How I ran a graphic design competition through the 99designs platform

Post written by Hudson Atwell
On Tuesday, August 9th, 2016


Have you ever needed help with a graphic design project but did not want to go through the trouble of recruiting a designer? Inbound Now had this same problem a week a go for a low budget project and after hearing about 99designs I decided to give them a try and I was blown away with the experience.

What is 99 Designs?

99Designs is pretty genius. It’s a design competition website where designers and competition creators can get together and things get done in a streamlined way. I assume their name is 99designs because they wanted their competition creators to have up to a hundred options to select from for each competition their customers create. I didn’t get 99 or 100 designs but I did have 7 very talented designers submit over 16 entries for review and all of them were top quality which was more than enough for what I was looking for.

How does it work?

This was my first time working with this channel but it was a very friendly experience from beginning to end. I was looking to have ad creatives created for our affiliate program (this is something I’ve wanted done for a long time). Once I created an account 99designs prompted me to start a new competition:


And then they asked me to select the type of design I was looking for and provided the lowest cash prize option for that type of design. I wanted to build an ad creative package for Inbound Now:


From here they wanted me to describe my organization and provide details of my project and upload supportive creatives:


From here 99designs is going to give you the option to upgrade your design package. I recommend you do so because you are going to want to attract the most quality designers possible and they will not want to participate in your competition if there is not enough perceived value within it. For our competition I chose the gold package:



99designs will also provide you with additional options on how to structure your competition as well as provide a few social marketing perks to spread the word about your competition to potential designers. For our competition I did not select any additional perks. Click the screenshot below to get the full page view:



Now that your competition has started

OK I skipped a few steps that involved setting up a payment deposit and launching the competition. Let’s imagine we’ve done all this and the completion has started. If you are like me and set the completion to run for 7 days then you will have 4 full days for competitors to submit designs in which after the initial submission period is over you’ll select 6 final candidates that you liked the most. Candidates can have multiple submissions. 99designs will then provide you with a social link that will let everyone and anyone you provide the link to vote on their favorite entry. This is awesome. I recommend you do this.

Then in the final 3 days you can work with designers and choose your winner.

Take a look at all our submitted designs:




Awesome! You’ve Won. But what about all these other designs!?

Inbound Now started with a budget of about 300 dollars for this project. We paid 125.00 to the winner and he gave us all 6 designs he crated for the competition. I was still in love with a few other submissions and wanted them. After the initial competition was over I invited a few other artists to work with me 1-on-1 from within 99designs and offered them 50.00 for their work. They had no use for it and would want to recoup some of their time through money. Both designers I contacted re-quoted me at a slightly higher rate that I was happy to accept and then they provided me with the design files.

What an awesome experience. Please take a look at our final accepted designs already available to our affiliate program members.

[affiliate_creative id=”1″]

[affiliate_creative id=”2″]

[affiliate_creative id=”3″]

[affiliate_creative id=”4″]

[affiliate_creative id=”5″]

[affiliate_creative id=”6″]

[affiliate_creative id=”7″]

[affiliate_creative id=”8″]

[affiliate_creative id=”9″]

[affiliate_creative id=”10″]

[affiliate_creative id=”11″]

[affiliate_creative id=”12″]

[affiliate_creative id=”13″]

[affiliate_creative id=”14″]

[affiliate_creative id=”15″]

Now we need to build a better landing page for our affiliate to use. It’s the natural next step.

Special thanks to these 99designs contestants for our designs:

I hope you enjoyed this writeup!

Create a competition with 99designs

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About the Author:
Cheers! Hudson Atwell is a co-founder and current administrator of Inbound Now. Consider hiring him through the Agency or connecting with him professionally through LinkedIn.

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