99designs Review: How to Make the Most of 99designs.com

Before 99designs, logo design was expensive. You’d have to shed a couple hundred bucks for a few logos that you wouldn’t even like. 99designs sought to change that paradigm and since it’s launch in 2008 they’ve grown to be the largest online graphic design marketplace paying out over $51,222,431 to designers awarded via contests. If you’re reading this post you probably know what they’re all about, basically a crowd of graphic designers compete to give you the design you love, or your money back.

Special Offer from 99Designs to LaunchAStartup readers: 99Designs sent me an email with this offer: Get $29 off your next contest (Ends in 3 days 3/18/16 Update: Still alive, not sure how long). Coupons are few and far between so I’ll keep you updated if something pops up but you can check 99designs for any current offers

I love graphic design, I designed both the LaunchAStartup.com website and logo. But I’ve also used 99designs numerous times to get a different perspective from dozens of other designers, thus saving me time and money. As an entrepreneur, I’m constantly busy with other things so the first time I used 99designs was out of necessity, as I didn’t have enough time to come up with something myself. I recently helped a consulting company and they needed a logo quickly to speed up the process to launch.

The Company: Mazzulo

What They Were Looking For: While 99designs does require you to fill out a design brief, their details were still very ambiguous because they honestly had no clue of what we were looking for. The only detail I gave was that Mazzuolo is Italian for “Mallet” thus they perhaps wanted to incorporate a mallet, hammer, or even hammerhead shark.

Final Results:

99designs review - winning logo

We received dozens of applicants, and ultimately had to choose between 4-5 very good designs. We gave them feedback on how they could improve the design and each designer promptly submitted another design (remember that designers don’t get paid unless they win). I won’t share the others as I believe the only logo I own is the one we paid for (above).

The designer mentioned his inspiration, saying the logo emulates the look of a hammer, but above the “M” resembles a shark fin. My client loved it. And it only cost $300 (the minimum to run a logo design contest). With that we also have the contact information of a talented designer who could be willing to do future logo work for less, and both parties are still protected as 99designs offers “1-to-1 projects.” Want to see more? 99Designs features a lot of their recent winners on their website. You can get a live look at real winners from real projects.

The Company: VegasRanked

VegasRanked was looking for a logo that was quintessentially Las Vegas, and again, the client loved the results:

99designs review logo

What else reminds of the Las Vegas strip than neon lights? Again, the client had the choose from many great designs but settled on the one above.

Now that you know how it works, let’s talk about How to Make the Most of 99designs.com Logo Design Contests.

Get Inspired

Let’s take a look at some of the best logos ever created and perhaps you’ll pull an idea for your own logo.

99Designs Review - Nike

Nike’s “Swoosh” logo was designed by Carolyn Davidson in 1971 for $35 (Adjusted for inflation would equal ~$185 in 2010). It was inspired by the Greek Goddess of Victory as shown below:

Nike

The co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, said “I don’t love it… but I think it will grow on me.” Nike grew exponentially and is now one of the world’s most recognized companies. To express his gratitude, in 1983 he gave Davidson a diamond embedded golden Swoosh ring along with an undisclosed amount of stock (Source).

Fedex Logo

Notice the arrow between the “E” and the “x” and the half arrow between the “F” and the “e.”

Amazon Logo

One my favorite companies and logos, Amazon.com handles everything from A-Z. Notice the arrow?

99designs Coupon or other promotions?

Update: 99designs occasionally sends me a coupon for LaunchAStartup readers, if I have one available I’ll post it above.

Sorry, no coupon codes. BUT, if you do run a design contest, you’ll have an opportunity to make $50 cashback from 99designs. Once your contest in finished, they’ll send you an email prompting, “Want to get a $50 cashback on your latest design contest? Simply refer your friends to 99designs and if one of them buys within 14 days, you’ll instantly receive a $50 cashback!”

If you’re on a budget, checkout the 99designs Logo Store for ready made logos for $99. Note that other businesses may also purchase the same logo template unless you buy the exclusive agreement (~$200).

99designs Review Summary

Let’s review the Pros and Cons of 99designs:

Pros

  • Dozens of designs for as little as $300, designers are motivated to win. 
  • Believe it or not, it took me well over 12 hours and many different versions to design the LaunchAStartup logo, 99designs will save you time and money. I’ve had success with every contest I’ve run, but if you’re unhappy remember that there is a…
  • 100% Money Back Guarantee

Cons

  • It could be potentially cheaper to just hire an independent contractor, but you won’t get as many designs and may end up unhappy. 
  • Could take a few days for designs to start rolling in, if you’re in a time crunch look to running a larger contest to motivate more designers to submit a design.

When it’s all said and done, even though I dabble in graphic design I still I highly recommend 99Designs. If you’re ready to get started, scroll up and use the link at the top of the post for a free PowerPack Upgrade!

What did you think of our 99designs Review? Have you used them? What were your experiences? Let us know in the comments below!

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Disclosure: As per the FTC Guidelines for Bloggers, please note that some of the links on this website are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please read the full FTC Disclosure here.

11 Responses to “99designs Review: How to Make the Most of 99designs.com”
  1. Mimi Walker October 23, 2013
  2. Red Burtley March 25, 2015
    • Jay Soriano March 25, 2015
  3. zaenal abidin December 23, 2015
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  5. Designer January 7, 2016
    • Jay Soriano January 24, 2016
      • kHAN November 1, 2017
  6. Means Well October 3, 2017
  7. Kristen M. Schmidt November 15, 2017
  8. Salim Ahmed January 9, 2016

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