99designs Review

Posted on February 14, 2017

99designs is an Australian owned online graphic design marketplace, founded in 2008, and now based in San Francisco (as of 2010). In 2012, the company acquired European designer marketplace 12designer and Brazilian marketplace LogoChef. 99designs differs from other online marketplaces in that it primarily uses design contests to help meet the needs of clients. The platform also offers more specific services to clients, including cooperating with tailored design teams and consultations with expert designers.

So far, more than 307,000 projects have been created on the site, with over 3.3 million designs produced, and $150 million earned by designers. 99designs has a worldwide community of more than 1.1 million freelance designers.

How to get started on 99designs as a freelancer

99designs is a specialized platform, created specifically for graphic designers. To register, simply click on “Become a designer” at the very bottom of the home page, create a profile, and then submit designs to contests that interest you. There is no cost involved for freelancers. 99designs will also pick the best designers and invite them to their Platinum program, also free to join. Platinum members can still join all of the contests, but they will earn 15% extra on top of their prize winnings should they win a contest.

Platinum members can also take part in special Platinum contests, which are higher paying, and all Platinum members who are contest finalists will receive 15% of the prize money. In addition, Platinum designers will have their work featured on the 99designs blog. The platform reviews designers for Platinum status daily.

Freelancers may also be recruited for specific projects by clients who enjoy their work. The platform will facilitate communication, feedback and payment for these projects; in a way that is similar to how other freelance marketplaces work.

How to get started on 99designs as a client

The signup process for clients is also simple. After registering and creating a profile, the client will create a design brief to inform freelancers of their design needs. The platform encourages clients to be as detailed as possible when doing this, in order to receive the best designs. Clients then pick a Design Package, which will determine how many designs their contest will receive, and the design quality (see below for pricing details).

The Platinum package is the most expensive, but gives clients extra benefits; including handpicked designers and a dedicated project manager. For clients that want a variety of designs from multiple projects, there is also the option given to recruit a team of designers for a project. 99designs offers Creative Managers to help with this process. They will write creative briefs and give designers feedback; all to make things smoother for the client. This service is particularly applicable to agencies and larger businesses.

As mentioned above, clients can also individually recruit a preferred designer and the site will provide tools to facilitate this.

Fees and additional services


No fees for freelancers


Clients can register on the platform for free but as mentioned above, they must choose a Design Package. Here are the pricing details:

  •  Bronze: $299
  •  Silver: $499
  •  Gold: $799
  •  Platinum: $1299

The pricing for additional services is based on the project needs, therefore the platform doesn’t provide any details on this.

Payment methods

Payment methods for clients and freelancers are:

  •  Payoneer
  •  Skrill
  •  PayPal
  •  Direct bank deposit (for US users)
  •  Global transfer (paid in your local currency)

Payoneer is the most cost effective payment method for freelancers, with free activation for 99designs designers, low monthly fees, and instant payment processing.

Pros and Cons for freelancers using 99designs


  •  Free to sign up
  •  Designers are valued for their talent
  •  High pay
  •  Very professional platform with expert staff
  •  Very large designer community
  •  No monthly fees or membership plans
  •  Many opportunities to build your portfolio and get exposure
  •  Opportunities to partner with clients for extra projects
  •  Very international platform – no restrictions on who can join


  •  Not applicable to those who aren’t graphic designers
  •  Contests may be intimidating for some
  •  Only very talented designers will find work

99designs is a platform designed to help freelance designers         excel and grow. No prior experience is needed because         anyone can submit a design and win a contest. For talented         designers this could be a very lucrative platform.

Pros and Cons for clients using 99designs


  •  Huge talent pool to pick from
  •  Very professional platform with expert staff
  •  Contests/projects can be created quickly
  •  No monthly fees or membership plans
  •  Many additional services for client needs


  •  Rather expensive
  •  Additional services may not be affordable for smaller businesses

99designs is a platform designed to give clients the very best         freelancers. With excellent customer support, consultants and         project managers, 99designs is a great option for larger         businesses and clients with more capital to invest.

Do you have any experience with this platform? Let us know in the comment section or rate it above.
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