Take that - luftballoons Source multiple identity concepts with 99designs

Posted by tom klein March 27, 2008

When it comes to choosing a brand identity (logo), you may find that your choices are limited by the imagination of the agency or graphic designer you have hired. On the web, however, it’s the land of plenty.

Try 99designs, a service that provides a quick and cost-effective way to sample many, many creative options and directions, before you commit to one. Say you need a new logo. You can use this site to launch a contest with your design requirements, set a prize amount, and sit back and watch the submissions pour in. Once you choose your winner and payment is complete, you own all the rights to the design. In other words, if you like the winning concept, but don’t want to commit to the design, it is yours to develop further.

99designs charges $39 to host the contest and sets reasonable guidelines for prize amounts (e.g. $100 for a logo, $200 for a webpage with html code). Contest holders are required to leave feedback on designs, a practice that helps participants gauge their skills and encourages them to submit more frequently.

Whether your looking for options or an inspiration, 99designs connects you to a community of designers and offers an affordable option for your a-la-carte creative needs.

99designs is a branded offshoot of Melbourne-based media company, SitePoint, whose crowdsourcing design contests have met with tremendous success and amassed a community of over 2000 designers.

Creative shops shouldn’t be threatened. 99designs allows you to keep the project in-house, but source several design concepts for your clients…. so we have heard, of course.



5 Comments on “Source multiple identity concepts with 99designs”

  1. Great article! Emily posted on
  2. [...] model is very similar to logo and web design service, 99Designs, which we discussed in Take that- luftballoons. Both crowd-sourcing platforms offer ideas and inspiration in a pinch and won’t eat into your [...] Source new brand names with namethis | feed growth! posted on
  3. I've seen a few of these sprouting up, even entered one contest as a designer at Crowdspring out of curiosity. I have to say that they are a tremendous value for the buyers, but a pretty terrible proposition for the designers. Take, for instance, a $200 logo contest that receives 40 submissions. The buyer is effectively paying $5 per logo. That's, like, vending-machine prices. The effective hourly rate might be around $1-2, if that. As a designer, I can't figure out why other designers would enter these contests (and that's what they really are--contests). - You are essentially working for free. There is no contract between you and the buyer, no guarantee that you'll get paid. Imagine if this was a standard practice for other services--ask 40 different auto mechanics to fix your transmission, then pay the one who does the best job; ask 40 different house painters to paint your house, then pay only the one who does the best job--it doesn't seem very reasonable to me. - Even if you do win the contest, which is highly unlikely, the award is almost insignificant. $200 for a logo, $400-500 for a complete website design--these figures are well below a reasonable price, in my opinion, especially considering many of the buyers have the budget to pay a reasonable price. If anything, the award in a contest format should be far greater than a normal price for that service. - Another serious problem is that designers can view all the other designers' work throughout the contest. There are rules about copying other designs, but it's loose enough that one designer might have a great idea and execute it poorly, only to see someone else take his idea, nail the execution, and win the contest. In this case, the person with the winning idea doesn't get paid. Needless to say, I think this is a bad system. But I can't fault Crowdspring or 99designs for exploring the business model. It is naive/inexperienced designers that allow the model to work by offering their services for free. In the examples of the mechanics and painters, this business model would never work because the providers would never agree to such unfavorable terms. I suppose much of this problem stems from a lack of barriers to entry in the graphic design industry. Anyone with a computer and a pirated copy of photoshop can call themselves a graphic designer, whereas becoming a mechanic would require significant investments of time (for certification) and money (for space, equipment, etc.). Well, this comment is starting to ramble, but I think it's clear that crowdsourcing sites like Crowdspring and 99designs are pretty serious threats, maybe not to agencies, or even creative shops, but definitely to the freelance design industry. Ben posted on
  4. Point taken. Agree that it's certainly a threat to the freelance industry. Keep in mind that participants might be: offshore and have trouble finding any work or maybe just work at a much lower rate than in the US (rates can be as low as $5 hour outside the US). In school and not actively employed (so this is indeed more of a contest). Also, as to the mechanic and painter examples . . . both work in the analog work, not the digital one. So their competition tends to be much more local than anyone who might be in the digital trade. Tom Klein posted on
  5. [...] 99designs and Crowdspring, this service is strictly banner ads and all design work is performed by [...] Get a professionally designed, custom banner ad in 48 hours with PointBanner | feed growth! posted on

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