99designs Review

Matic Broz profile picture By Matic Broz Updated September 16, 2022
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Review Summary

The bottom line

99designs is a valuable graphic design service that helped us save lots of time and budget by outsourcing to professional graphic designers. Thanks to the various pricing plans, it is affordable to anyone while also being easy to use and navigate.

5.0

Superb
99designs logo

Pros

  • Easy to submit designs.
  • Exceptional 60-day money-back guarantee.
  • You may keep the submission hidden.
  • A fixed fee regardless of how long the project takes.
  • You can get hundreds of design pitches for one project.

Cons

  • No subscriptions that would reduce the price.
  • You cannot vet and precheck designers.
  • Even the minimum prices can be high.

Awesomic specs

Website99designs.com
Price$299–$1,299
Turnaround time1 to 8 days
Simultaneous tasksUnlimited
Free trialNo
Unlimited designs and revisionsDepends on the designer
Logo designYes
VideoNo
Web & App UI/UXYes
HTML/CSS/JSYes
Money-back60 days

Throughout my life, I’ve been consistently devoted to creative hobbies, like photography and design. However, I’ve never had time to perfect my graphic design skills to the point where I could quickly create professional logos and graphics. In search of a bit of help with the process, I decided to try 99designs for the visual aspect of my business.

After months of using 99designs, I realized I was saving money by outsourcing my graphic design needs to professionals instead of spending hours working on them myself. However, if you’re on a tight budget, this graphic design service might seem too expensive (although it’s one of the cheapest).

99designs at a Glance

Summary:

  • Highly specialized: While some graphic design services do everything, from web design to printing, logos, social media, and even content writing, 99designs specializes in graphic design only, which makes me trust them more as experts in the field.
  • Cost: Graphic design services can cost several thousand dollars per month. 99designs is quite affordable, with pricing starting at US$79 per design. However, the prices can get much higher for advanced designs like 3D, which can cost up to $1,199.
  • Support: It is easy to find someone to speak to about your concerns, designs, or even refunds. You can get help almost instantly by dialing the support number (1-800-513-1678) on the website.

What I Liked:

  • Creating a contest gives you 30 to 90 graphic design requests that give you lots of new ideas. It also gives you a much better selection than hiring a graphic designer.
  • When submitting a contest, you can easily specify what you want your design to look like or convey. However, if you don’t know yet, you may skip these steps and lets the designers use their imagination.
  • Unlike hiring freelancers on your own, the designers working on your submission are highly vetted by the 99designs team. They also each have a rating, which helps you determine how good they are.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • If you don’t like any of the designs provided during the contest (doubtful), you need to create a new contest and tweak your instructions.
  • When using contests, graphic designers are not obliged to provide additional revisions, although they can if they want to.
  • Additional features, such as 24-hour delivery and working only with top-tier designers, quickly increase the price of the contest.

About 99designs

Established in early 2008 in Melbourne, Australia, by Matt Mickiewicz and Mark Harbottle as a spin-off of Sitepoint, a forum-based website founded in 1998 by the same founders, 99designs is a global creative platform that connects clients to freelancer designers online. In over 14 years of operating, 99designs has facilitated more than 1 million creative projects for thousands of business owners, large brands, and entrepreneurs.

The premise of the service is simple: based on your graphic design needs, budget, and deadlines, you request designers to work on your project with their ideas. From dozens of applied designers, you choose one with whom you want to work. The chosen designer then finishes your request and is open to as many revisions as you and the chosen designer agree on. After it’s done, you may use the design for anything you want and rehire the same designer for future projects.

Types of Designs You Can Get

You can also get designs without starting a contest, but by picking a category and finding one designer to take care of it. These services include the following categories and their combinations:

  • Logo & identity ($169–$1,399): logo design, business card, brand guide, stationery, website, brand identity pack, social media pack.
  • Online ($79–$599): website and webpage design, WordPress theme, landing page, apps, product label, postcards, flyers, prints, social media page, book cover, email, and poster.
  • Web & app design ($79–$599): website, web page, website redesign, blog, WordPress theme, landing page, icon, button, app icon, website icon, form, app (iOS and Android), Facebook cover, social media page, Twitter, YouTube, and banner ad.
  • Business & advertising ($149–$399): postcard, flyer, print, leaflet, direct mail, album cover, podcast, infographic, brochure, booklet, pamphlet, wrap, signage, billboard, banner, menu, PowerPoint template, email, website header, resume, Word template, and booth.
  • Clothing & merchandise ($169–$199): T-shirt, clothing, apparel, jersey, merchandise, bag & tote, hat, cap, shopping bag, cup, mug, and sticker.
  • Art & Illustrations ($149–$389): Illustration (classic, business, website, book), graphic, pattern, card, invitation, greeting card, character, mascot, tattoo, 3D, and 3D architectural rendering.
  • Packaging & label ($249–$399): Product, food, retail, and cosmetics packaging, box, wine, beer, beverage, food, and product labels.
  • Book & magazine ($249–$299): Book cover, interior book design, eBook cover, magazine cover, and book layout.
99designs picking a design type
Picking a design type

Cost

99designs offers different pricing for all their designs, ranging from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. As a result, the prices of all packages and additional features you can buy vary. Here we list the prices for a logo design, which is the most popular design type and averagely priced.

Design package prices

PackageBronzeSilverGoldPlatinum
PriceUS$299US$499US$899US$1,299
Number of concepts30609060
Designers tierAllAllMid and top-levelTop-level
Full copyright ownership
60-day money back
Dedicated manager
Priority support

All packages exclude Sales tax, which might differ based on your location. The package price might also be higher for advanced services, like 3D design.

Gold vs platinum package

The main difference between the Gold and Platinum packages is the level of experience of the designers you work with. The Gold package allows you to work with Mid and Top Level designers, who are more experienced and pre-vetted for quality. The Platinum package allows you to work with the highest quality Top Level designers and also comes with a dedicated Account Manager.

Promote your contest

If you wish, you can pay for additional boosts that will ensure more designs you receive for the contest.

  • Features ($79): Your contest gets promoted to the top of the list. (40% more designs)
  • Highlight ($19): Highlight your contest in an orange border to make it stand out. (15% more designs)
  • Blog ($19): Get your contest listed on the 99designs blog, which reaches 10,000+ designers per day. (15% more designs)
  • Power Pack ($99): You get Features + Highlight + Blog boosts at a 15% discount.
  • Private contest ($59): With this feature, your design is not visible outside 99designs.
  • Guaranteed ($0): If you select this feature, you won’t be able to get a refund, but you receive around 50% more designs and better designers.
  • Duration ($39–$79): A standard contest lasts for 7 days. You can shorten by paying extra, meaning the designers will be pushed to submit their designs faster. You can choose a deadline of 3 days, 2 days, or 24 hours.

Money back guarantee

If you’re not satisfied with the designs you received, you are eligible for a 100% refund within 60 days of payment. However, a refund is not available when you select the “Guaranteed” feature at checkout, on contests that enter the Final round, or for contests where the winner was awarded. Refunds are also not available for 1-to-1 projects.

How 99designs works

1. Start your first project

After creating a free account, you can start your first project. First, you pick the type of design you need. You can choose from dozens of options, but the most popular ones include logos, infographics, merchandise, and magazine covers. Once you select the type of design, you can choose from several different created designs to establish your desired style (some categories, such as infographics, do not have this step).

99designs pick a design type
Pick a design type

2. Define your styles

The designs get even more personalized when you specify colors, whether you want a classic or modern design, what your target audience is, whether you want it to be feminine or masculine, playful or sophisticated, and so on. You may also add reference images, write a short brief, and present your idea (if you have it).

3. Select a package

After you specify what you want, select a content package and pay for it. You may also pay extra to access the very best designers. There are a total of four packages from which you may choose: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. They differ in cost, the number of designs you can expect (from 30 to 60), the quality of designs (standard to premium), and whether or not you get a dedicated project manager. You may also choose the delivery time (from 24 hours to 7 days) and keep the contest private, meaning it is not visible outside 99designs.

99designs pick a package
Pick a package

4. Wait for design proposals

After you submit your request, it is presented to a pool of designers qualified for the job. Based on what delivery time you choose, you can take this time off and wait for the design proposals to come pouring in. If you pick a standard package without extra features, you may expect to receive 30 to 40 designs within 5 days. After all the pooled designers submit their ideas, you can narrow them down based on your preferences.

When you find your winner, you may accept the design and be done with it, or you can request the designer to make adjustments. While they are often not obligated to do so, in our experience, they are usually kind enough to go through a couple of simple revisions to perfect the design.

Support

99designs has a few options for getting help so that you won’t be stuck with your problem for long. There is phone support, email support, and a knowledge base. Each of them has its advantages, but we prefer phone support. However, remember that it’s available only during business hours, which can be a problem if you live on the other side of the world. Regardless, phone support is available in over 20 languages, including English (US, UK, Australia), German, Spanish, French, and many others.

Compared to phone support, email support is available 24/7, but keep in mind that it can take several hours (or even days) to get a response. Since it’s based on a ticket system, you first submit your request or question and then wait for someone to answer it. In that regard, we miss a much more elegant live chat solution, which we found is the best way to resolve most problems.

Usage Rights

After selecting the design you like, you’re prompted to sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement. With this paper, you get full rights to the design, although it was created by someone else. By signing this paper, the designer who created it forfeits all their rights, and you have the same rights as if you made it.

To clarify, you may use that design in any way you want, including commercial, merchandise, branding, and even defamatory or otherwise provoking manners, which are not allowed with stock photography. Of course, you’re then 100% responsible for using the design.

My 99designs Experience

I was excited to finally outsource my graphic design projects to real experts without spending hours working on them myself or hiring freelancers from Fiverr and Upwork, which rarely deliver good results. I could spend my time working on my business more efficiently and sometimes even enjoy some more free time.

As with any outsourcing, the beginning feels uncomfortable, especially since the results are not always what you expect. But then again, they are created by pros who know what they are doing, so your expectations might not be what’s best for your business.

99designs is worth your budget if you’re looking for a reliable source of designs. But if it’s an in-house designer that you’re after, 99designs is not the best fit for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 99designs legit and safe?

Yes, 99designs is a legitimate company owned by Vista. Over the years, it has birthed over 1 million designs and scattered to thousands of customers. If you’re unhappy with the results, you’re eligible for a refund for every package.

Is 99designs worth the money?

Based on my experience, 99designs was worth the money because it provided professional designs while saving me the most valuable asset—time.

Is 99designs free

No, 99designs is not free. This graphic design service connects you with professional designers who need to be paid. Based on your requirements, 99designs costs $79 up to $1,699 for one project.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia contributors. 99designs. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. June 16, 2022, 10:31 UTC. Accessed August 18, 2022.
  2. Wikipedia contributors. SitePoint. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. December 5, 2021, 11:52 UTC. Accessed August 18, 2022.
  3. Pricing. 99design. Accessed August 18, 2022.
  4. Current design contests. 99designs blog. Accessed September 16, 2022.

About your guide

Matic Broz profile image
Matic Broz

Matic Broz is a photographer, graphic designer, and stock photographer. For over ten years he's been helping photographers improve their photos and graphic designers find the best images for their designs. His work has been featured by Lifewire, Skylum, and PetaPixel. In his free time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and petting random dogs. Read more

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