Most software developers have horrible graphics design skills. I am no exception. So I decided to run a contest on 99designs.com for some artwork I wanted to use to promote Perfect Table Plan. I have used DesignOutput.com once before, but I decided to give their competitor a try after seeing the stackoverflow.com and homedocumentmanager.com logos created through 99designs.
I put up $300 prize money for a humorous cartoon of a seating arrangement gone wrong. Fees cost me an additional $69. The detailed brief is here and I also supplied this rough sketch:
Here is the winner I chose:
I ran it as a ‘guaranteed’ competition to try and attract more designers I also made an effort to give plenty of feedback on the designs submitted and I let it run the full 7 days. I found the 99designs website easy and intuitive to use. Setting up the competition only took ten minutes or so. My only gripe is that the ‘eliminate’ and ‘choose winner’ buttons are so close together that it would be easy to click the wrong one. You do have to confirm the winning choice however.
Most of the other competitions are for logos and websites, so mine was a little unusual. But I still got over 40 different designs (some variations on a theme) from 20 different designers. You can see the designs here (those that haven’t been withdrawn). The quality of the entries varied, but much of it was really excellent. I am very happy with the winning entry.
99designs seems rather brutal for the designers. 40+ entries is common and some contests get over 1,000 designs entered. This means stiff competition and the designers don’t get anything unless they win. I am guessing that they are mostly students, who are happy for the practice, or living in cheaper parts of the world, where $300 is a significant amount of money. But it certainly offers excellent value for money for those running contests.