I recently wrote about my experience with crowdsourcing your design. The experience was a positive one and I discussed the No Spec movement and opposition to sites like it. Through a sponsored post, this week I tried 99designs.
The experience on 99designs was very similar and, I hate to say it, still both simple and enjoyable. I decided to pay for a new Twitter background that better promoted my company, my blog and my services. I paid $100 + about $50 in fees… the minimum and under 99designs recommended amount.
The author utilized a background that was available through a free wallpaper site and then positioned the details that I asked for directly on it. In my directions, I was able to score and provide direct feedback on each design and to each designer. Some of the designers were really getting close… I actually felt a little bad not purchasing multiple designs!
The process for 99designs really exposes a weakness in the traditional graphic design industry. With 99designs, I was able to get a variety of incredibly high quality submissions as well as some that were a bit out of the box. This was my artist's first project on 99designs and they won! The artist took my information and generated a background that was unlike any of the other designs. It's fresh and clean – but still high-tech.
There are 51,000 designers in the 99designs community uploading a new design to the site every 10 seconds. 99designs is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and every day of the year. It's not just a service for folks who can't afford design resources, either. 99designs has done designs for Pastor Rick Warren (Author of The Purpose Driven Life) for the cover of his next book,
the SxSW Official T?Shirt Project and even Dish Network's van wrap design.
It's going to be difficult for me to stay away from these services. I'm incredibly picky with designers and I'm good friends (I hope still…) with many. I'm always intrigued and amazed at what they're able to accomplish. It's simply that these services provide me with an array of options that I can not get through traditional design firms and interaction.
One thing that I wish 99designs did do was allow their artists to promote themselves and their firms on 99designs. I realize that I would have the opportunity to bypass 99designs fees if I could go directly to the artist – but that's not practical given the advantages of the system. I would still use 99designs when I want to throw something out there and get some creative ideas back… but promoting the artist and their sites would allow me to create an ongoing relationship when that's a better option.