For those unfamiliar with 99designs, it is probably the most popular crowdsourcing design site. There are other similar sites like DesignCrowd and CrowdSpring, but 99designs is quite a bit bigger than these two. This basically means you have access to a large pool of design talent then the other sites.
99designs offers a wide variety of different design categories that you can choose from. Whether you need a new logo, business cards, t-shirts, book covers, website redesigns, the site has categories for all of these. Depending on which type of design contest you start, will affect how much you need to pay.
Lets say you want to design a t-shirt. Then the starting price would be $189. But if you wanted to do a whole website redesign then the price for the bronze package is $599.
Once you start your contest, you should start getting submissions right away. This is cool, because you can start sending your feedback right away. Submitting feedback is pretty simple. You can rank each design from 1 to 5 stars. You can (and should) also provide written feedback on each design telling them what you like and what kind of changes you would like to make.
For my needs, I wanted a new business card and logo. Instead of having to create 2 separate contests for each, 99designs actually has the option to start a single logo and business card contest. The price for this is $449 which seemed pretty reasonable to me.
I setup a detailed design brief and had the contest run for a week.
I started seeing some designs within the first day. I didn’t particularly like any of them, but I left some feedback anyway.
After a couple of days though, I started seeing some more designs I liked and had potential to be picked as the winner. At that point, I decided I would try guaranteeing the contest. See, 99designs allows you to get your money back if you don’t like any designs. But due to this fact, not all designers want to participate in a non-guaranteed contest because there’s a chance they are submitting designs for nothing.
However, if you guarantee the contest (which means you will have to choose a winner), this encourages all the designers that were on the fence about your project to join in.
After the 7 days, it was time to choose a winner. I had 3 designs that I really liked. I couldn’t really decide which one to pick, so I decided to ask my email list. 99designs has this poll tool, where you can pick up the 8 designs for people to vote on.
In my case, I just created a poll with the 3 designs that I liked. Then I sent a broadcast email with a link to my poll, and asked my subscribers to vote.
After a couple days, I took a look at the results and luckily there was a clear winner which I choose as the winner.
Overall, I was quite happy with my 99designs experience. I was able to get a really nice logo and some snazzy new business cards that fit with my budget. What I really liked those was all the ideas I was able to see. Being able to compare and constrast with the different designs really helped out.
If I need any other designs done, I’m pretty sure I’d try 99designs again.