An In-Depth Comparison of 99Designs vs DesignCrowd: Unlocking Creativity

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship and business, the role of graphic design cannot be overstated. A compelling design is not merely a decoration – it’s a powerful tool for communication, brand identity, and customer engagement. Today, we have online platforms such as 99Designs and DesignCrowd that have revolutionized the way businesses source their design needs. However, choosing between these two platforms can be a daunting task. This article aims to provide an in-depth comparison of 99Designs and DesignCrowd, discussing their features, strengths, weaknesses, and under what circumstances each platform might be a better choice.

What is 99Designs and what is DesignCrowd?

99Designs is a Melbourne-based online platform that facilitates freelance graphic design work. It serves as a global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. From logos, websites, and book covers to t-shirts and more, startups to Fortune 500 companies, 99Designs is the go-to design solution for businesses, agencies, and individuals. The platform operates on a contest basis where businesses post design briefs and then designers submit concepts based on the briefs, and the client chooses the best design.

On the other hand, DesignCrowd is an online marketplace providing logo, website, print, and graphic design services by giving access to freelance graphic designers and design studios around the world. The Sydney-based company operates by providing a venue for designers to compete in design contests posted by customers. After receiving submissions, the customer will provide feedback, iterate, and ultimately pick the best design. Unlike 99Designs, DesignCrowd offers the possibility of ongoing work with a specific designer after a successful project.

Key differences between 99Designs and DesignCrowd

  1. Pricing structure: While both platforms provide various pricing plans, 99Designs tends to be more expensive than DesignCrowd. DesignCrowd offers more affordable options, making it more accessible for smaller businesses or startups.
  2. Design Contest Duration: Typically, design contests on 99Designs run for one week, while DesignCrowd allows customers to choose the duration of their contests, ranging from three days to ten days.
  3. Number of Design Submissions: DesignCrowd often promises more design submissions per contest compared to 99Designs, depending on the package chosen by the client.
  4. Designer Selection: With 99Designs, clients can opt to work one-on-one with a designer of their choice. DesignCrowd, however, emphasizes more on the contest model, with less emphasis on direct collaboration.
  5. Money-Back Guarantee: Both platforms offer a money-back guarantee, but the terms and conditions vary. DesignCrowd provides a more comprehensive money-back guarantee compared to 99Designs.

Key similarities between 99Designs and DesignCrowd

  1. Crowdsourcing Model: Both 99Designs and DesignCrowd utilize a crowdsourcing model, where multiple designers participate in design contests to provide the client with a variety of options.
  2. Global Designer Community: Both platforms boast a vast, international community of graphic designers ready to contribute to design contests.
  3. Variety of Design Services: From logos and business cards to websites and packaging, both 99Designs and DesignCrowd offer a wide range of design services to cater to various business needs.
  4. Feedback Mechanism: Both platforms facilitate interaction between clients and designers during the contest phase, enabling revisions and improvements on designs based on client feedback.
  5. Intellectual Property Ownership: Upon final payment, both 99Designs and DesignCrowd ensure that the client holds full intellectual property rights to the chosen design.
  6. Customer Support: Both platforms offer customer support services to aid clients and designers throughout the design process.

Pros of 99Designs over DesignCrowd

  1. Designer Collaboration: 99Designs allows clients to work one-on-one with a specific designer. This direct collaboration can lead to better understanding and consequently, better design outcomes.
  2. Quality of Designs: 99Designs often attracts high-quality designers leading to a higher overall standard of design submissions compared to DesignCrowd.
  3. Ease of Use: The platform’s user interface is well-designed, intuitive, and streamlined, often regarded as being easier to navigate compared to DesignCrowd.
  4. Structured Pricing Plans: 99Designs has clearly structured pricing tiers that provide varying levels of design quality and designer expertise, which can simplify the selection process.
  5. Designer Tier System: 99Designs categorizes its designers into three tiers based on their quality and success rate, helping clients make informed decisions about which designer to engage with.

Cons of 99Designs compared to DesignCrowd

  1. Higher Costs: Generally, 99Designs is considered to be more expensive than DesignCrowd, which can be a disadvantage for startups or businesses with smaller budgets.
  2. Fewer Submissions: With 99Designs, clients might receive fewer design submissions for their contests compared to DesignCrowd.
  3. Less Flexible Contest Duration: Design contests on 99Designs have a set duration of one week, while DesignCrowd offers more flexibility, allowing clients to choose their contest duration.
  4. Limited Money-Back Guarantee: The terms and conditions of 99Designs’ money-back guarantee can be restrictive compared to DesignCrowd.
  5. Less Emphasis on Custom Projects: 99Designs focuses mainly on design contests, while DesignCrowd provides more opportunities for customized projects and one-to-one jobs with designers.

Pros of DesignCrowd over 99Designs

  1. More Affordable: DesignCrowd tends to be more cost-effective compared to 99Designs, making it a preferable option for startups or businesses with limited budgets.
  2. More Design Submissions: DesignCrowd usually offers more design submissions per contest compared to 99Designs, providing clients with a wider range of options.
  3. Flexible Contest Duration: DesignCrowd allows clients to choose the duration of their design contests, which can range from three to ten days, providing more flexibility than 99Designs.
  4. Comprehensive Money-Back Guarantee: DesignCrowd offers a more comprehensive money-back guarantee than 99Designs, giving clients more assurance and peace of mind.
  5. Greater Emphasis on Custom Projects: DesignCrowd has more opportunities for custom projects and ongoing work with a specific designer, offering greater flexibility than 99Designs.

Cons of DesignCrowd compared to 99Designs

  1. Quality of Designs: While DesignCrowd offers more submissions, the overall quality of designs can sometimes be inconsistent and lower compared to 99Designs.
  2. Designer Screening: 99Designs has a more rigorous screening process for designers, leading to higher-quality work, whereas DesignCrowd has a less stringent process.
  3. User Interface: The user interface of DesignCrowd might not be as intuitive and well-designed as 99Designs, making navigation slightly more challenging.
  4. Pricing Structure: While DesignCrowd can be more affordable, its pricing structure is not as clear and structured as 99Designs, which might make it difficult for some clients to understand.
  5. Designer Collaboration: DesignCrowd places less emphasis on direct collaboration between clients and designers, which might limit the potential for understanding and refining the design requirements.

Situations when 99Designs is better than DesignCrowd

  1. Prioritizing Design Quality: If a business is more concerned with the quality of designs over quantity, 99Designs may be a better choice due to its stringent designer screening process.
  2. Larger Budgets: For businesses with a larger budget, 99Designs’ pricing structure allows them to access higher tier designers for premium design outcomes.
  3. Looking for Direct Collaboration: Businesses preferring to work directly with a designer for better understanding and tailored solutions would benefit from 99Designs’ one-to-one project feature.
  4. Seeking an Intuitive Platform: 99Designs offers a more streamlined and user-friendly interface, making it an easier platform to navigate for clients.
  5. Desire for Designer Ratings: If clients wish to see designer ratings and choose based on proven expertise, the tier system at 99Designs serves this purpose well.

Situations when DesignCrowd is better than 99Designs

  1. Budget Constraints: For startups or businesses with limited budgets, DesignCrowd’s more affordable options provide access to a wide range of designs.
  2. Preference for More Options: If a client prefers to have more design options to choose from, DesignCrowd typically delivers more submissions per contest.
  3. Need for Speed: When time is of the essence, DesignCrowd’s flexibility in contest duration allows for quicker turnaround times.
  4. Looking for Extended Work: Businesses seeking to engage in more customized projects or ongoing work with a specific designer may find DesignCrowd’s model more accommodating.
  5. Preference for Comprehensive Money-Back Guarantee: DesignCrowd’s more comprehensive money-back guarantee might provide additional peace of mind for clients.

99Designs vs DesignCrowd Summary

Navigating the terrain of online design platforms requires a keen understanding of your specific business needs and budgetary considerations. Both 99Designs and DesignCrowd, with their unique features and differing service models, offer considerable opportunities for businesses to meet their design requirements. Understanding the nuances of each platform – 99Designs with its premium offerings and designer collaboration, and DesignCrowd with its cost-effective solutions and flexibility – will empower businesses to make an informed decision that best aligns with their strategic goals. Ultimately, the choice between 99Designs vs DesignCrowd will depend on which factors you prioritize and how these platforms can best serve your specific design needs.

OverviewAn online platform that connects businesses with graphic designer s via design contests.An online marketplace that connects businesses with graphic designers and design studios around the world via design contests.
PricingGenerally more expensive. Offers structured pricing plans.More affordable with a wider range of pricing options. Lack of clear structure.
Design SubmissionsOften delivers fewer, but higher quality design submissions per contest.Usually offers more design submissions per contest but can vary in quality.
Designer CollaborationAllows for direct collaboration with specific designers.Emphasizes more on the contest model, with less direct designer collaboration.
Contest DurationFixed contest duration of one week.Allows clients to choose their contest duration, from three to ten days.
Money-Back GuaranteeProvides a money-back guarantee but with more restrictive terms.Offers a more comprehensive money-back guarantee.
ProsHigh-quality designs, intuitive platform, designer collaboration, designer tier system.Cost-effective, more design submissions, flexible contest duration, emphasis on custom projects.
ConsHigher costs, fewer submissions, less flexible contest duration, limited money-back guarantee.Inconsistent design quality, less stringent designer screening, less intuitive interface, less emphasis on direct collaboration.
Better WhenQuality of designs is a priority, larger budgets, desire for direct collaboration, need for intuitive platform, prefer designer ratings.Budget constraints, prefer more design options, need for speed, looking for extended work, prefer comprehensive money-back guarantee.
99Designs vs DesignCrowd Summary

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