99designs is a company that’s been around for many years now. They were toted as a cheap way to get many design ideas for your business and to get up and running with a unique/creative logo relatively fast. Some people saw it as a PRO for all since clients get a good design for cheap and new graphics designers get to practice their talent. Other folks saw it as a CON for all since clients were getting a rushed concept (design contests only lasted 7 days) and designers doing such a low-pay/no-pay job were undermining the market for existing professional graphic designers.
I can see and do agree with both sides of the debate. As of today, the prices have corrected closer to market rate. Gone are the days of getting an entire website designed for only $500. I would say the prices are still pretty cheap. Most countries around the world have a lower cost of living, so they can afford to do higher quality work at a lesser rate than designers in expensive Western countries. With all the desktop/mobile variations, and demands for better/cleaner logos…the level of contest designers have improved but the prices have gone up as well. It’s still great deal, btw!
I would say if you know absolutely nothing about design, 99designs is a great way to get good concepts fast and cheap. And if you ARE design-savvy, it’ll be much easier for you to get a GREAT DESIGN…since you can help refine each design by giving feedback. The best advantage of all IMO is that the contests help you find a great designer for your business, one that not only has the style you want but also understands your feedback. Once you’ve found a great designer, it’s better to work with them 1-on-1 to give them more time to produce better concepts.
The best advantage of design contests is to find great designers, more so than great designs.
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