99designs Contest: Read this Before Launching One

99designs contests thumbnail

99designs contest is a cost-effective way to get high-quality custom designs such as logos, brand assets or marketing material.

With a wide range of design categories to choose from, the platform can benefit small businesses, companies that don’t have enough budget to hire in-house designers or individuals that have personal projects.

99designs is one of the best crowdsourced design sites on the market in 2023. It is safe and risk-free platform that provides 60 day money-back guarantee.

99designs contest is a competition between designers who follow the brief that the customer has provided. The contest consists of 4 rounds, after which the customer chooses the winner. The creator of the winning design then receives a cash prize. It is among best crowdsourced logo contest sites.

The most obvious advantage of using the platform is that you launch a contest and then choose the best design from various web design templates submitted by web designers from all over the world.

It is a great way to find professional designers for your:

  • Logo
  • Website
  • Merchandise
  • Packaging
  • Magazine

…and dozens of other projects while staying within your budget.

As a customer, you’ll have to:

  • Provide a brief
  • Select the cash prize for the contest

Right after you launch the contest, search for the designers you like and invite them to your project. You’ll be allocated 50 designer invites every 24 hours, however, there’s no limit on how many designs a contest can receive. You can decline the designs you don’t like from the contest or even eliminate the designer from the contest completely.

Who Are 99designs Contests For?

99designs contests are a great way to get high-quality custom designs, making it a good choice for a wide range of businesses and individuals.

  • Startups and entrepreneurs: If you are launching a new business, 99designs is an easy way for startups or entrepreneurs to get all kinds of designs. Basically, you can get everything from branding and website design to packaging and marketing stuff.
  • Businesses that don’t have an in-house design team: The platform can help businesses that don’t have the budget to hire a professional designer by connecting them with thousands of talented designers. In fact, they have 1.4 million registered graphic designers from around the world, so there is a lot to choose from.
  • Individuals who need designs for personal projects: 99designs is suitable for individuals who may need design work for personal projects. You can launch a contest to get designs such as party invitations, T-shirts, book covers, PowerPoint templates and much more.

Contest Steps and Duration

The design contest consists of several rounds and lasts up to 7 days in the qualifying and final round.

At the end of each round, you have to shortlist some finalists. If you get your desired design sooner, you can award the winner early without having to wait till the end of the contest.

Here’s how it works.

1. Qualifying Round

This is the first round comprised of 4 days during which designers submit concepts to the contest. Most of the designers get past this round so don’t worry if you can’t make the decision right away. This round is helpful to build rapport with contestants to get closer to your desired design.

2. Choosing Finalists

During the next 4 days, you will choose up to the 6 best designers to participate in the final round. You’ll be given 4 days to make your choice and once you’re done, the contest will become guaranteed.

3. Final Round

During the final round, your chosen designers will revise their designs and you’ll have 3 days to work closely with them to give your input and improve the designs.

4. Choosing the Winner

After the final round is over, you’ll have 14 days to announce the winner. You can choose more than one winner if you like multiple designs. If you don’t choose a winner within 14 days, the contest will be locked and you’ll need to contact the 99designs support team to get it unlocked. If you need more time to choose the winner, you can ask for an extension, otherwise, if your contest is guaranteed, the prize money will be equally distributed among all the contestants who were in the contest when it ended.

5. Design Handover

Then comes the handover stage in which your designer will finalize the design and transfer the complete copyrights to you. This stage takes up to five days and you’ll be required to sign the Design Transfer Agreement with the designer.

Types of Contest

There are different options and upgrades for 99designs contests. The platform allows you to run specific types of contests based on your needs.

Design Categories

These are the main 99designs contest categories you can choose from:

  • Logo & identity: Main brand assets like logo, business card, brand guide.
  • Get online: Everything you need online like landing pages, WordPress themes, emails.
  • Web & app design: Designs for blogs, icons, forms and pages.
  • Business and advertising: Everything from postcards to car wraps.
  • Clothing & merchandise: Any designs you want to print on clothes.
  • Art & illustration: Custom illustrations for books, websites or infographics.
  • Packaging & label: Designs to boost your retail and ecommerce sales.
  • Book & magazine: Layouts and covers for books and magazines.

Contest Upgrades

UpgradePriceWhat you get
Guaranteed contestFreeReceive about 50% more designs but won’t be able to request refund
Private contest $59Keeps your contest out of public
Blind contestFreeDesigners aren’t able to see each others entries: for this option you need to have already run at least one contest
Invitation-only contestFreeControl who can enter the contest
Fast-tracked contest$39–$79Option to speed up contest to 1, 2 or 3 days
Feature$79Contest appears at the top position, attracting more attention
Highlight$19Makes contest stand out
Blog$19Includes in the blog
Power Pack$99All three upgrades above (Feature + Highlight + Blog)

  • Guaranteed Design Contest

99designs guaranteed contest

This contest guarantees the prize to the contestant and lets them know you are fully committed to getting the design.

Once the contest is guaranteed you’re no longer qualified to get a refund.

  • Private Contest

99designs private contest

By default, your contest is going to be public and visible to others (even on search engines). For additional $59, you can run a private contest that hides it from public. 

  • Blind Contest

In a blind contest, designers can view their own entries and the ratings at the bottom of each design, however, they are unable to see the designs of other contestants.

Designers who are concerned about other designers stealing their idea might prefer to compete in blind contests. To launch a blind contest, you must have already run one contest on the 99designs.

Once a contest is made blind, it will remain blind for the first three stages of the contest. As the contest goes into the Selecting Winner Stage, all entries will become visible to all designers.

  • Invitation-only Contest

This contest gives clients complete control over the designers who can participate in the contest.

It is not listed in the 99designs contest marketplace, and designers can only join the contest if you invite them.

Some designers prefer this type of contest because the number of contestants is comparatively lower than in a normal contest which improves their chance of winning.

  • Fast-Tracked Contest

99designs fast contest

If you’re in urgent need of a design, then a fast-tracked contest will help you get one as soon as possible.

It has qualifying and final rounds and lasts only up to 3 days. It allows you to choose the winner after just one submission.

How to Launch a 99designs Contest?

You can launch a 99designs contest in a few easy steps to get graphic designs from competing designers from all around the world.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go to 99designs.com

Visit the official homepage of 99designs.com from your browser and click on the “Get Started” button located next to the search bar.

99designs logo how to get started

Search between different design categories including logos, websites, apps, merchandising, etc. Each design category has a subcategory with various packages to choose from.  

2. Create a Design Brief

When you click on “Start a contest“, 99designs will ask you about the details of your design request to turn it into a contest.

Choose the design you like the most and create a good design brief appealing to web designers.

Describe your website and target audience and provide every little detail you want including layout, colors, shapes, and goals for each page of the website, and click on “Continue“.

3. Choose the Design Package

99designs offers three different design packages including Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Choose a design package based on your budget or how much you‘re willing to pay to the winner. All packages come with a money-back guarantee until you guaranteed the contest.

You can also promote your contest with paid add-on features to make it featured on top, highlighted in orange to make it stand out, and have it listed in the 99designs blog to boost the number of designs you receive.

4. Add a Contest Title

Give your contest a title, select a contest option between guaranteed or private contest and click on “Continue“.

5. Select the Contest Type

Select the type of contest you want to run based on your requirements. There are two options to choose from: guaranteed and private contest, Guaranteed contest will attract more designers because you‘ve promised that someone is going to get the prize money.

Private contest on the other hand is suitable if you don‘t want your contest to be visible outside of 99designs or prevent other designers from viewing each other work.

6. Choose the Duration

Choose the duration of the contest. The average duration of a contest is 7 days. But if you urgently need a logo, choose between much shorter durations and click on “Continue“.

7. Sign up to 99designs

After that, you will be prompted to sign up for 99designs. Once you are done with creating an account, enter your billing information and your contest will be posted to 99designs.

99designs Logo Contest

how 99designs logo contest works

Logo design contests are one of the most popular design categories on 99designs.

99designs logo contest allows you to get tons of logo design ideas.

99designs also provides clients with an estimate of the expected number of submissions based on your budget.

You could receive more than 100 bids in a single contest.

How Much Does a Logo Contest Cost?

Did you know that 67% of small businesses are willing to pay $500 for a logo? Here’s how much it costs to get one on 99designs:

What you getBasic package, any designer can enterAttracts more designers, extra designs to choose fromHigher quality graphic designers, lots of designs to choose fromPremium quality designs, priority support, extra help

The cost of getting a logo on 99designs ranges from $299 to $1,299

Basically, you can get a decent logo using the cheapest plan. However, if you want exclusive designs with the highest quality and a number to choose from, you can go for more expensive plans.

Things to Avoid When Running a Contest

Creating Multiple Accounts

Don’t try to create multiple accounts in an attempt to defraud the 99designs community or you’ll be permanently banned from the platform.

Use of Verbal Abuse on the Contest Page

You need to maintain a level of professionalism while dealing with the designers. Be polite and respectful while communicating with the designers. Any use of abusive or threatening language may get you in the trouble.

Posting Contest with Controversial Subject

Don’t post a contest that contains objectionable or controversial subject matter like pornographic, obscene, violent, etc.

Not Respecting the Copyright

Don’t ask any designers to plagiarize the work of other designers. You are only allowed to use the designs you pay for.

99designs Contests: the Bottom Line

So, are 99designs contests worth it? In my opinion, yes, 99designs is definitely worth your attention option to save time and to have a wide selection of designs to choose from.

The more detailed and specific your brief is, the more likely you’ll get what you want.

Compared to similar services on the internet, 99designs is fairly expensive and there are more affordable alternatives available. However, the quality of designs might be different as well. 

Hiring a freelance graphic designer can be even more expensive and could cost up to $150 per hour.

The best part about the platform is, if you don’t like the result, you can get a full refund.

Scroll to Top