Recently, we set out to get a logo from 99Designs.com – the crowdsourcing web design site.
Basically, the way it works is that you say what kind of logo you are looking for, and a bunch of designers submit logos (over the course of 7 days) for your approval.
You then get the opportunity to pick your favorite as the winner.
Additionally, if you don’t get a design that you love, you can get 100% of your money refunded.
Needless to say, there wasn’t really anything to lose trying it out – so we did. Here is my 99designs review.
Our Review of 99 Designs
The minimum amount you can offer for a design is $295. I decided I wanted to motivate the designers a little bit more, so I offered $30 extra at $325. To my surprise, 4 days later, we still didn’t have a single entry.
Our first entry came in on day 5 and was pretty bad. And we didn’t really start getting many other entries until about day 6, and still, most of them were pretty bad.
To make matters worse, NONE of the designers were actually reading what I was telling them I wanted in the logo. I was very specific about a few things, and I am not sure if they just didn’t care or didn’t read it – but either way, none of them were hitting the mark.
After the 7 days were up, we ended up getting 38 entries from about 20 designers, yet it was still a very easy decision to ask for our money back. So I called 99 Designs and had to leave a voicemail since all the operators were busy, and about 3-4 hours later, I got a callback.
I have to say dealing with the customer service at 99 Design was great. They couldn’t have been more accommodating.
The rep I was talking to said he could immediately refund my money if I wanted, or he could open up the contest for another 5 days to try to get some additional entries to come in.
He assured me that if I still wasn’t happy with any of the entries, I could still get my money back.
So I said, let’s go another 5 days.
He also suggested going to find active designers on 99D who were creating stuff that I liked and requesting that they submit something for my contest.
It was a good suggestion, as it did seem to get some better designers to submit.
After we ran the contest for another 5 days, we got about another 30 or so entries, but still, 99% (no pun intended) didn’t seem to follow our instructions.
There were a few decent ones, but none of them were really what we were going for.
So I called back again, and after leaving another voicemail, I got a callback and quickly got our money refunded.
Thoughts on the process
In theory, I love the idea of 99Designs, but looking back now, I honestly feel a little guilty that all those people worked and none of them got paid a dime.
Granted, they all knew that was the risk they were taking, and some of them did VERY LITTLE work – but the process seems like a very inefficient one.
You can easily go to a site like UpWork.com and find designers who will create a logo for you for $300 (or a lot less), and I think that will be the direction I will go in the future.
The Better 99 Designs Service
On another note, 99Designs has another interesting product/service where they sell Logo Templates for $100.
Basically, they are beautiful and well-designed logos that you just plug into your website or company name. So after purchasing, you tell the designer what you want the logo to say, what color you want it, etc, and they make the simple and quick customizations for you.
Some of them are really great logos. These are some examples of logos that you can have customized:
While some of them have been used by others since it is a usage license, for the logos that have yet to be purchased, they allow you to purchase an exclusive license for $300.
So my thinking is that a service will not work for every business, but for most small business owners and bloggers using an option like this is great.
So depending on what you need it for, it may be something worth considering. I can’t imagine any other way you could get a logo that is as well-designed as many of these for less than $100.
They have over 14,000 logos to choose from, and you can browse more of them here if you are interested.