99designs review (2023): My experience

Learn what I like and disliked about 99designs in this 99designs review
By Matic Broz, editor-in-chief of Photutorial covering stock media, Adobe, and design. He founded Photutorial while finishing his PhD in computational biosciences.
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I signed up for 99designs to create a new logo for Photutorial. Here’s my experience:

99designs is known as the most reputable online platform to get graphic design. The platform allows you to either hire a specific designer or start a design contest where multiple designers can submit their work, and you can choose the best one. Prices range from $79+ for simple designs like stationery, $299 for logos and illustrations, and up to $2,499 for web design. Although high for a small business, these are normal prices for graphic design.

Is 99designs legit?

Yes, 99designs is a legitimate company. You will get exactly what you pay for, and if you don’t like the designs you get, you can ask for a 100% refund within 60 days. 99designs also uses secure payment methods, ensuring that your payment information stays safe.

Is 99design worth your money?

99designs is a great option if you need one design and you can pay $100 to $1,000 for it. The more you pay, the better designers will contribute to your project, resulting in higher-quality designs. If you need designs consistently, unlimited graphic design services will be cheaper and more convenient.

What I like about 99designs

1. 60-day money-back guarantee

For one of my contests, I asked for a refund to check whether they really give you your money back. I waited almost to the end of the 60-day period until I called. In short, yes, I received a full refund.

But there are two things I hated about the process of asking for a refund. First, you can get a refund through a phone call only, which is preposterous. They say it’s because they need to verify it’s you, but when you call, they only ask for your email address. Wouldn’t sending an email from this same email address do exactly the same? Second, the person asking for my email address got it wrong 5 times, even though I spelled it out slowly. That’s not a huge deal, but getting a refund was annoying overall. Yet the important part is that you get 100% of your payment.

2. Easy (and fun) to submit designs

Whatever you want to be designed, the process is straightforward and quite fun. A step-by-step wizard guides you through the design submission, which is tailored to every type of design. For example, you can browse logos you like and move around sliders to select whether you want a more luxurious or simple design, masculine or feminine, modern or classic, etc.

3. Get free ideas

No one can stop you from paying for a contest, getting up to 90 design ideas from professional-tier designers, and then asking for a refund. You won’t be allowed to use any of the designs you got, but you can use the ideas to create the same logo then yourself (if you know how).

4. Keep the contest hidden

99designs offers several add-ons that either result in more designers contributing to your contest or give you extra perks. One of the most popular is the option to keep the contest hidden. Without that add one, everyone can see what you requested, and even Google can pick it up. But if you pay the extra $59, no one besides you and the designers can see your request.

This is very important when you’re creating graphics for a new offer with an embargo date. It’s also a good idea to pick this option when you have a business in a very competitive niche to prevent your competitors from spying on you.

What I dislike about 99designs

1. Low-quality submissions at low prices

When you pick the smallest packages, only the low-tier designers participate in your contests. Unfortunately, these low-tier designers rarely outperform five-dollar freelancers you can hire on Fiverr. They might even submit designs that are almost identical copies of something they found online.

This doesn’t mean you cannot get good submissions when you pick the Bronze packages, but the chance is significantly lower.

2. No bulk discounts

99designs is great for one-time projects, but if you need designs consistently and at a discounted rate, 99designs isn’t the best choice. There are no bulk discounts if you order multiple designs and there are no subscriptions. Each project is considered separately, and you will pay full price for it.

If you need designs consistently, you should look into unlimited graphic design services. As a small business owner or an entrepreneur, graphic design costs can be too high for you, so you can consider logo makers to create your first logo.

How much does 99designs cost?

99designs offers four fixed pricing packages (Bronze, Silver, Gold, & Platinum), whose prices vary among design types. For example, logo design costs from $299 to $1,299, while web design costs $599 to $2,499. With each package, you can also tick off optional features that will get you more submissions but will also drive up the price. The prices are steep when you consider you can get a logo for as little as $20 with an online logo maker like Looka or from a freelancer on Fiverr. But if you want professional designs, 99designs costs are more than fair.

99designs pricing for a logo
99designs pricing for a logo (Image credit: 99designs)

The four pricing tiers, ranging from Bronze to Platinum, each provide an increasing number of design submissions from talented designers. As the price goes up, you can expect higher quality designs, increased variety, and more engagement from experienced designers. All packages come with a money-back guarantee and prioritized support, with higher tiers offering additional perks such as access to top-level designers and dedicated management.

For comparison, Crowdspring will cost you roughly the same, but you will get lower-quality submissions; Awesomic costs $799/mo for unlimited designs; ManyPixels costs $439/mo for unlimited designs; and getting a professional freelancer at Toptal costs $80+/hr.

Silver Package vs Gold Package

The Silver package provides you with 60 designs from designers at all levels, while the Gold package offers 90 designs from more experienced mid- and top-level designers. The Gold package costs approximately $400 more than the Silver package.

Gold Package vs Platinum Package

The primary distinction between the Gold and Platinum packages is the experience level of the designers you’ll collaborate with. The Gold package allows you to work with pre-vetted Mid and Top Level designers with a higher level of experience. On the other hand, the Platinum package enables you to work with top-quality Top Level designers and includes a dedicated Account Manager.

Promote your contest

If you wish, you can pay for additional boosts that ensure you receive more designs for the contest. These are a nice addition if you have plenty of budget. But if you’re trying to save money, you will want to skip these.

  • 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 unsatisfied with the designs you received, you are eligible for a 100% refund within 60 days of payment. However, a refund is unavailable 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.

Types of designs you can get

99designs offers a variety of design services, including:

  • 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 (Credit: 99designs/Photutorial)

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 (Credit: 99designs/Photutorial)

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 (Credit: 99designs/Photutorial)

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.

Customer 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 I 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, I miss a much more elegant live chat solution, which I 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.

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.

Should you get 99designs?

Yes, 99designs is the best crowdsourcing marketplace for designs. If you’ve never used one before, 99designs is the best place to start. However, if you tried it and didn’t like it, consider an alternative like Crowdspring.

Are there any risks with using 99designs?

No, you’re 100% safe using 99designs. Although there’s no free trial, the 60-day money-back guarantee ensures you get a refund if you don’t like the designs you get. In addition, payments are safe and encrypted, so your payment information will not be abused.

Who should get 99designs?

99designs is a good choice for anyone who needs a one-time design project done within 7 days. Due to the variety of plans, it’s affordable to solopreneurs, SMB’s, and enterprises alike.

How we tested and reviewed 99designs

I tested 99designs according to our editorial integrity and best practices. I had used 99designs several times even before I wrote this 99designs review. In addition, I read over 1,500 99designs reviews from customers on Trustpilot, Sitejabber, and G2. I also talked to the other experts in the field of crowdsourcing design marketplaces and talked with the freelancers working for 99designs. I also considered 99designs reviews on Reddit, including the r/smallbusiness and r/entrepreneur subreddits.

For the purposes of the review, I created a new logo design contest using the Bronze package and no add-ons. I followed the 99designs onboarding process and documented everything (notes, screenshots) along the way. I provided feedback to each designer who submitted a logo, asking them for revisions to test what percentage of them was willing to make changes.


  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.


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