99designs gives business owners and professionals a way to complete design projects within their budget and without any risk. The user posts a project to the 99designs website. The user selects the amount they are willing to pay. The higher the amount, the more designs they will receive. The project will begin to receive proposed designs from the user community. These include any kind of design project, from logos and websites to stationary, brochures, t-shirts, icons, WordPress themes, banner ads and business cards. 99 Designs boasts some admirable stats, with around 94 design submissions per project, over 1,000 open projects, more than 72,000 projects to date, over $310,000 worth of projects current on offer and nearly $100,000 in designer payouts in the previous month.
99designs was founded by Mark Harbottle. Harbottle is also the chairman and co-founder of Site Point. The website has also been backed by a handful of investors, including Harbottle, Matt Mickiewicz, Leni Mayo Andrew Walsh who is the former CEO of HitWise and current non-executive director of MelbourneIT. In April 2011, 99designs raised $35 million from Accel Partners and other angel investors.
99designs keeps users in control of their budgets while helping them find talented, creative individuals to complete their projects. The contest system also helps users know exactly what they are getting from the start. The user can post a contest and will receive their money back if they do not see a design they like among the entries. 99designs also stands out by focusing on more than virtual products, with options for t-shirt designs, print, business card, stationary and brochure designs.
The 99designs website invites users with a lightly colored background and a combination of blue and orange hues. The homepage features a one minute video explaining how the site works while two columns of links provide users with a list of available design categories. The bottom of the page further entices users with current website stats as well as a list of publications that have featured 99 Designs.
A new user can join the 99designs community by clicking the small “Register” button tucked in to the upper, right hand corner of the homepage. The registration form requires an email address, display name and password as well as what type of account is being registered (either a designer or customer). A box at the bottom of the form must be checked to confirm the user’s agreement with the 99designs general services agreement and contest services addendum. After submitting the information, the user is sent an activation code which must be accessed to complete account registration.
Much like similar websites, the cost of 99designs depends on the type of project the user is interested in. Each category has a minimum, although the user can go higher if they like. For example, logo designs begin at around $300, WordPress themes at around $500, buttons and icons at around $200, stationary starts at about $200 and t-shirt designs around $150. Twitter backgrounds come in as the cheapest, starting as low as around $100.
99designs offers users a cost effective way to get a quality design for their business. The website caters to all kinds of design projects, from clothing to stationary, business cards and virtual products like WordPress themes.