Dribbble vs 99Designs: A Comprehensive Comparison for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

In the world of digital design, two names that often come to the forefront are Dribbble and 99Designs. These platforms offer different experiences and services, making them unique in their own ways. For businesses and entrepreneurs, it is essential to understand how each platform can benefit them and align with their specific needs. This comprehensive comparison of Dribbble vs 99Designs aims to provide you with valuable insights that will assist you in making an informed decision about which platform best serves your business goals.

What is Dribbble and what is 99Designs?

Dribbble is a community platform for designers and creative professionals to showcase and share their work. Known for its ‘show and tell’ for designers, it provides a space where people can upload small screenshots (shots) of their designs and applications, receive feedback, and connect with others in the industry. Its primary use is for inspiration, recruitment, and networking among the design and creative community.

On the other hand, 99Designs is a global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love. It operates as a freelance marketplace where businesses can either post a design contest to receive a variety of design submissions, or hire a designer directly from their profile. The platform spans various design categories including logo design, website and app design, business and advertising, clothing and merchandise, art and illustration, packaging and label, book and magazine, and more.

Key Differences between Dribbble and 99Designs

  1. Purpose: Dribbble serves primarily as a design inspiration and networking platform while 99Designs is a design marketplace where businesses can procure design services.
  2. Design procurement: On Dribbble, businesses can scout for talent by exploring their work and then reach out for potential collaborations. In contrast, on 99Designs, businesses can post design contests or hire freelancers directly.
  3. Payment structure: Dribbble primarily serves as a showcase platform and doesn’t handle payments, unlike 99Designs, which has a structured payment system for its design services.
  4. Design variety: 99Designs offers a broad array of design categories while Dribbble leans more towards digital and graphic design.
  5. Community feedback: Dribbble allows for community feedback on designs, while 99Designs typically involves direct client-designer feedback.
  6. Recruitment options: Dribbble offers businesses the opportunity to post job listings, while 99Designs does not have this feature.

Key Similarities between Dribbble and 99Designs

  1. Focus on design: Both platforms are centered around the world of design and cater primarily to designers and businesses needing design services.
  2. Global reach: Dribbble and 99Designs both have a global community of designers, allowing businesses to tap into a diverse talent pool.
  3. Profile and portfolio: Both platforms offer designers the opportunity to create professional profiles and portfolios to showcase their work.
  4. Quality control: Dribbble and 99Designs maintain quality control, ensuring that only professional-level design work is showcased on their platforms.
  5. Interaction: Both platforms facilitate interaction between designers and businesses, promoting a collaborative environment.
  6. Creative exposure: Dribbble and 99Designs both provide designers with opportunities for exposure and recognition in the creative industry.
  7. Industry influence: Both platforms have a significant influence in the design industry, often setting trends and industry standards.

Pros of Dribbble over 99Designs

  1. Community Interaction: Dribbble’s model allows for community critique and interaction, which can lead to the development and refinement of a designer’s work.
  2. Design Inspiration: Given its focus on showcasing work, Dribbble serves as a go-to platform for design inspiration, which can be beneficial for businesses looking for creative ideas.
  3. Talent Scouting: Dribbble provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to scout for talent based on their showcased work, giving a sense of the designer’s style and capabilities.
  4. Less Financial Commitment: While Dribbble doesn’t handle transactions, businesses can use it as a networking tool to find potential collaborators without an immediate financial commitment.
  5. Job Listings: Dribbble provides a platform for businesses to post job listings, which is not available on 99Designs.

Cons of Dribbble compared to 99Designs

  1. No Direct Procurement: Dribbble does not have a built-in mechanism for procuring design services directly, unlike 99Designs which has a structured process for posting design contests or hiring freelancers.
  2. Lack of Payment Structure: While 99Designs has a clear payment system in place for design services, Dribbble does not manage transactions, requiring businesses and designers to arrange payment terms separately.
  3. Limited Design Categories: Dribbble leans heavily towards digital and graphic design, which may limit its usefulness for businesses seeking a wider array of design services.
  4. No Design Contests: Unlike 99Designs, Dribbble does not offer the ability to post design contests, limiting the variety of design ideas a business can receive.
  5. Potentially Less Designer Exposure: Because Dribbble is a platform for showcasing design work, designers may have less exposure to potential clients than they might on a design marketplace like 99Designs.

Pros of 99Designs over Dribbble

  1. Design Procurement: 99Designs offers a structured mechanism for businesses to post design contests or hire freelancers directly, simplifying the process of procuring design services.
  2. Payment Structure: 99Designs has a clear payment system in place for design services, removing the need for businesses and designers to arrange payment terms separately.
  3. Wide Range of Design Services: 99Designs spans multiple design categories, providing businesses with a one-stop-shop for a wider variety of design needs.
  4. Design Contests: 99Designs allows businesses to post design contests, offering the potential to receive a broad array of design ideas.
  5. Client-Focused Feedback: 99Designs encourages direct client-designer feedback, helping to ensure the final design meets the client’s needs.
  6. Quality Guarantee: 99Designs offers a money-back guarantee, assuring clients of satisfactory design outcomes.

Cons of 99Designs compared to Dribbble

  1. Less Community Interaction: Unlike Dribbble, 99Designs doesn’t foster the same level of community interaction and critique, which can be beneficial for refining design work.
  2. Less Focus on Designer Showcasing: 99Designs is less focused on allowing designers to showcase their work and creativity without the structure of a client brief or contest.
  3. Potential for Unsolicited Designs: With design contests, there’s the risk of designers producing work with no guarantee of payment, which can be seen as less fair to designers.
  4. Limited Networking Opportunities: 99Designs is more transactional compared to Dribbble, which might limit networking and collaboration opportunities between designers and businesses.
  5. No Job Listings: Unlike Dribbble, 99Designs does not offer a platform for businesses to post job listings.

Situations when Dribbble is better than 99Designs

  1. Seeking Design Inspiration: When you need fresh ideas and want to see what the latest trends in the design world are, Dribbble can be a great source of inspiration.
  2. Scouting for Design Talent: If you’re looking to hire a designer for an ongoing relationship or a long-term project, Dribbble’s focus on portfolios can help you find a designer whose style aligns with your vision.
  3. Networking Opportunities: If building professional relationships with designers and other businesses in the design industry is important to you, Dribbble’s community-oriented platform offers ample networking opportunities.
  4. Job Postings: If you’re looking to advertise a design-related job vacancy, Dribbble provides a platform for posting job listings.
  5. Low Financial Commitment: If you are just starting out and do not wish to invest heavily in design services immediately, Dribbble allows you to explore designers’ work without immediate financial commitment.

Situations when 99Designs is better than Dribbble

  1. Specific Design Needs: When you have a clear idea of the design you need and want to commission it directly, 99Designs’ marketplace offers a direct way to hire a designer or run a design contest.
  2. Wide Range of Design Services: If you’re looking for more than just digital or graphic design, 99Designs offers a wider array of design services including logo design, product packaging, book covers, and more.
  3. Quick Turnaround Time: If you’re in a hurry to get many design options quickly, the design contest feature on 99Designs can be a great option.
  4. Structured Payment System: If you prefer a platform with a built-in payment system that can handle transactions for you, 99Designs offers this service.
  5. Quality Assurance: If you want a guarantee on the quality of work, 99Designs’ money-back guarantee can provide peace of mind.
  6. Larger Design Pool: If you wish to have a wide variety of design ideas for a particular project, the contest model in 99Designs would suit you best.

Dribbble vs 99Designs Summary

In conclusion, the choice between Dribbble and 99Designs largely depends on your specific needs, goals, and preferences. Both platforms have their strengths and limitations. Dribbble shines when it comes to community interaction, showcasing talent, and offering design inspiration, while 99Designs excels at providing a broad range of design services, structured payment system, and client-focused approach. Understanding these key differences will enable you to make a more informed decision that can better align with your business objectives. As an entrepreneur or business, it’s essential to choose a platform that will serve as a valuable resource for your design needs, and this comprehensive comparison should serve as a useful guide in making that choice.

PurposeDesign inspiration and networking platformDesign marketplace for procuring design services
Design ProcurementBusinesses can scout for talent by exploring their workBusinesses can post design contests or hire freelancers directly
Payment StructureDoesn’t handle paymentsHas a structured payment system
Design VarietyLeans towards digital and graphic designOffers a wide array of design categories
FeedbackAllows for community feedbackInvolves direct client-designer feedback
Job ListingsProvides platform for job listingsDoes not have this feature
ProsCommunity interaction, design inspiration, talent scouting, less financial commitment, job postingsDirect procurement, payment structure, wide range of design services, design contests, quality guarantee
ConsNo direct procurement, lack of payment structure, limited design categories, no design contests, potentially less designer exposureLess community interaction, less focus on designer showcasing, potential for unsolicited designs, limited networking opportunities, no job listings
Better WhenSeeking design inspiration, scouting for design talent, looking for networking opportunities, advertising a design-related job, lower financial commitmentHaving specific design needs, looking for a wide range of design services, needing quick turnaround time, preferring a built-in payment system, needing quality assurance, wanting a wide variety of design ideas
Dribbble vs 99Designs Summary

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