Back in 2014, I was just browsing for ideas on how to promote and sell my logo design service when I came across 99designs. The page that comes up from the search engine results was for selling ready made logos. Yes, I have loads of those on my drive. I would have, considering my clients get at least their initial concepts and then some more. So I sign up right away. Sadly, I learn that I had to win a “contest”? before I could upload any ready made designs.
Now, 99designs hold competitions or “contest” whereby a “contest holder” puts up a “prize fund” to go to the designer who designs the contest holder’s choose after the contest has closed. This could be $199( USD’s) 0r $299 or even $450. 99Designs will take a large 30% chunk of this before passing it onto the “winner”.
What happens in the arena.
I entered twenty of these “contests”. First of all you read the contest holders brief, then offer up a design concept or four. They give you feedback and suggest changes they would like to see (same as a normal client). As this goes on other designers have joined the “contest”.
As the contest holder leaves comments and marking certain designs with a rating, the other “contestants ” begin to plagiarise your stuff and add their own little bit of polish. The contest holder is then so overwhelmed with so much stuff that all looks the same they start thinning down the selection by way of rejection. Before you know it, all your original entries have been removed from the contest and the winner is a lucky “clone” of your original concept and design.
You are used as a free think tank and concept builder.
This happened a lot of the time over the twenty contest I entered. Other times after working with contest holders and perfecting a design for them after many revisions they withdraw their funds and no one gets to keep the prize. It becomes obvious that some just use it as a free “think tank”.
Just one consolation (or maybe 20 little ones)
I have around some unique concepts that I can reutilize.
Touting for work is always a good thing, right. But a waste of time isn’t. As long as you have plenty of time on your hands, feel extremely lucky and don’t mind people taking you on, then give 99designs a shot. Or if you have better things to do, like spend more time with your family and make some money when ever you can, then my advice is to leave well alone.
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Your experiences of 99Designs.
Are you a designer of logos or other graphic design? Have you ever used 99 Designs either as a contest holder or contestant? What was your experience? Feel free to leave your comments.
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