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99designs Alternatives that
will Bring You Better Results

99designs
Alternatives that
will Bring You
Better Results
99designs Alternatives that
will Bring You
Better Results

How many times have you heard of a platform called 99designs? Probably, more than 99 times if you listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, watch YouTubers, or just have their ad popping up in your feed. But is 99designs the only way of getting a decent design? 


Surprise, surprise, it’s not. There are plenty of 99designs alternatives which can bring you a better, faster, and cheaper result. In this article, we’ll focus on six competitors that you might consider for your next project. But first, let’s clear up what this advertised platform is.

What is 99designs?

99designs screenshot

99designs is a creative platform that offers design services throughout the world. Since its funding in 2008, the platform has worked with thousands of users and completed more than a million requests. 99designs became popular due to its innovative approach to hiring a designer, where people can start contests and have numerous designers work on the project.

Services

The platform offers more than a hundred types of graphic design services. You can choose between such categories:


  • Logo & identity
  • Web & app design
  • Business & advertising
  • Clothing & merchandise
  • Art & illustration
  • Packaging & label
  • Book & magazine

However, if you’re in need of animation, you won’t find such a service on 99designs. Moreover, you can forget about getting a UX/UI design as the platform doesn’t offer it either.

Process: 1-on-1

The platform has the option of working with a designer personally. You can go through the accounts and see the portfolios presented on the pages. To start working with one, simply send them a design brief to specify your request, deadline, and price.


Once your offer is accepted, 99designs requires you to pay the negotiated price upfront, which guarantees your seriousness for a designer. But the money won’t be transferred to the designer until you’ve reached the end of the project and you’re satisfied with the result.

Process: Design contest

The other option of finding a designer on 99designs is starting a design contest. You can select the type of design you want and a contest package according to your budget. Before the contest starts, you’ll fill in a design brief that will guide participants.


The contest itself can last from 24 hours to 7 days. During this period, you’ll receive concepts from designers and let them know if they’re moving in the right direction. You can do this with the help of comments or star ratings. Then, you’ll select the winner and get the finalized files of your request.

Pricing

99designs review-1

99designs cost depends on the approach you take to hiring a designer. Working 1-on-1 doesn’t have a set price, and you need to negotiate it with the designer. However, the platform suggests approximate ranges which let you know what to expect:


  • App design ― $699 - $1,999
  • Book cover ― $279 - $999
  • Logo & brand guide ― $429 - $1,479
  • T-shirt ― $199 - $799
  • Web page ― $629 - $2,999


On the other hand, contests have clear pricing. You can select among four tiers that differ by the number and expertise of the designers participating. Here are the examples of prices for some design categories:


  • App design ― $599 / $$899 / $1,599 / $2,499
  • Book cover ― $299 / $499 / $799 / $1,199
  • Logo & brand guide ― $429 / $639 / $1,149 / $1,479
  • T-shirt ― $199 / $299 / $499 / $799
  • Web page ― $599 / $899 / 1,599 / $2,499

We offer you a safe “test drive” of our platform. Experience our cosmic designs for only $7 right now.

We offer you a
safe “test drive”
of our platform. Experience our
cosmic designs
for only $7
right now.

What makes you look for sites like 99designs?

If you’ve followed the link to this article, it means you’re considering choosing a 99designs alternative. And it’s obvious as no matter how much it’s influencers advertise it, the reality is not always beneficial to you. 


To not be unsubstantiated, we’ve made a list of 99designs cons based on the real reviews of its users. Want to see why you should consider a 99designs alternative? Here you go.

Con #1 ― clip art instead of designs

The platform promises you 30 up to 90 design concepts in a single contest. However, the quality of submissions isn’t checked in any way. Most designers submit simple clip art not to waste too much time on a concept as there is a high chance of not winning.

What real users say:

Con #2 ― not guaranteed result

When you pay the money for a contest, you can only hope that a qualified designer sees it and decides to participate. Otherwise, it’s money wasted on primitive visuals. For this reason, the platform even has an option of not guaranteed price. It means you can back off the contest if you don’t like the submissions and get your money back. 


But most of the designers are reluctant to participate in such unsafe contests. So you have no choice but to risk your money and time.

What real users say:

Con #3 ― designers that don’t understand you

99designs has designers that come from around the world. This cultural diversity often becomes a disadvantage as many designers simply don’t speak one language ― English. Sometimes this fact is manageable but quite often leads to miscommunication. As a result, more revisions, more time, or even a concept completely missing the point. 

What real users say:

Con #4 ― unverified expertise

The platform advertises some of its designers as “Top Level.” However, the reality of 99designs users is that these “professionals” are not that different from mid- or junior-level designers. Some may lack professionalism, others ―  simply communication skills. But the price for their services is indeed on the “top level.” 

What real users say:

Con #5 ― refund mission impossible

Working with a designer 1-on-1 requires you to pay the price upfront. Once you’ve started the 1-on-1 project, you can’t get a refund even if the designer brings horrible results. The only option of getting it is if the designer approves your refund request. But as it turns out, hardly anyone would give away the money. 

What real users say:

What 99designs alternative
can you choose?

Honestly, there is no universal choice that fits any customer’s needs. You may want several professional designers working for you or just an inexpensive junior-level. Whatever your need is, we’ve made a list of eight 99designs alternatives that you should consider.

Awesomic

awesomic website screenshot

Awesomic is a flat-rate design subscription platform that matches its customers with professional designers. Having been launched in 2020, Awesomic has already worked with more than 700 businesses and completed over 4000 tasks as of December 2021. 

What makes the platform stand out

  • Quality. The designers at Awesomic are pre-selected based on experience and expertise criteria. Unqualified newbies simply have no way to join the team.
  • Speed. You’ll get the first concepts from your designer in the first 24 hours since the start of the project. But the first updates will be available to you in 2-3 hours after the project is approved. 
  • Communication. Any subscription plan includes a customer success manager and a possibility to chat, send files, and make calls with designers. Also, you may include Slack integration.
  • Safe test drive. Awesomic offers an option of a $7 trial week during which you can see how it works and already get the first results.

Light

$699
/ month
Graphic design
15

Designers available

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1 Light Task Every
Work Day

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Banner & Digital Ads

checkmark yes

Print & Packing

checkmark yes

Book & Magazine

checkmark yes

Emails & Signatures

checkmark yes

Photo & Image Design

checkmark yes

Any Other Graphics

15

Designers available

Book a Demo

Save up to $41.6K annually
on a full-time designer

Best Value

Ultimate

$2,490
/ month
Two basic Plans combined
15

Designers available

1 Task on Trial Period
checkmark yes

2 Tasks (1 Light &
1 Pro) Every Work Day

checkmark yes

Logo & Identity

checkmark yes

Landing Page & Web sites

checkmark yes

Mobile & Web App

checkmark yes

Animations

checkmark yes

Custom Illustration

checkmark yes

Any Graphics Tasks

Slack logo

Slack integration

15

Designers available

1 Task on Trial Period

Book a Demo

1 task on trial period

Save up to $121K annually on a design department

Pro

$1,995
/ month
Graphic & Product design
15

Designers available

checkmark yes

1 Light or Pro Task
Every Work Day

checkmark yes

Logo & Identity

checkmark yes

Landing Page & Web sites

checkmark yes

UI email templates

checkmark yes

Mobile & Web App

checkmark yes

Animations

checkmark yes

Custom Illustration

checkmark yes

Any Graphics Tasks

15

Designers available

Book a Demo

Save up to $77.2K annually
on a full-time designer


  • Light ― $699. Includes basic graphic design services, case studies, and POS materials. Also, it has a customer support manager and a library with 10 million resources licensed.
  • Pro ― $1495. Includes logo, branding, UX/UI, app, and landing page designs.
  • Ultimate ― $1995. Includes everything in the Product tier but doubles the outcome with 2 designers.

The biggest disadvantages

  • Remote. The platform won’t fit those who are looking for an on-site designer.
  • Freelance. In the same way, companies that want to have a full-time designer won’t be able to do so with the help of Awesomic. However, they can simply continue working with it project after project.

Upwork

upwork

Upwork is an impressively large freelance community that counts over 12 million active vendors. Since 2015, the service has covered nearly any outsourcing task you can think of, from software development to financial assistance.

What makes the platform stand out

  • A wide choice of skills. The platform beats even some specialized design services by the number of competencies. Among experts are 2D and 3D designers, mobile UI designers, and book cover designers.
  • Tasks on any budget. Need a short animation and don’t want to go broke? You can get it and fit it into the budget easily. Ready to invest more in a UI design to take your mobile app to the next level? No problem. 
  • Convenient communication. Employers can always keep in touch with their vendors using a desktop, browser, and mobile messaging app.

Pricing

Upwork offers both fixed price and hourly contracts. The latter is relevant for designers. The prices vary from $5/hour up to over $250/hour, but the final cost depends on your project. But no worries. The platform controls what your seller is doing at the moment by counting keystrokes and taking screenshots, so they have no chance

to trick you.

Upwork Pricing

The biggest disadvantages

  • Time-consuming. You might spend hours going through thousands of profiles manually. As a result, you might still not find the expert you need.
  • A scam is possible. The verification system is too basic. Sometimes employers can come across a scammer. Some of the common fraud practices include plagiarism, payment or information scams, or dealing with a sold account.
  • Unpredictable quality of work. Not only experts but also amateurs seek the projects on Upwork. You may experience frustration in spending time and money on poor outcomes.

Design Pickle

Design Pickle

Design Pickle has provided design services on a flat-rate subscription basis since 2015. The platform is home to over 700 creators specializing primarily in graphic and video design. Vendors working on the service have already finished more than 1 million design projects.

What makes the platform stand out

  • Quickness. The service provides fast turnarounds within 1-2 business days. So, if you have an urgent task, you can be sure it will be done in time.
  • Money-efficient. The platform works on a monthly price basis. That means you pay once and can request as many designs as you need.
  • No contracts. Although you pay a set price monthly, you can cancel the chosen plan anytime you want.

Pricing

  • Graphic design:
  • $499 monthly for the Scale plan that offers designs for ads, logos, social media, and more. The Pro plan for $995 monthly expands the range to landing page designs, branded guides, infographics, etc. 
  • Custom illustrations: The same Scale and Pro plans. For $499 monthly, you can get merch, icons, logos, and more. If you need such designs as concept arts, game assets, or illustrated GIFs, you have to pay $995 monthly.
  • Presentation design: Only the $1,495 monthly plan is available. With this plan, you will develop a new presentation, improve the existing one, or even get your own template.
  • Motion Graphics + Graphic design: $1,695 monthly for such services as animated titles, product animations, UI/UX animations, and more. Additionally, you also get the Graphic design plan.
DesignPickle contest tiers pricing

The biggest disadvantages

  • Limited choice of services. The platform offers a variety of designs, but it is still far from perfect. For example, you won’t find the UI/UX or app design service crucial for any business owner, especially the digital one.
  • No trial period. The platform doesn’t have any trial period, so you can’t try it out before paying the full price. Design Pickle only offers video overviews that show how the service works.
  • Pay more for convenience. The service claims that its users could use Slack integration, improving communication and making the overall process more effective. However, It is available only for the Pro plan.

Fiverr

fiverrr screenshot

Fiverr is a huge freelance platform similar to Upwork and other outsourcing bases. It has been on the market since 2010. It embraces the service spectrum from digital marketing to software development. Under graphic and design alone, there are over 40 niche subcategories.

What makes the platform stand out

  • Pay for a project. Unlike Upwork, designers on Fiverr work on a clear per-project basis. That means you can predict and estimate the spendings for the desired design.
  • Wide price range. On Fiverr, you can find a vendor regardless of the sum you possess. If you need a brochure, let’s say you can get it both for $5 and for $450.
  • Much of choice for a project. Here you can find experts in nearly any design niche. People here offer popular services like logo or landing page design, but you can also get a design for your interior or a character model.

Pricing

The various pricing options starting from $5 are one of the biggest advantages of the platform. However, the quality of the job will often depend on the price you pay. You can also use Fiverr Pro to choose from top sellers that are 100% verified but whose service is more expensive. For instance, you can get a logo design from an expert there for $300, but also over $3,000.

Fiverr contest tiers pricing

The biggest disadvantages

  • Pay for safety. Just like on any large open service, a scam on Fiverr is not uncommon. If you decide to save money, you may face fraud. To hire a verified designer, you need to go to Fiverr Pro. 
  • Low prices are sometimes phantom. A $5 project looks attractive, but it may turn into a waste of time and money. You probably need to pay much more for experienced designers and quality work.
  • Unpredictable deadlines. Sellers do not have limits for projects they accept. That is why they can take on too much and not uphold deadlines.

Kimp

kimp website screenshot

Kimp is a platform where you can hire a graphic or video design expert and get unlimited access to their services for a set price. It appeared on the market in 2019 as a graphic design platform. Just in a year, Kimp expanded its expertise and is now also offering video design.

What makes the platform stand out

  • Unlimited services for predictable spendings. With Kimp, you can work on several projects at once for one monthly fee. The price is fixed, so you will not get any surprising billing or additional costs.
  • Advantageous offers. Kimp offers a 7-day trial period, which is not rare for similar platforms. In addition, it delights its customers with occasional discounts.
  • Trello integration. Afraid of getting lost in multiple projects? You can get a grip on them and manage them with your team on Trello.

Pricing

  • Graphic design: $499 monthly for a pack of almost all possible designs from book covers and layouts, email signatures, and GIFs to T-shirt designs, podcast covers, and labels.
  • Video design: the subscription covers services like demos, product highlight videos, social media videos, and even simple character animations for $599 monthly.
  • Graphics + video set for $895 monthly for those who need it all at once.
Kimp contest tiers pricing

The biggest disadvantages

  • Narrow specialization. Kimp is not the best choice for you if you need complex projects. For instance, it cannot help you with web, mobile, or app projects.
  • Monthly price means commitment. A monthly subscription might be suitable only for those who need regular design services.
  • No refund policy. There is no way to get your money back, which complicates matters and turns this platform into a serious decision.

DesignCrowd

designcrowd

Similar to 99designs, DesignCrowd connects its customers with designers through contests. Besides that, it also includes an online logo maker where you can create a simple design for free. 

What makes the platform stand out

  • Huge talent pool. Among more than a million designers, you can definitely find one that suits you.
  • Packages for any budget. You can select either of 5 tiers that significantly differ in price. 
  • Delegation. The platform takes care of the hiring process and contract signing.

Pricing

DesignCrowd contest tiers pricing
  • You can use DesignCrowd’s online premade logo maker for free. All you need to do is submit your email address to design a simple illustration. However, it’s more of a game than an actual way of creating your logo, which requires thorough analysis and research.
  • If you decide to work with a designer 1-on-1, you won’t find any price mentioned on their accounts. You can only make an offer with your budget and hope for it to be accepted. Otherwise, you’d need to spend additional time negotiating or reaching out to other designers.
  • Running a contest has specific numbers which differ depending on the design type. For instance, this is how much each of the web page design contest tiers cost: 

The biggest disadvantages

  • Unqualified designers. DesignCrowd accepts many designers whose expertise level is very low. This means you have a high chance of coming across them in a contest or 1-on-1.
  • Unclear cashback policy. When you sign for a guaranteed contest, it means you guarantee to pay the prize. However, it also means that the platform’s designers will 100% bring you at least one satisfactory result. But if they don’t, DesignCrowd won’t give you a refund. 
  • Additional fees. The platform charges $10-30 or $89 for posting a job offer or contest, respectively.

Dribbble

dribbble screenshot

Dribbble is an online designer community and hiring platform that has been since 2009 on the market. It can boast of a customer base of 60,000 brands, including giants like Google, Apple, Shopify, Airbnb, Slack, and many more.

What makes the platform stand out

  • Public portfolios. On Dribbble, you have an opportunity to get acquainted with designers right from their portfolios. It allows you to estimate whether the web designer skills and style of a particular creator suit you.
  • Advanced filters. You can hire both a full-time designer or choose a freelancer or even an agency. The structured filtering system makes finding a local web designer more time-efficient, as it includes such criteria as keywords, salary range, experience, etc.
  • Lower risks of poor quality. The service bribes with its big-name clients. Little customers complain about low-quality designer performance there, when taking into account client reviews. No wonder, as you can look at your candidate’s portfolio first to check the skills.

Pricing

Dribbble is an online designer community and hiring platform that has been since 2009 on the market. It can boast of a customer base of 60,000 brands, including giants like Google, Apple, Shopify, Airbnb, Slack, and many more.

 

  • Job Board for $299 monthly allows you to hire designers and post jobs on the website. You can also direct the candidates to your websites with an external link.
  • Designer Search for $299 monthly enhances the process of searching for an appropriate candidate. The option implies access to all filters and the designer’s profile details.
  • Job Board + Designer Search for $499 monthly combines the scope of options available in the previous subscriptions.
  • There is also quarterly billing available, and it allows you to save up to 30%. You can also request a yearly subscription.
Dribbble pricing

The biggest disadvantages

  • You can do nearly nothing for free. Two scrolls down the page with candidates, and you come across a paywall. You need a subscription even to see details about a designer. 
  • You should decide straight away. You can’t test the services before paying the full price, because there is no trial period.

CrowdSpring

crowdcpring

CrowdSpring is a crowdsourcing marketplace for designers of over 30 niches. It unites over 220,000 designers who work primarily for businesses. The platform appeared on the market in 2008 and since that time has been serving over 60,000 clients looking for a professional designer.

What makes the platform stand out

  • Different formats of designer selection. You can choose between the crowd and 1-to-1 projects. While the latter is a traditional individual format, the crowdsourcing system allows you to pay for one project and choose from dozens of works from various designers.
  • Probable long-term cooperation. With a crowdsourcing system, there is a chance to find a perfect match. If it happens, you can continue working with the designer or even switch to 1-to-1 mode.
  • Transparent prices. The price for a project includes an award to the designer, the platform’s fee, the price for a contract, tools, etc. With that said, there are no additional costs on top of the main payment.

Pricing

Crowd projects cost mostly from $299, and the starting price for 1-to-1 work is $200. However, the final cost depends on the type of project and the package you choose. You can choose a Silver, Gold, Elite, or Platinum set, and each of them includes specific features.


For instance, the Silver package for logos offers about 60 designs, full intellectual property rights, unlimited designs and designers, etc. With Platinum, you will get about 75 premium designs, priority customer support, project privacy, and other additional features.

CrowdSpring pricing

The biggest disadvantages

  • Questionable money-back guarantee. CrowdSpring assures a refund for unsatisfied customers. However, some clients argue this system doesn’t work.
  • Risks of fruitless work. There is a huge choice of vendors on the platform, but the crowdsourcing system doesn’t guarantee you will come across quality web designer skills you need.
  • Time-consuming process. It may take a lot of time to choose the best variant of your crowd project or a suitable designer for 1-to-1 work.

Takeaway

So, which platform is the best 99designs alternative? Truth be told, this question has no specific answer, as it’s up to you as a customer to decide which service suits you best. 


You can choose a freelance or portfolio website like Upwork or DesignCrowd. There, you’ll get a huge talent pool of both entry-level and professional designers. However, experts are a rarety on such platforms which means you’ll have to spend a great deal of time to find one. 


On the other hand, design subscription platforms, like Awesomic, have already done this stage for you. The designers aren’t accepted there unless they have enough expertise. Besides that, such professionalism allows them to work faster and deliver you first results within 24 hours. However, you won’t be able to hire an in-house designer as the platform offers only remote freelance experts. 


So which alternative are you going to choose?

FAQ

Why do I need a 99designs alternative?

99designs is good at providing you with an easy and fast way of getting a design. However, its business model allows it to accept a lot of designers without checking their expertise level. This leads to many cases of 99designs users spending their money and not getting anything of quality in return. 
Moreover, the platform doesn’t guarantee you a good result which means it’s your own risk to use it or not.

What are the alternatives to 99designs?

If you’re looking for a platform that provides design services, here are the 10 biggest ones you can choose from:

• Awesomic
• Upwork
• Kimp
• DesignCrowd
• Fiverr
• DesignPickle
• Dribbble
• Crowdspring
• Penji
• Flocksy

What is the best 99designs alternative?

Your choice depends on the business model that’s more suitable for you. If you’d like to use a flat-tare subscription platform, you can choose either of these: 

• Awesomic ― offers only designers with high expertise level that bring first results in 24 hours.
• Design Pickle ― has different services like graphic design, illustration, presentation design, and motion graphics.
• Kimp ― simple solution for tight budgets.
• Penji ― besides graphic design, it also offers copywriting, video, and voice-over services.

On the other hand, you might want to choose a freelance or portfolio platform like one of these:

• Fiverr ― has millions of designers that work for as little as $5 per project.
• Upwork ― just like Fiverr, has a solution for any budget from $5/hr to $250/hr.
• Dribble ― includes designers’ portfolios that you can check directly on their account pages.
• DesignCrowd ― has an option of working with a designer 1-on-1 as well as creating a contest to reach out to several dozens of designers.

What’s the cheapest 99designs alternative?

If you're looking for budget-friendly flat-rate subscription service as a place for hiring a designer, you might consider Designster. As of December 2021, the lowest price for a monthly subscription is $149. However you’ll get basic graphic design from entry-level designers with a turnaround of up to two days for this price.
 
The same goes for freelance websites, the lowest price for which projects is $5. But just like on Designster, you can only expect a newbie designer with clip-art quality results. More qualified experts charge at least $600 per project.

Which 99designs alternative is better: a flat-rate service or freelance website?

Each of these alternatives has its pros and cons. If you consider flat-rate subscription services, like Awesomic, here’s what can make you choose it:

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Pre-selected professional designers
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Fixed price that consistently brings several quality designs
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24 hour turnaround time
no mark
Offers only remote workers that can’t join you as in-house designers

Similarly, freelance platforms, like Fiverr, have their own advantages and disadvantages that may influence your choice:

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Vast talent pool of millions of designers.
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Huge range of prices that fit any budget
no mark
It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a professional designer
no mark
There is no way of checking designer’s expertise before hiring them
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