I am trying a site where designers bid on your design projects. Multiple designers enter the contest by submitting different designs for you to choose from. This kind of site is continuing to open up the market place to worldwide competition. But I'm not sure how I feel about this. Am I just being savvy and realistic about the world that we live it. Or am I cutting out and screwing really good designers? You tell me.
October 8, 2009

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Hi Sage,

We vote for Revolutionary! ;)

99designs creates a lot of opportunity for designers...we have paid out over $500,000 in the last 30 days alone.

Check out these two designer profiles and nice email we received from one of the designers in the community.




Jason Aiken

This will work out about as well as other sites that do similar things. (There are already sites out there like getafreelancer where buyers have contractors bid on work ebay style). People who are not all that good/experienced will offer the cheapest pricing. The buyers will get exactly what they pay for.

The designers who are any good will continue to name their own price and people who want quality work done will seek them out.

The "World is Flat" strikes again. For all you over priced sore losers in the western world please check out Thomas L. Friedman's great book. Just remeber, if you standard of living is to high for the job you do, you can always move to India and compete online with them, right?

I tried 99designs as you suggested. At first it seamed nice...I won the very first contest I entered...rock on!, right?
Well not so much. After doing designs for 99 Designs over the past few weeks I have had this experience:
You submit a design with no guarantee of payment (ok so im not going to put "my all" into the design) The people get you to do all this work revising your submission, "Can you change this colour, change this font" (Still no payment) Then they can decide not to award anyone the design and they get their money back! What a scam! Erin Gordon Got me to work on their logo and provide 3 different revisions, and she got 2 other designers in the same contest to do the same. Erin lets the contest close then after almost a week she decides not to award the contest to anyone and gets her money back. Thats Lawyers for you I guess, scamming the little guys trying to make a buck. I have no recourse to go after them even if they do use the logo I created for them. I do NOT recommend designer use this site. For the people looking for designs, well you may have a large advantage over your designers using 99designs but its not really a good reflection of what is available to you in the design community. Paying bargain prices get you bargain designs. You all know that ... garbage in ... garbage out!

Revolutionary - we used 99designs to come up with the log for our new project AffiliateBencharks and were thrilled with the results.

There are businesses that don't need the full service design company to accomplish their objectives so the high fee is excessive and a wasteful. 99 designs can meet their needs and fits the price/value point.

That said some objectives need the full service design group and in theses cases the benefits and needs justify the cost.

I see these types of services as a useful addition to the mix of offerings available. It is up to the individual design business to position themselves as they deem appropriate.

Good discussion. I like the World if Flat reference.

I will say, it's extremely "market driven." If people don't like the design at any point in the game, the designer is out. That's brutal. But on the other hand, people do clearly win these contests. I awarded a winner to my contest... and I was extremely happy with the results.

I think this is right for a certain kind of site. Will Pepsi, Coke or any other major company use this service... in general, probably not. But will non-profits, small businesses and companies with small marketing budgets, sure.

The market is the jungle. It is completely driven by natural selection. There is no place for relationships, feelings or anything other than efficiency. That's incredibly painful for me to realize. But I think it's true.

To respond directly to your video.

Yes you are being an a**hole. You are doing the exact same thing as the companies who outsource their work to india...customer service, telemarketing etc.

You are essentially playing a major role in helping to destroy the economy in America. It's OK though...because you saved some money, and all you had to do was point and click a bit here and there...have a couple of exchanges, and viola...you've got a design.

Problem is...that design you showed us...that's a template from monster templates. Those templates run...I don't know around $80. They're free if you download them from bittorrent. So in essence...what you've got is a downloaded template...with some minor modifications made...even adding in a jukebox...well that seemed to really impress you...why? It's cut and paste...and sh*t...for all you know...the coders may not be able to get that jukebox to work with this design.

So you've just paid a guy in India $595...which is basically worth thousands to them...for something that cost them nothing, and is something you could potentially get in trouble for using. Meanwhile...in less than the 10 days time you took running a contest...you could have hired me...paid me only the $595...no additional fees...and gotten a 100% original site...plus the coding (done by me...,not a seperate person)...and had it finished uploaded and functioning.

I guess you prefer the alternate route...why? I have no f***ing clue.

I also wanted to mention that you're kind of ignorant. You keep saying this guy is "working really hard"...what are you basing this on? Are you sitting there with him? That is clearly a template...and not even a good one at that. Even if it weren't the design would not have taken much time at all...nor much hard work.

I could have designed that draft in about 1 hour. Is that working REALLY HARD?

I kind of wish you'd take this stupid ass video off the internet. You sound like an idiot.

Next time I need whatever service you provide...I'll go to India.

Hopefully we can get all of our services rendered in India and save tons of money getting cheap sh*t. I'm sure that will do wonders for our thriving economy. Where does it end?

The real reason for this is simple: People don't take design, or visual art seriously. They think because "anyone can do it"...and because it isn't a "tangible" product...that it is some simple little luxury that can be skimped on. That's really the push and shove of it. People are cheap asses, and they don't know anything about design...so they figure...hey this guys giving me a good design cheap...I'll take that one...cause I "LIKE" it.

Problem is...maybe you don't know what good design is. Since when did having the best possible design equate to making something the jackass client with no aesthetic sense LIKES? Maybe what you like wouldn't be the best possible design for your organization or their goals. Just because you like Thomas Kincaid does not mean Thomas Kincaid produces great artwork...it just means you have no taste.

Designers aren't just hired to provide the service of creating the logo...designers are hired for their expertise in visual marketing, and their aesthetic aptitude. Unfortunately...with the sh*tstorm that is the internet...anyone can download $1200 worth of software for free, and start "designing" out of their brothers living room on the futon. Some jackass who can't draw a stick figure sees something better than the stick figure they can't draw and they think "WOW...that looks great". Months later they sit around moping...why isn't anyone buying my stupid product, why isn't anyone visiting my sh*tty website...could it be because you based your decisions on your own personal taste...rather than the expertise of someone who has been through intense training to learn how to make people like your sh*tty product...?

It's all part of the global "dumbing down". Good luck to the world. It's going to need it. Except of course for India and Indonesia...they have jackasses on 99designs to keep them going.

As Joseph Magnotti said, you get what you pay for. I must admit that I used 99designs for a month and did win a contest, but I think it's a negative thing.

Many people think it's just us actual designers making a stink about it because it's taking away our business, however, there are some legitimate points to be made. And as a side note, I'm fine with companies going to 99designs, but they should know several things first, some of which are listed below. Also, the designers should no some things as well.

Bad for the designers:

1.) You have to work hours upon hours and you usually receive nothing. Now, this is completely up to the designer, but do you really want to waste time?

2.) Really cheap prices. If all designers had to operate this way, none of us could make a living on $100-$250 a month.

3.) I've heard the argument that why should we designers with a degree be so scared of 99designs and why couldn't we just go onto 99designs and win every contest if we are the best. Well, remember that people without taste are the ones deciding the contest. Most companies have art people overseeing and choosing the development of logos, etc., whereas 99designs has Joe Schmo who just wants whatever he think is cool, instead of what is artistically sound, modern, professional, and good. I've seen many designs chosen on 99designs where it looked like a 5 drew the logo with a crayon. So, that argument doesn't work.

Bad for the companies:

1.) Ever heard the saying, "Quality is better than quantity"? Well, that applies to 99designs. At 99designs you have teenage designers without a degree posting as many designs as they can, but they are not high quality. With an actual designer you get that quality.

2.) The designer didn't give me good designs argument. - I've also heard the argument from one company that they paid a professional graphic designer and the designs he submitted were not good. Then they went to 99designs and got what they wanted. Well, not every designer is going to hit the nail on the head every single time. The reason professional designers are good is because we can work with you and towards what you actually want. So, we can get what you want and it will be higher quality than anything from 99designs.

Once again, you get what you pay for. If you want something cheap that will be outdated soon, then go with 99designs, but if you want quality, choose a real designer.

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