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5 Tips To Run a Killer 99Designs Contest

Recently I ran a 99designs.com contest. If you’re not familiar with the site go there now. It’s a crowdsourced graphic design system. If you want a logo, a website design, or graphics of any kind you can run a contest.

When you do that you’ll get entries from designers that are members of the site. It’s an amazing process that let’s you see a ton of design variations. On top of that you get to rate and comment each individual design helping ensuring you get exactly what you want.

When was the last time that you worked with graphic designer and got 30 variations? It’s unheard of and it’s awesome. So in the spirit of sharing – below you’ll find my tips on how to get the most from a 99 designs contest

Tip #1 Preparation

The contest was held for a client of mine. It was a fun process and the end result came out fantastic. But before we could begin we had to do some prep. 99designs.com requires that you fill out some questions and provide some resources before you begin.

For example here are the list of questions for a web design contest:

Make sure you go through all questions with your client (or yourself) and record in a document before you begin.

***Do not simply enter the data directly into the forms without recording them somewhere else first. I X’ed out the page on accident and lost everything I filled in. Thankfully I could just copy and past from the document I created earlier.

Tip 1.5 – Think Out Every Aspect of The Project

This really applies more to the web design contests but it’s important. Think out the project. Are you going to turn the design into a WordPress Theme? Do you need just a home page? Probably not. Most sites require a few pages at minimum. Will you need design for these pages or can you get by with the default post type (in WordPress)?

Tip #2 – Work With The Designers

You’ve got to manage the contest. Stay on top of it. When you get a new design rate it and comment on it as fast as you can. The faster you reply to the entries the faster you get revisions. More revisions equals a better finished product.

Another bonus to staying on top of entries is that it shows other designers that you’re a serious contest holder. When they see that you end up with more designs from more designers.

Tip #3 – Take a Risk and Guarantee a Winner

When you guarantee that your contest will have a winner you encourage more entries. Again more entries is the goal here. The more you see, the more you can rate, the better the end result

Tip #4 – Narrow Down Your Designers

After the first 6 days of the contest are over you need to select your finalists. Try to narrow down your finalists to 2 – 4 MAX. If you can stomach going with 2 you’ll be better off. First off it’s easier to manage from this point out. And secondly working closely with just a couple of designers get’s you closer to your ultimate design. You get EXACTLY what you want.

Tip #5 – Private Message Designer You Want To Award

You’ve got to do this anyway in order to handle the “hand over” part of the contest. But it’s important to connect with your designer of choice and get their email address before you make them the winner.

Ask them if they’d be willing to work with you even after you award them the design. I had to do this because I couldn’t get the correct images in time for the designer to put them into the mock up for the contest. I wanted to know that they’d be willing to add the images after the contest was completed.


99Designs.com is absolutely awesome. It’s not the cheapest way to get a great design but it’s certainly an effective way. Have you run a contest there before? Any tips you’d like to see added? Just put them in the comments below

5 thoughts on “5 Tips To Run a Killer 99Designs Contest

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