Which Design Platform is Better in 2024?

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If you’re looking to hire a graphic designer for an upcoming project, you might feel overwhelmed by scanning through portfolios and contacting individual designers for quotes. Now, you can tap into the power of crowdsourcing your graphic design. This allows you to collect dozens of designs without all the heavy lifting. Is 99Designs vs DesignCrowd the better fit for your design contest?

In this head-to-head comparison, we dive into how you can find the best designers for your project and which platform is worth your time and money. 

Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from each one. 

TL;DR: Is 99Designs or DesignCrowd Better for You?

Want a quick answer about whether 99Designs or DesignCrowd is the better fit for you? 

99Designs wins for its transparent pricing, flexibility, and ease of use. You won’t be confused about where to go for your contest or how to set up a contract with your desired graphic designer. Even better, they offer a wide range of services, but their money-back guarantee is a little more restrictive. 

DesignCrowd has similar services with some notable additions (like outdoor signage). Their interface is slightly clunkier, and their pricing plans aren’t as straightforward. However, their money-back guarantee is easier to use. It’s also easier to set up a custom project with the designer of your choice. 

Overview of 99Designs and DesignCrowd

Let’s start with a quick overview of both 99Designs and DesignCrowd before we get into the design quality and submissions process. 

99Designs

Both 99Designs and DesignCrowd are known for their crowdsourcing, pairing designers with paying clients via a contest model. This successful business model has been around for a while, with 99Designs entering the market back in 2008 in Australia. They now also have a United States-based office in California. 

Designers come here from all over the world and they have a great platform for secure payments and built-in 24/7 customer support for both clients and designers. 

They boast that someone posts a new design to their platform every seven to ten seconds, and they have awarded over $12 million in contracts. 

DesignCrowd 

In a similar vein, DesignCrowd was founded in 2007, also an Australian company. They have over 1.2 million graphic designers who contribute to their design submissions, with 31.7 million submissions to date. This platform offers various services (more on this in a minute). 

They pride themselves on having high design quality and have paid millions out to the artists who submit to their contests. This might be the way to go if you’re searching for a legit way to get some designs via a contest with minimal pressure to hire specific designers. 

DesignCrowd also owns and manages BrandCrowd, their online logo maker. Learn more about where to get a logo designed here.

The Basics of What to Expect with 99Designs & DesignCrowd

As a small business owner, you might be wondering exactly how you can leverage tools like 99Designs and DesignCrowd to make your design projects move smoothly. Both are great platforms to connect clients with those who have the design skills to deliver. 

Here is a quick primer on how these services work and what they have to offer. 

How Crowdsourcing Works with Design Contests

When most business owners think about getting a design for their company t-shirts or logos, they may immediately think of a private project. However, narrowing down to one high-quality designer can be a challenge, which is where crowdsourcing comes in. 

Both 99Designs and DesignCrowd specialize in crowdsourcing your latest project. This means you open up a contest, and various designers can submit ideas and sketches for your consideration. You get to see the best of the best in terms of high-quality designs and decide what is right for your brand identity. 

Once the contest closes and all submissions are made, you can select one winner and pay only for the piece you commission (plus any posting and transaction fees). 

Range of Design Services

When you turn to an online marketplace for great designers, you might be wondering exactly what you can get out of your arrangement. You can create a contest for several categories of services while paying a competitive price. 

On 99Designs, you can hire for: 

  • Logo and brand identity
  • Web and app design
  • Advertising and promotional materials
  • Clothing and merchandise
  • Art and illustration
  • Packaging and labels
  • Books and magazines.

DesignCrowd also offers an array of services, including most of the above, in addition to outdoor and signage (including car wraps, billboards, and more). 

Once you hire the artwork to be commissioned, you may have to find printing services to get the final project with the design submissions you decide to go with. 

Rights to Completed Artwork

All design submissions have an inherent copyright that belongs to the designers. Once a project has been awarded and the final product has been delivered to you, that copyright is transferred to you. At 99Designs, you’ll sign a Design Transfer Agreement, which becomes your personal property to use as you see fit. 

DesignCrowd offers a similar process where you retain the copyright as soon as you download the final file from your designer. They also specify that non-logo work might include items the designer does not have the copyright for (images, artwork, etc.). 

If this is the case, you will have permission to print and display those images, but the copyright will be retained by the designer or third party. 

99Designs vs DesignCrowd: Who Does It Better?

With some of the basics out of the way, let’s take a closer look at how you can leverage these platforms to get more design submissions and work with top-level designers. Mostly, we will refer to the professional design here about logo designs for simplicity. 

Length of Time to Receive Submissions & Number of Submissions

The design contest process on both sites requires a closer look. How long do professional designers have to create designs according to your specifications, and how many entries will you receive? 

At 99Designs, the default length of the contest is seven days. There are four days in the qualifying round and three days in the final round. If you need a little more time to review the entries to your logo design contests, you can always request an extension. 

Depending on your contest package, you will get between 30 and 90 designs. 

On the other hand, DesignCrowd has the potential to move much faster. You can opt for a three-, five-, or ten-day contest model. This allows you to get to the results much faster if you’re in a hurry to put a new logo or marketing out into the world. They estimate that you will get more than 50 designs. 

Ease of Use and Communication

When you’re looking for graphic design services, ease of use on the platform is an important aspect when deciding which platform wins. Setting up a design contest on both 99Designs vs DesignCrowd is quite simple. You won’t have too many questions about the process of contacting graphic designers and how to get your first pieces. 

However, this first glance at the platform isn’t indicative of your overall experience. 

99Designs has an interface that is much easier to use and navigate. They make it clear where to go and how to interact with your freelance graphic designers. This platform keeps things simple: clear buttons to guide your process, no extraneous advertising, and no confusion. 

On the other hand, many people who use the DesignCrowd design contests find that the interface is less optimal. It has extra buttons everywhere, which detracts from a streamlined view of where you should go next and how to navigate through your logo design contests. 

Ability to Select a Freelance Designer

Finding a good graphic designer can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Fortunately, both 99Designs and DesignCrowd attract a large crowd of graphic designers with varying levels of talent. If you find a person you would like to work with, how easy is it to secure them on 99Designs vs DesignCrowd?

99Designs makes this easy: you can search through their database to find the professional designer you want to work with. All you have to do is click invite on their profile. This sets the stage to either definitively work with them one-on-one or invite them to an open contest model. 

DesignCrowd offers a very similar service. You can invite specific designers to your design contest, but you can also initiate a one-on-one project. Head to their profile, click on “View Service,” and you will see their pricing and can place an order. 

Custom Projects

Maybe you already know the basics and don’t want to go through design contests that will require you to vet logo designers and wade through tons of entries. The good news is that both 99Designs and DesignCrowd allow you to set up a custom project brief and work one-on-one with a graphic designer. 

That being said, 99Designs is mostly focused on the design contest aspect of its business model. You will find quality designers here, but it’s a bit more complicated for a business owner to initiate a more custom design project. 

DesignCrowd offers talented designers who are more than happy to accept contracts from you. If you don’t need to test multiple designers to create a custom logo, then you might be better off with this platform instead. They make it quite simple to hire the graphic or logo designer of your choice. 

Money-Back Guarantees

How can you ensure that you get the most bang for your buck? If you want to get a logo designed, you might be taking a risk by running a contest for a logo maker. However, there are some protections put in place for you if the design quality is poor. 

99Designs does offer a 60-day money-back guarantee, but it’s complicated to figure out if you qualify. Here are the restrictions for your money-back guarantee: 

  • No guaranteed prize projects
  • No money back after entering the final round
  • No refunds after naming a winner
  • No one-on-one projects.

Similarly, DesignCrowd offers a 60-day money-back guarantee with a handful of exceptions. You will not receive a return of money paid for posting or upgrade fees. There are also no refunds if you have committed or guaranteed your project. 

Pricing for 99Designs vs DesignCrowd

If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering what the pricing plans look like for 99Designs and DesignCrowd. Here’s what you can expect to pay to run a design contest on either of these sites. 

99Designs

99Designs has very straightforward pricing plans. Their pricing is based on the type of design contests you want to run. 

For logo design, you can opt into their Bronze package for the lowest initial investment at just $299 (which should give you about 30 designs). Their rates go all the way from Bronze to Silver ($499), Gold ($899), and Platinum ($1,299). Platinum gives you access to fewer submissions but more from top-level designers. 

Be sure to select the exact graphic designs you’re interested in to check out the cost of hiring designers via some of these contests. 

DesignCrowd

DesignCrowd has a slightly different pricing structure, requiring you to pay a $129 posting fee upfront and a 4 percent transaction fee. The fee for design contests depends on the type of service you want (a logo maker, t-shirt designer, flyer designer, etc.) 

The downside is that their pricing isn’t nearly as straightforward as what you’ll find online with 99Designs. If transparency is the most important thing to you when running a logo contest, then you might want to reconsider if DesignCrowd is the ideal fit. 

Final Thoughts: Will You Use 99Designs vs DesignCrowd?

99Designs and DesignCrowd are both very popular platforms that give you a variety of design concepts without having to reach out to individual graphic designers one-on-one. For the most part, 99Designs wins at the end of the day for its straightforward pricing plans, flexibility, and ease of use. 

If you’re in the market for design submissions, pop on over to one of these platforms to see if you can get the logo designs, t-shirts, or web designs that you have been searching for! 

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