99designs Contest: Read this Before Launching One

99designs contests thumbnail

Thinking of using 99designs – one of the world’s largest marketplace of freelance web and graphic designers?

Good news.

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.

There are some things you need to know about the 99designs contest before launching one. We have created this ultimate guide to help you get the best results of 99designs contests.

How do 99designs Contests Work?

99designs start a contest

99designs contest is a competition in which designers from all around the globe compete against each other to win a cash prize.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Paying the Winner

You’ll need to pay upfront before launching your design contest to get the trust of web designers. 99designs accept payments in USD, CAD, AUD, and GBP. If you’re not happy with designs being submitted in the contest, you can cancel it anytime and get your money back if you haven’t guaranteed it.

99designs Contest Types

99designs also allows you to run specific types of contests based on your needs.

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.

Blind or Private Contest

99designs private contest

In a blind contest, designers can view their own entries and the ratings on 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.

Note that once the blind feature is added to your contest it will remain blind for the first three rounds of the contest. Once you choose the winner, the 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 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 few easy steps to get the 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 the 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 having 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 the “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

Did you know that 67% of small businesses are willing to pay $500 for a logo?

99designs logo contest allows you to get tons of logo design ideas if you’re naive in designing or don’t know how to brief your vision to the designers.

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

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

What to Avoid When Starting 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: Worth it or Not?

If you don’t have a budget to hire a professional designer, 99designs contest is a great way to find and work with a designer since there’s a good chance you’ll get some pretty amazing designs while staying within your budget.

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 options available on the internet.

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

The higher you’ll go pricey it gets with top-rated designers to choose from. The best part about the platform is, if you don’t like the result, you can get a full refund.

So, if you have some extra cash to splurge, 99designs is definitely a worthy option to save time and headaches other services might provoke.

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