Do You Get the Best Return on your Graphic Design Expenses?

99designs logoAs marketers, we all try to stretch our marketing dollars (especially in these tough economic times). And even if you have a huge marketing budget, I cannot understand why you would want to pay a premium when you can get the same product or service for a fraction of the price…

Graphic design could potentially be a major expense in your marketing budget because to access these services, you typically need to go through an agency for which you have to pay for their big corporate office in a downtown location, nice cappuccino machine, enhanced receptionist, designer chairs, creative director, chief strategist and so on so forth. 😉 Do you get what you are paying for? Sometimes yes, but very often no. If you are already dealing with freelancers, then you are limited by their time constraints and also the number of choices they can propose.

About 1 year ago, I tried 99designs. It was just to create a small logo to be applied on the web sites of our customers with the mention « Authorized Dealer ». I did not want to spend 10k on that but still, I wanted something that looked professional in a timely manner. I was very pleased with the results. In the recent weeks, I have launched 2 design contests on their site and I am amazed with the results. Even one of my twitter friend @NicolasRoberge just launched a contest here based on our experience.

What is 99designs?

99designs is a disruptive startup which connects passionate designers from around the globe with savvy clients who need design projects completed in a timely fashion without the usual risk or cost associated with professional design. In my own words, you don’t want to pay big bucks but you want to have some alternate designs for your projects. You would not be able to explore as much design alternatives with one single agency at a decent cost.

They reach more than 41k graphic designers worldwide. Talking about diversity… They literally do design crowd-sourcing and the big winner is YOU, not your agency.

How it works?

Prior to submit a project, make sure you know what you want. Be as clear as possible about what you are looking for. Once you have that it is easy as 1-2-3.


Depending on the complexity of your project, you will be ask to select among 4 different package levels (This was not there 1 year ago and it is a nice improvement for both the clients and the designers)


Once the contest is launched, be prepared to receive tons of designs like in the following examples for which we received more than one hundred designs to choose from in less than 3 days. We wanted to have a logo for one of collection of basic items named « Smart Basics ».

99 Designs Smart Basics Screen Shot

As the contest moves forward, you can rate the received designs and give feedback to the designers to help them rectify their proposals if necessary. It also helps the other designers to submit designs that are most likely to fit your needs.

You can visit their blog here or become a Twitter follower here.

My profile on 99designs is: or just click here.

So, what do you think? For me, this has been a revelation. This is true example that the web connects people. This is also a true example that if you run a graphic design agency, your new competitors are global, flexible and very competitive. To me, in a small company, why should I deal with one graphic firm and pay the big price when I can have access to the top graphic designers in the world for a fraction of the price? Welcome to the new world.

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