99designs review (2023)

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Review Summary

Fact Checked

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 and easy to use and navigate.

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 could reduce the price.
  • You cannot vet and precheck designers.
  • Even the minimum prices can be high.
99designs logo
4.8
Photutorial Score
Photutorial Score = 4.8/5

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Website99designs.com
Price$299–$1,299/project
TypeCrowdsourced
Free trialNo
Money-back60 days

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.

Who shouldn’t get 99designs?

99designs isn’t the best choice if you need designs regularly. A cheaper option is using an unlimited graphic design service. If you want to design a logo cheaply, you should use a logo maker like Looka.

99designs At A Glance

If you’ve ever wanted to outsource graphic design tasks but were scared of getting scammed or not getting the desired results, we recommend using a reliable crowdsourced graphic design platform. In this article, we review 99designs, a Photutorial Editors’ Choice award for the best crowdsourced graphic design website.

99designs has several features that make it stand out from the competition, such as highly specialized designers, affordable costs, designers organized by tiers, a friendly interface, and a 60-day money-back. Despite some of its flaws, we recommend you try it out for your next design project—you can get a complete refund if you’re not happy with it. However, it’s not the best option if you have ongoing graphic design needs; in that case, we recommend an unlimited graphic design service.

Logo design contest at 99designs
(Credit: 99designs/Photutorial)

Submitting a good graphic design brief is tough if you’ve never done it before. You must provide enough information to get the design you want and leave room for designers’ creativity. Fortunately, 99designs’ submission is heavily guided, making it user-friendly even for first-timers. Instead of writing a lengthy brief, you can simply adjust sliders and select existing designs that you like, making the process quick and exciting.

In our experience, 99designs provides the highest quality designs among all crowdsourced graphic design platforms while offering a high degree of flexibility. For example, you can specify that only top-tier designers can submit concepts for your contest. While the prices for 99designs may be slightly higher than other options, ranging from $299 to $1,299 for a logo design and less for simpler tasks, it is worth it for the exceptional quality and customization options.

As an alternative, you can consider Crowdspring, which is slightly cheaper and delivers comparable results, but the user experience is considerably worse due to the outdated user interface. Another popular option is Designcrowd, arguably 99designs’ most promising competitor. With Designcrowd, you can expect more but low-quality designs at roughly the same price.

How Much Does 99designs Cost?

99designs contests are available with four packages: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The packages differ in price, number of concepts you get, designer tier, and additional features like a dedicated manager and priority support.

The Bronze package, priced at US$299, gives you access to 30 design concepts from all designers. For those looking for more options, the Silver package at US$499 offers 60 design concepts, and the Gold package at US$899 offers 90 design concepts. The top tier package, called Platinum, priced at US$1,299, gives you 60 design concepts and top-level designers. All packages include full copyright ownership and a 60-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, the Platinum package includes a dedicated manager and priority support.

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
99designs Design package prices

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.

Silver vs gold package

The Silver package gives you 60 designs from all designer levels, while the Gold package gives you 90 designs from more experienced, mid- and top-level designers. The Gold package also costs around $400 more than the Silver package.

Gold vs platinum package

The main difference between the Gold and Platinum packages is the experience level 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 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.

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 designer agree. 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

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 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.

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.

How We Tested and Reviewed 99designs

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

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

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

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Matic Broz

Matic Broz is a multifaceted creative professional, with experience as a photographer, graphic designer, and business owner. He has a decade of experience in helping other creatives improve their craft and start their own businesses. His writing and research have been featured in notable publications such as The Guardian, PetaPixel, and USA Today. Additionally, his scientific research has been recognized with a cover feature in the prestigious MDPI-owned journal. In his leisure time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and spending time with dogs. Read more

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