My Honest Review of 99designs


Before you spend money on a logo or a graphic designer, read my review of 99designs. I’ll tell you exactly what I like about 99designs and where the site needs improvement. Let’s take a closer look.

99designs Review

Here’s what I like about 99designs

  • 99designs has an intuitive design posting process that helps you present your vision to designers in an organized fashion. Visions can be subjective and their process helps you get a much better result than a typical graphic design job posting. Non-designers usually have no idea how to explain a concept to a graphic designer and I like the questions 99designs asks you to define your design brief. Many other crowdsourcing websites leave your design description wide-open which can lead to you not getting what you want.
  • They have a money back guarantee which means you won’t have to pay for a result that doesn’t satisfy you.
  • I like how you get an estimate of the expected number of submissions based on your budget.
  • You have the option to run a blind contest where no one gets to see the submissions other than you.
  • Because of the nature of a design contest, you are paying for a fixed bid project. You’ll never pay more than what you set upfront. If you were to hire a designer to work by the hour, you could end up with a project that took longer and cost more than you originally planned. And you might end up getting a design you don’t even like.
  • If you have a smaller budget you can still get logos from their $99 pre-made logo store.
  • Because they are one of the largest marketplaces you could get literally hundreds of bids on a single project.

Here are the only things I don’t like about 99designs

  • I like that you can set your own price for design projects, but that statement is a little misleading because there are minimums for each design category. The minimum prices are reasonable (albeit not the lowest you can find), but when I hear “set your own price”, I interpret that to mean I should be able to set any price I want.
  • You can’t review resumes, portfolios, or employer feedback and you can’t hold an interview. Yes, you can see designs a contestant has created for other contests, but if you want to dig deeper you can’t really get a good view of a designer’s background. This is fine if you are buying a single art product, but if you want to hire someone for ongoing work after the contest you may want to view qualifications and vet candidates a little more thoroughly.
  • YOU may not be a good judge of quality. Everyone thinks they are an expert at judging art, but are you really? If you like a design does it mean it will do best with most consumers? If you hired a designer based on their artistic training and job experience you may end up with a better product than keeping the decision about a contest winner in your own hands.
  • There’s a camp of people that believe design contests are where newbie designers go because they can’t find steady jobs yet. And there may be some truth to this, but for the most part, who cares? You still get to review all the designs and pick one you like, even if it was created by a junior designer.
  • Designers who participate in contests may not get paid for their efforts if they don’t win many contests. Of course, designers know this going in, so it’s not like it’s a surprise and a contest can be a learning experience. That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing 99designs keep a few featured designers on a small retainer so that they could make some money submitting a certain number of designs each month.

Overall, you have little to lose by trying a design contest for your next graphic design project. And if you do use 99designs, here’s some great tips to manage a 99designs contest from one of my readers and other user reviews.

GD Star Rating
My Honest Review of 99designs, 4.1 out of 5 based on 18 ratings
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3 comments on My Honest Review of 99designs

Vamp2013 February 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

For all employers 99designs is paradise on earth ! For all designers 99designs is a modern way of PLAGIARISM and a dramatical waste of time !!! It mainly works this way: Competitions are created and prepaid, designers’ ideas were caught, the competitions were closed and repaid without choosing any winner and the best handed-in concept can be redrawn. Else: I often experienced contest holders choosing kids’ stuff as the winning design (maybe their own one handed-in by signing up a different account, which can easily be done within less than 30 seconds), but only to dissemble a winner and to avoid paying designers’ work. In fact they or rather the platform pays themself ! And they got what they needed: Ideas ! Handing in them can be withdrawn, BUT once sent, the employer can save those to his/her desktop and so there’s no point in withdrawing !
Result: Beware of nonprofessionals and scammers ! This is no time well spent !!!


k Madison Moore March 27, 2013 at 10:21 am

Just a few weeks ago I found out that one of the designers illegally used one of my photos of one of my original paintings for a book cover contest and it was the winner. It was on 99 Designs site since last August and I had no idea until a fan told me about this. The designer won $200. and 99 got $99 for this winner.

After contacting them they took it down immediately. Then I found out that they also sold the copyright of the cover with my work to the author that requested this project.
So, they take my copyright photo and sold it as a copyright!

They have stated that they will supply the author with a new copyright and will also supply me with a copy of this and also the name of the designer. Yeah right….I am still waiting. They will not give me the $300. that won because of my cover and tell me I have to get it from the designer but they won’t give me the designers name so they make this impossible. His screen name and the name he uses at 99 Designs is Daliborka, tells me nothing!

Watch out for these people, especially artists. They will steal your work and they think that is just ok. So they are making money off the backs of artists and don’t care how they do it! Total rip offs!


Vamp2013 March 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

I totally agree with you ! 99designs ist the modern way of plagiarism !
I took part in several contests and finally found out the holders redrew my designs inspite they excluded me from their contests by saying: “Your designs are not strong enough !”
I referred to 99designs and the result was the following: My profile was deleted by the administrators due to my complaints about the “nonjustified” misusages and “unfriendly behaviour” towards the clients. …

k Madison Moore, I hope for you to get paid soon at a different work, you’re doing great ! Stay focused !

To all prospects: BEWARE OF CRIMINALS LIKE 99DESIGNS !!! It’s the most nonprofessional chance of getting a corporate identity !


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