Due to business owners having very little money and very little patience launching their business, Sites like 99 designs makes money on the speed that the designers work at in order to spam their clients with their designs. Business owners who lacks respect for their company and do very little to no research on the power of design and how it could help their business.
Here are the reasons why most design contests are bad for both the designer and the client:
For the designer:
1. You will not get any of the credit from your work despite what you’re told.
Most clients that will select your work on 99designs may claim they will refer to you for the design. Truth is that the service of 99designs and getting those mediocre designs in less than 24 hours is worth remembering more than your design.
2. Spammy designers will always win, no matter how bad the design is.
Have you seen the majority of the designers that win contests? Most of the winners have submitted the design about 10 times in order to get their so called “brilliant” solution in the mind of the contest holders
3. Bad practice for the professional world.
Because the client is usually the one communicating in the contest, it would be very difficult to come up with a portfolio piece with very little influence from the client, especially if you are unable to ask questions.
4. People may copy your work to try and gain an advantage.
Believe it or not, most of your competitors, love to gain ideas and copy to try and level the playing field. Some of the designs I’ve seen win were designs that looked very similar to some of the work that was submitted.
5. You won’t make a killing doing this.
Even if you’re a hotshot designer, the chances of the client choosing your design is close to 0%. there are thousands upon thousands of designs submitted and the contest holder will select the cutest logo, not the strongest. They tend to do this mainly because they aren’t educated in design, otherwise they wouldn’t have used the service to begin with.
1. Contestants will plagiarize.
That design that you will fall in love with may very well be a design that someone else owns and you won’t know it until it’s too late. Unfortunately, this happens on a regular basis and if you are deciding to use this service, you can only hope that the work you choose isn’t stolen or you’re gonna wish that you would have used that court money for someone who would’ve elevated your business to begin with.
2. No Creativity
Designers have 5 days with a tiny brief of what you expect from them. This is not how an effective design gets created. With very little skill, little money, little time and little brief, you will get little results.
3. Designers won’t understand you
Following up with the reasons above, your designers will not understand much about your business. Part of designing a great logo or website is understanding the company’s mission, history, bio, etc. Sure, you can provide that information in the brief, but in order for great designers to understand your company, they have to ask those questions to better understand it.
4. The talent pool in these contests are slim to none.
There is very little talent among these design contest sites, simply because the designers that do value their work at a higher level are not going to want to work for you in chump change and buttons. Most of the designers on these sites are Photoshop hobbyists or people who are living in countries where your small amount of money will suffice. What you pay and how you work, is what you’ll get.
Design contests are bad. Period. People have a hard time understanding that great design will yield huge results. It’s a shame that business owners turn to these sites to get an icon that will hold up for decades to represent their brand overnight for a few bucks. To the designers who are looking for a better alternative, just design whatever you want for your portfolio. It’s more fun that way. If you need the money, contact your local businesses. They may need your help. Sure, you wont be making a living right away, but neither will 99designs. For the people who are looking for designs, I suggest going to sites like Linkedin or Behance.net and try looking for local designers.