Crowdsourced logo and web design work. Recent experiences? Site you'd recommend?


I'm at a fairly established startup, and we need our logo and look/feel overhauled. I'm thinking about using a crowdsourced design site, along the lines of 99designs. Lots of similar sites now exist. Can you recommend a particular site, that you've had a recent great experience with?

I'm interested in crowdsourcing this partly for the low cost and partly to get the vision of several designers, rather than being tied to one person's view. Thanks.

Marketing Website Branding Web Design Crowdsourcing

asked Jun 7 '11 at 03:49
21 points
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9 Answers


I work with 99designs occasionally. It's not an amazingly low cost if you separate the design work from the rest of the implementation (like you have to with this) but it's good to have a lot of different ideas and pick the one that looks best.

One caution is that you can easily get designers who don't understand what does and doesn't translate into a webpage where you'll be changing text, hiding pieces, showing on different screens, etc. In addition to the design feedback make sure they will give you something you can use.

answered Jun 7 '11 at 05:15
474 points


For an established start-up that is looking for an upgrade to it's branding as a component of the overall marketing of your company -- why not establish a relationship with a professional designer that will take the time to learn your company, your market, your unique value proposition and work with you to develop the visual components of your overall story?

Aren't you worth it?

smile Lots of time is spent making sure the code works. We strive to ensure we hire programmers that know their code. We understand that the programmer needs to spend the right time understanding the business requirements. Why wouldn't we demand the same level of expertise, experience and commitment from the people we work with on the critical aspect of marketing our product?

As the other answers point out, design is not just creating an image -- it is understanding the different mediums that the image will be used. It is integrating the logo with an overall style guide. It is creating the design elements to tie together your online and "offline" marketing. It is creating a visual story that supports your overall message.

I am sure that there are golden needles in the haystack of a crowd of design freelancers with time on their hands. Maybe you will get luck and get at least what you pay for. On the other hand, your business might be worth more than that!

answered Jun 10 '11 at 07:05
Joseph Barisonzi
12,141 points
  • Your assumption is that "professional" designer will create designs of higher quality. This is far from being universally true. A designer will certainly cost more than someone on 99designs. They might produce a better result but the reality is that they might just as well produce worse results. I've used 99design and been happy with the end result. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk 12 years ago
  • Having recently completed the use of a 99design to give us good ideas when our team was swamped I want to point out a challenge. Copywrite. Despite our asking explicitly not to use clip art images -- every design we had used sourced material which was not properly licensed. We ended up getting the license for our favorite image -- and 99design did the right thing to reimburse us our fee. Be sure to ask and check -- double check if the design had the rights to all of the images they used. – Joseph Barisonzi 12 years ago


i would only use it to augment your more high-quality freelancers.
I would look at and for the best of the best.
99designs is fast and cheap. but it can produce a minimal product.
But for branding yourself, you dont want minimal. you want distinction.

answered Feb 9 '12 at 06:14
31 points


I recently used 99designs for logo and web page design (two separate projects). For me the price was the bottom line. I am in the early phase of developing a startup and while I have the time to provide feedback, I do not have much capital. 99designs worked out well, but I worked extremely hard on both the design brief and designer feedback to ensure that I got what I wanted. A lot of the submissions were terrible, but I weeded out the designers I didn't like and worked very closely with the remaining designers to ensure the end product suited me. I am very pleased with the end product in each case.

If you have time (and discipline) but not capital, I suggest going with something like 99designs.

If you don't have time then I strongly suggest avoiding any such service. Because the design is a competition, designers will be far less willing to invest their time creating numerous unique designs. You won't get as many choices as you would with a design firm, so ensuring your vision comes to fruition is your responsibility

answered Feb 10 '12 at 03:35
121 points


I've had some hit and miss experience with and Lots of mediocre entries but a few good ones (and sometimes that's all it takes). I had bad experience using hatchwise, very amateurish designs so I can't recommend them. You can also look for logo designers on Elance, Guru, and oDesk.

answered Feb 9 '12 at 17:51
91 points


I'm interested in crowdsourcing this partly for the low cost and partly to get the vision of several designers, rather than being tied to one person's view

Let's be clear. "Low cost" and "vision" pull in opposite directions. That's nothing to do with the platform: all the well-known ones, and for all I know many or most of the rest are good at their job. You just need to be clear what that job is.

The platforms mediate clients with money and needs, and designers with time and talents. Want lots of ideas to help your own thinking? Kick off an open contest (or whatever the terminology is for the site of your choice). Lots of people will browse, some will dash off something, a few will choose to devote more than the few minutes that a 1% or lower chance of earning your cash warrants - they'll typically be the ones with more time on their hands, of course. You'll get a result. If you're lucky you'll get exactly what you want, but most likely you'll end up with an idea you like, but not the finished result you're after.

Want a choice of vision? Then you have to invest time. Hunt around to find designers who are showing the kind of creativity you're looking for. Then invite a few to a closed contest. If you're inviting three bids, and the fee's appropriate, then you're likely to get some no shows, but the ones who turn out will invest a bit more time and energy at the first stage.

answered Feb 10 '12 at 00:05
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points
  • I wonder if your idea of "closed contest" is something that you've done personally with good results or are you just throwing random ideas? 99designs works because both clients and designers trust the platform and it's easy for both parties. Your idea is time consuming for the client (how and where do you "hunt for designers"?) and the designer has no reason to trust that you'll pay them as you're just a random person on the internet. – Krzysztof Kowalczyk 12 years ago
  • @KK Open and closed contests aren't my idea, they're a common and valuable feature of many crowdsourcing platforms. The platform sorts out payment as usual, and most sites have some way (if you're a noob) of establishing trust, e.g. by depositing a percentage of the fee to show good faith. – Jeremy Parsons 12 years ago


I used 99 designs. I hated the experience. And got so-so results

I don't know of a better alternative that will provide decent results for little money.

answered Feb 10 '12 at 04:02
Tim J
8,346 points


If you have a look at 99designs, try haven't tried them but met them several times a trade shows and the like. Great guys and very keen to work with startups in various ways through integration or product specialisation.

answered Jun 7 '11 at 09:02
Robin Vessey
8,394 points


Had a Web badge done on 99designs. Did not quite like the experience, nor the result. Maybe it works better when you place the bounty well above the median, but then you don't get the price advantage anymore. (I do not mean just the direct costs - you would have to spend much more time providing feedback to hundreds of designers.)

answered Jun 7 '11 at 17:57
Dmitry Leskov
606 points

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