Looking for the best 99designs alternative? If so, keep reading below to discover some useful websites like 99designs to fire up your freelance design career.
99designs is a site that connects designers with clients. It has over 1.4 million designers and about half a million served clients.
Freelancers earn by participating in and winning contests or working directly with clients who specifically choose them, in what’s known as 1-to-1 projects.
Can you make decent money on 99designs? Yes, you can, but the company’s service structure won’t favor you if you are not really good at design.
It’s for this reason that many beginner and low-level designers find themselves stuck in contest participation, hardly ever winning.
You will also be looking to stand out from a crowd of 1.4 million, something I see as arguably the biggest barrier to real progress.
Thankfully, 99designs is not the only platform of its kind. This article discusses 10 sites like 99designs that are worth considering.
Sites similar to 99designs
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Crowdspring is home to thousands of designers from over 170 countries. It works similarly to 99designs as it allows clients to hire a single designer outright or set up a contest and choose from a set of submissions.
Launched in 2008, the website has served over 52,000 clients, paying from $299 per project, the bulk of which goes to the designer.
It is nowhere near as big as 99designs, but then the competition is lower, too. That means your chances of finding contests to participate in and actually winning one are roughly equal on the two platforms.
Crowdspring pays designers every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday via PayPal and Payoneer.
DesignHill started as a design contest platform before becoming a more generic marketplace for designers.
With 150,000 creatives serving over 116,000 clients, DesignHill is up there with some of the most active marketplaces.
You might want to join it because it offers a bigger range of services, including print services, which are conspicuously absent in 99designs’ catalog, as well as AI logo making.
You can join the platform’s referral program, too, and earn a 30% commission for all sales generated thanks to you.
As regards payment, DesignHill offers two options: PayPal and Payoneer. The minimum you can request to withdraw is $50, but there is no specific payment day, so you can withdraw as frequently as you can as long as you cross the threshold.
LogoMyWay isn’t as sophisticated from the outside as 99designs and the rest of the premier sites. However, there is nothing feature-related about it that makes it less practical or useful. A client creates a contest and lets designers submit their ideas.
Of course, it’s the designer who impresses them the most that lands the job; project prices are predetermined, and you simply can’t impress a client any other way except by submitting excellent work.
You would say LogoMyWay is friendlier to beginners than 99designs as it accommodates budgets of as little as $200, which more experienced designers are likely to overlook.
What’s more, it has a tiny community of 20,000 designers. This translates to less competition and a better chance of standing out.
All payments are released through PayPal 48-72 hours after a submission has been received and approved. New beginners may, however, have to wait 30 days to receive theirs.
48HoursLogo is an even budget-friendlier way to source business logos through contests. Clients get quotations from as little as $99, depending on the level of expertise their designs require and, of course, the client’s budget.
The money that reaches the designer’s e-wallet is usually less than what the client is charged. So you will make around $75 from the lowest-priced logo design projects. Other brand assets can cost lower than $50 a pop.
One thing I like about 48HoursLogo is the fact that losing a contest doesn’t bar you from making money out of your design. You can still invite people to view your portfolio and buy your non-winning creations.
Also, if your portfolio is impressive, you might be considered for invite-only contests, which attract an automatic $2 tip.
48HoursLogo currently supports PayPal for withdrawals.
Like 99designs, Hatchwise runs contest-based projects where clients post briefs and designers submit their ideas with the hope of being picked.
Its various services, including copywriting, follow the same assignment process.
What sets it apart is its pricing, which varies not only by designer level but also by type of design work and the number of entries required.
On the flip side, Hatchwise has a community of 34,000 designers, which is way less than what 99designs offers, and thus attracts fewer clients. It also offers lower pay rates, which may indirectly encourage clients to exploit designers.
You will receive payment for all contests won on the 1st and 14th of every month in your PayPal account. There is no withdrawal threshold, so if you are industrious enough, you can receive pay twice every month.
Other websites like 99designs
Despite having the word “Logo” in its name, LogoTournament is not just a logo design hub. It also facilitates web design and lets you build a portfolio even with zero logo design skills.
While LogoTournament has its advantages, its text-based design brief process is a huge issue for designers. Clients have to be good at textual descriptions or it might take hours and loads of work before a simple message is put across.
99designs, as you may probably know, has this striking visual-based ordering process that makes a joke of sites like LogoTournament. It is definitely something to take into consideration when choosing between the two companies.
From a payment standpoint, LogoTournament doesn’t match what 99designs has to offer. The difference is marginal, though, with LogoTournament paying $275 for the lowest-priced contest as opposed to 99designs’ $299.
DesignBro is one of the newest kids on the block. It boasts an excellent interface that ensures a smooth user experience for both its designers and its clients.
Clients like the platform for its recruitment process which lets in only 5% of all participants. Some platforms just require you to create an account, leaving the client to do the vetting by themselves.
In essence, if you make it into DesignBro, you are among the top five designers in the world. You should not struggle with many of the logo design, web design, and package design contests you participate in.
Worth noting, however, is the fact that each contest has only 10 spots that often get filled out quickly. You want to be fast in identifying and pouncing on opportunities, or it’s going to be difficult to land any doable task.
DesignBro pays the top 3 designers in any contest. Payments are made through PayPal.
DesignContest has over 263,000 qualified designers, each specializing in one or more of 35 different design categories.
It started strictly as a design contest site before the “speed and services” 2.0 upgrade was introduced to facilitate direct hiring.
The site is now similar to and perhaps better in some aspects than 99designs, only it doesn’t have 1.4 million designers.
Still, it has acted middleman in over 13k design competitions and overseen the submission of 3.4 million unique designs.
Here are some of the benefits of using DesignContest as a designer:
- It allows you to have a flexible schedule
- There are relatively many contests to participate in
- It offers a level playing field to all its users
- It has a friendly interface
Participating designers can make from $275 (minus PayPal withdrawal fees) per contest and up to $875.
DesignCrowd sells itself as a graphic design platform that “gives creatives opportunities.”
Similar to many other sites like 99designs, DesignCrowd offers assignments as contests or on a one-on-one basis.
Getting started is easy. You just need to register a designer account, browse the open jobs, and submit ideas for the jobs you think you can handle.
Clients may or may not get back to you, but the submissions will sure get you work someday.
DesignCrowd takes your profile up the levels as you participate in contests, gradually increasing your chances of being considered for one-on-one projects.
You’ll also earn participation or consolation prices along the way, which should incentivize your industry.
DesignCrowd pays its designers via PayPal, Skrill, and Payoneer.
10. Zillion Designs
Zillion Designs has over 100,000 designers, which it uses to provide more than 100 design solutions to its clients.
This categorization makes it easy for designers to find their strong suits and identify relevant contests.
You can join Zillion Designs anytime and without much prior design skills. All you will need is to provide a scanned government-issued ID and create a profile that matches what’s in the ID. If you are below 18 years, you will be required to provide the ID of your parent or legal guardian.
There is a good amount of contests on Zillion Designs to hop on if you are a good designer. Basically, you can find something to try out at least once every day.
It will take some time to turn clients’ necks, but all the constant contest participation will surely pay off.
There are more 99designs alternatives that didn’t make it into this list, but there aren’t many too different from the ten we have chosen.
Let me know in the comments which one you have used and how you liked it.