you are not on the 99designs Pro plan, you cannot. Having a Pro account will allow you to share a white-labelled format of the design. This feature is free for Pro users.
Who can join the Pro membership?
Pro membership is available or agencies that require several designs. The charges are slightly higher, but the plan also comes with some perks.
What other benefits are there in the Pro plan?
With this plan, you will get a dedicated manager and personalized designer matching. You also get to make your contest private, expedite a contest, and hold an invite-only contest, all for free. Without this plan, you will have to pay some fees, ranging from $19- $79 for each of these services.
99designs is a great platform if you are looking for any design.
That said, choosing 99designs for your design is worth every dollar.
You get a variety of categories, different designers, and a helpful support team. The platform is one of the most seamless ones you can use for a design.
Honestly, the price is worth the quality and experience you get while using the platform.