A logo is an important way of communicating information about a business and has great significance in a brand’s public perception. The reality on the ground is that all businesses need strong logos to build a foundation upon, and to succeed. I don’t take logo design lightly, not even on my affiliate marketing ventures.
However, the process of designing a logo can be lengthy, costly, and very expensive for start-ups. It for so long been a choice between creating one for self or hiring a professional to create one, and this is where crowdsourcing companies come in. 99designs is a crowdsourcing company that designers use to freelance their designs to clients.
What is CrowdSourcing?
Derived from crowd and outsourcing, the term is a model used by individuals and organizations to solicit goods and services from a large and rapidly evolving group of participants. Solicited goods and services can be in the form of start-up capital, business ideas, business names, voting, branding, and more micro tasks. Parties involved in crowdsourcing may contribute in exchange for buy-ins, financial stake, monetary prizes, or any other reward agreed upon. Crowdsourcing has many benefits, key among them, speed, flexibility, and scalability.
What is 99 Designs?
The 99designs platform features designers from all countries and clients in need of designs worldwide. Crowdsourcing happens when a client, an individual or organization, enlists the skills of these designers, through a competition or direct contact, to design logos and ideas for them and in the end, choosing the design they prefer the most and ultimately awarding the winner. They connect clients in need of strong designs with freelancers capable of creating those designs fast and affordably. 99designs has over a million designers, and currently, new designs are debuted every second.
99 Designs Cost
The company has four fixed packages clients can subscribe to ranging from lowest to highest. This is how the packages from 99 designs cost.
At US$299, this package features an approximate of 30 design concepts, a 100% money-back guarantee, and full copyright ownership.
At US$499, this package features an approximate of 60 design concepts, full copyright ownership, and 100% money-back guarantee.
At US$899, the package has an approximate of 90 design concepts, full copyright ownership, 100% money-back guarantee, and the availability of mid and top-level designers only.
This is the highest package, with a larger designer reward, and the best from 99designs. At US$1,299, the package offers an approximate of 60 design concepts, full copyright ownership, availability of top-level designers only, a dedicated manager, prioritized support, and a 100% money-back guarantee.
How 99 Designs Works
For individuals or businesses wondering how 99 designs works, they offer two principal avenues, and both are quite affordable. I found that from their platform, one can choose to either host a design contest or directly hire a designer. Both avenues offer clients an easier way to find the right design, but I have personally found the first to be the better option.
By hosting a design contest, a client is able to choose from at least 100 viable designs from freelancers worldwide. Even with the bronze package that costs only US$ 299, the platform’s designers create masterpiece graphic concepts that are very beneficial to individuals as well as start-up businesses looking to save a lot of money.
With the company’s crowdsourcing, hosting a contest is the most cost-effective and efficient method. The fact that designers are competing means they produce the best content and fast. Traditionally, the process can take up to months before a client is satisfied, but with the contest approach, the process can very easily take a week. This is because the client can always find a better design from the next designer.
Here is how 99designs works. It works in three simple steps; brief, connect, and collaborate.
After choosing a package, a client creates a short brief to inform the designers of their needs. This should take just a few minutes, but capture the style and specs of the end product. They then make a payment, invite contestants if they want to, and begin a contest.
From the brief, designers get to work and produce their best designs. The client then picks the best designs and corresponds with the contestants until they get a preferred design. The process involves various stages of qualifying done by the contest host, a qualifying round that lasts four days where the client refines the designer list, and a three-day final round where clients choose a winner or winners. During qualification, a client can even invite colleagues, family, and friends to a poll tool to help with the selection.
Once the client picks their preferred design, they then connect with the winner for additional improvements to the designs, and they finalize the design together within five days. This stage is called the handover stage. Once done, both parties sign the Design Transfer Agreement that transfers copyright ownership of the design to the client.
This avenue allows both clients and designers to navigate the world of the project they are working on to create even better designs than both anticipated. With the contest hosting, the diversity of the designs offered makes the end product richer in concept and perspective than would have if the client only worked with one designer.
For clients who find unease working with freelance designers remotely or designers who are not native English speakers, or those who are not willing to actively participate in the design process, 99design has the option of hiring an individual designer. All that is needed is for the client to thoroughly comb through the vast number of designers from the platform to find the perfect match, and from there contact them and award them the project. The designer will work on the project with dedication, and when needed, can communicate with the employer through chat, email, or video calls to ensure perfection according to the needs of the project.
Factors to Consider Before Using 99Designs
As a client or designer, there are various factors one should consider before using the platform, and I discuss some of them below.
As a Client
As a client seeking the services of the platform’s designers, there are important aspects of a project that need serious brainstorming. When looking for a logo designer, a client needs to first determine the message the preferred logo will communicate to future customers. This is the first step in creating a brief for designers. Clearly defining this message makes logo creation easier. Here are a few points I find a client should know so as to have a clear picture of the logo design they need.
The type of business they are. What they sell, between products and services.
Their target audience. This greatly influences a client’s brand style, and there are different spectrums one should choose from before settling on a logo design. These include; Feminine – Masculine, Mature – Youthful, Economical – Luxurious, Geometric – Organic, or Classic – Modern among others.
Their preferred branding, either modern, retro, handcrafted, classic, quirky, or rustic.
Their preferred colors, shapes, and even fonts.
How they want to use elements of the design. This includes future use or marketing, where a client needs to determine how they intend to use the logo. This could be in various forms, like social media, websites, signage, stationery, or many more.
Their competition, and how the design would give them an edge. Once a client knows their competitor’s weak points, they can easily market through a logo.
A client should provide visual cues regarding how they want their logo to be designed.
A client also needs to learn a lot about the types of logos they want so as to get the right designer, and also so as not to confuse designers. There are various types of logos for different uses; wordmarks, letter marks, abstract logo marks, mascots, pictorial marks, combination marks, and emblems.
As a designer
As a designer looking to freelance on the 99design platform, there are various factors to consider beforehand, chief among them, pricing. It is important to know how to charge, hourly, or per project, or depending on the volume of work. Money management is also a key skill when starting to freelance.
A designer should also determine how many hours they work a week, or how many projects they undertake over a set period of time. Freelance designers need to be patient, as with any other field of freelance.
Pro’s & Con’s of 99 Designs
As with all platforms, there are benefits and shortcomings involved when using them. The Pro’s & Con’s of 99 Designs have a lot of bearing on how efficient the platform is, and I discuss them below.
These are the benefits of using the platform.
Numerous designs to pick from.
Hosting the design contest produces numerous designs for clients to choose from. Traditionally, a client who picked one branding company or one professional designer only got one intended design outcome from the collaboration. The difference with 99designs is that once a client hosts the contest, they are presented with numerous designs that could even better the one they had in mind. Exposure to these many designs from designers all over the world leads to a very much improved final design that has found inspiration from so many sources.
Cost-conscious individuals and businesses will find that using the skills brought about by 99designs is very economical. The platform offers very crucial services at very affordable prices for start-ups, as well as more established and profitable individuals, businesses, and organizations.
Once a client briefs and places their order, the designers start working immediately and submissions start happening within hours. I have found happy clients who acknowledge having their projects fully and expertly completed in under a week. Depending on the project itself, and the client’s pace through the stages of completion, the designers work day and night from all over the world to provide the fastest results.
Employing the 99designs professional assures a client of logos of great quality. As it is a platform for designers, a client is assured of working with award-winning professionals who will create whatever design the client asks for.
Services on the 99designs platform are available 24/7 owing to the fact that designers work from all over the world. What this does is it enables clients to beat deadlines and achieve great results from a pool of dedicated freelancers working throughout the day.
99designs agents, available in multiple languages and 24/7, provide support and timely feedback through chat, video, email, and phone. They are friendly and offer support in all fields, even how to manage contests and how to make a good brief.
The platform of 99designs is user friendly, with apparent and unparalleled ease of access designs that make it fun to use.
All the packages offered by 99designs have the option of a 100% money-back guarantee, and during set up, a client can select the preferred money back option. For first time users, I can recommend a client to opt for the sixty days’ option.
99designs offers designs in many categories. These are services like logo designs, web page designs, postcard designs, landing page designs, WordPress theme designs, product packaging, app designs, and over 90 more categories.
When a client picks their preferred design, a professional relationship is created between them and the designer. This means that in the future, the client can successfully collaborate with the designer on any projects they have.
The following are the cons of using 99designs.
While the platform offers an intuitive and fun mode of creating the design brief, the process is not always as easy. This is because as a client, serious thought needs to go into the future use of the logo and the impact it will have on a brand in relation to customer perception. Even with the help of 99designs, a customer needs to be very proactive in creating a brief that will guide designers in creating the best possible designs.
While it is very efficient and effective to use this platform, the working process requires some skills for many clients to be comfortable using. Clear communication, patience, commitment, and discipline are crucial skills for one to have when using 99designs. One of the biggest challenges using the platform could be language, as the fact that designers and clients are from all over the world means these people will be native speakers of different languages. One thing to rely on in this case is the language translation software that converts all languages into English.
The premise of crowdsourcing relies heavily on working remotely and this is the case with 99designs. Some clients or freelancers might feel uneasy working with someone they have never met face to face. For this reason, I recommend the use of video calls before further engagements and commitment.
Who Can Benefit from 99 Designs
With the many advantages of the platform, as well as the few cons, there is a big question of who can benefit from 99 designs. It is important to note that the platform benefits everyone, from start-ups to profitable as well as established businesses. The 99designs packages cater to all groups, small businesses to big organizations. That said, I will go further to expound on the types of people or organizations that can benefit from 99designs.
Designers. 99designs is very beneficial for designers, and especially freelancers looking to make a living working remotely and at their own time. It is very good for these designers as it enables them to sharpen their skills through learning and competing with other designers from all over the world, learning to accommodate diversity and improve on quality with every order. They are also able to create meaningful collaborations with clients from around the world, with different demands and expectations, again encouraging them to be accommodating and patient.
Businesses. Start-ups, or businesses looking to significantly cut costs but get quality designs will find 99designs great for them. The promise of the platform is quality at an affordable price. These businesses will find that services offered by 99designs come at an affordable price, yet they have so much to choose from, and over a million designers to work with. This helps them save a lot of money they would have otherwise used to pay costly individual designers or agencies.
Agencies. There are numerous branding agencies looking to outsource services, and these will find 99designs to be the best option out there. Since the emergence of the company, many designers opt to freelance their work where they can have the freedom to determine their working hours as well as pricing. At the same time, clients opt to hire these freelancers and from platforms like 99designs. This then leaves agencies looking for ways to outsource their designs, and them joining 99designs would be a step in the right direction.