How to Outsource Graphic Design Jobs

Outsourcing Graphic Design

So you need a logo, or a banner, or maybe even something as simple as letterhead or a business card? You need it cheap, and you need it done well.

One of the single most frustrating things about running a small business or early-stage startup is knowing how important it is to have effective visuals yet also how little there is to spend on it.

Maybe you’ve tried coming up with something yourself. Maybe you’ve called in a favor from a friend who has an old version of Photoshop or hired a student you found on Craigslist. There are plenty of places you can turn to when your budget is limited and your need is great, and we’ve seen them all. Most of them turn out to be dead ends that waste time and money.

If you want great design, at great prices, you can now outsource most design jobs, meaning that the graphic design process is now faster, more affordable, and more reliable than ever…

We’ve tried using a number of graphic design outsourcing or online design services and can tell you what works and what doesn’t. Getting a great design result at a low cost is not always easy. There are definite challenges in using these low cost services. However if you approach it in the right way you can get great results.

All prices are quoted at the time of writing.

Graphics Design Agencies:



If you want to get the graphics design work done a simple way yet with good quality, then you can go with a top company like WoodBows. It is one of the top companies that is specialized in graphics design. You can just hire a VA to do the graphics design work for you. He/she will be like your own employee just a phone-call away.

Serve Team

serve team

The Serve team is one of the top names in the virtual assistant industry. They provide one of the best graphic designers. Their graphic designers are skilled and have years of experience. They can create ads, flyer design, and other marketing visuals for your company. The graphic designers can also design a logo for your company. And they are 24/7 available via call, chat, or email.

The Teams Hub


TheTeamsHub hires some of the best talents to work on their client’s projects. This goes for graphic designers too. Their graphic designers have a decade of experience in designing different types of visuals for clients. Having worked with a variety of clients gives them ample exposure in the field. Not only they can design brochures and ads for marketing materials. But they can also design newsletters and business cards.

Premium Help

premium help

Premium help’s graphic designers can work on different types of visuals in a simple and efficient manner. They offer virtual graphic designers that can work on several projects simultaneously. Graphic designers provided by Premium help have access to the latest tools. And they have the skills to design ads that can capture the attention of the customers and increase sales.

Connect Center

connect center

Connect Center is known for its quality and experience. They provide expert graphic designers who can create stunning visuals. The graphic designers can work on flyers, brochures, and other marketing pieces. Connect Center specializes in graphic designing and its designers have years of experience in creating pieces that will appeal to the users. The designers will be an extension of your in-house team. They will collaborate with them and can be contacted via a call.

Design contests

With a design contest you post a project and choose an amount for an award. You can get several designers to work on your project and create designs (without receiving any payment). You choose a winner and they receive the award. You can often get up to 100 design alternatives for your project, and and in many cases you don’t need to pay unless you get the design that you are looking for.

A design contest seems like the perfect answer for getting design work done. However there are definite downsides. Most of the designers are either students or from India and other low wage countries. And mostly they are doing these competitions because they can’t get other work. So you can easily end up with 100 designs from perhaps 20 different designers, all of them absolutely terrible. It’s happened to us before. You really need to offer a large prize to attract the best designers. Our experience is that design contest are very good for getting logos designed – if you don’t get a logo you’re 100% happy with, you’ll at least have a range of concepts put in front of you. More involved work (web, UI, etc) can quickly go pear shaped in our experience.

The most popular design contest websites are:

  • Designhill
    Designhill is a leading platform for freelance graphic design projects. With a growing community of over 70, 000 designers from across the world, Designhill helps you post a contest and walk away with the winning design in 48-hours.You need to provide a brief description of the work you want in your design. After that, you get dozens of design choices. Give your feedback and get unlimited revisions, and then make a final call. You can post a logo design contest for $199. Even, you can browse the top designers and work with them on a one-to-one basis.
  • Crowdspring
    Crowdspring works more like a contest than a traditional worker placement service. When you post a project, you don’t set an hourly or fixed rate—instead you choose an award amount. Graphic design projects start at a $200 award. According to Crowdspring, their postings get an average of 110 responses. In addition to the award, you’ll also pay a listing fee and a 15 percent project fee.You can give feedback and see revised work as designs come in. After choosing your favorite, you continue to refine the design with the designer until you’re happy with it. If you aren’t completely satisfied with the outcome or don’t get at least 100 responses, Crowdspring’s money-back guarantee refunds everything but the listing fee.
  • DesignCrowd
    To use DesignCrowd, you post a project, set a deadline, and deposit your project budget. The project is visible to more than 33,000 freelance graphic designers or studios worldwide, and according to DesignCrowd, the average listing gets 50 responses. The minimum project budget is $150, all but $40 of which is protected with a money-back guarantee in case you don’t find a project you’re happy with.
  • 99designs
    To post a graphic design project on 99designs, you create a brief description of what you want. Designers submit concepts to compete for your prize. You provide feedback and choose a winning submission. The winning designer gets the contest’s award, and you get the copyright to the original artwork.Prize minimums vary based on the type of work needed, from a minimum of $95 for a Twitter background design to a maximum of $495 for web page design or WordPress theme. As potential contractors respond with proposals, you give them feedback and request changes as needed. Once you’ve selected the one you like best, you can approve the files, download them and send payment.

It’s hard to say which is best amongst these three. Based on our experience, Design Crowd has more Australian based designers, however you have to offer the top level prizes to attract designers from developed countries. 99 designs is the most popular site, and so this has certain advantages (a larger base of designers on the site). We have also tried others such as Hatchwise, but don’t recommend you do the same – the user interface and design of this web site is horrible!

Warning to Freelancers – Good News for Business Owners
99 designs and DesignCrowd have been criticized for encouraging horribly cheap payment and heavy reliance on spec, or speculative, work – when artists or designers put substantial time into a project without any guarantee of payment. 99 designs also transfers copyright for the original artwork to the business.

While some graphic designers may find these sites too much trouble for the profit, others are more than willing to submit proposals on contests. So these sites remain a good bet for business owners who want to get projects done quickly, select from a variety of submissions, and work on a budget.

Project based and hourly work

If you already have a relationship with a great designer there are a lot of advantages in just working with one provider rather than launching a design contest each time you need a new design. Firstly the cost of design contents will add up if you use them for everything. And most importantly, a relationship with a great designer will enable them to know what types of design you want, and deliver designs faster than with a totally new designer. So it’s a great idea to launch a design contest, then pick a winner and perhaps hire the winner on an hourly basis for any further work.

Which is better paying hourly or paying per project? Either method is okay. Generally if you have only a few designs that you need completed, paying on a project basis makes the most sense. On the other hand if you need ongoing work over many months and dozens of different designs, paying hourly is a better arrangement as it becomes difficult to calculate accurately how much each project should cost. Of course you need a good way to monitor and track the hours worked for the designers (Time Doctor, or Upwork [formerly oDesk] are a couple of options).

Other ways that you can find designers for hourly or contract work

Freelancing sites like Upwork (formerly oDesk) allow you to post your job description and have people from all over the world bid on your jobs. Our experience with these sites quite honestly is that it is extremely difficult to find high quality designers. Most of the designers are from lower wage countries such as India, and to put it frankly their design skills are either very average, or terrible (or simply have a completely different aesthetic). However, there are exceptions. If you spend enough time trying to find a suitable person you can find great people on these sites. It takes a lot of work and time in trialing different people. It is much easier in our experience to find high quality programmers on these sites than to find designers.


Outsourcely is the world’s easiest way to find, hire and work with reliable, vetted remote workers from 132 countries that are looking to build long-term sustainable relationships (not short-term freelance projects). Search remote workers by skill or post a remote job. Then connect with candidates immediately using real-time private chat, browser to browser video & voice calling, video & voice messaging or just regular email. This makes hiring fast and easy.

There are a few major differences between Outsourcely and the other talent marketplaces. The first is the talent pool on Outsourcely is mostly looking for long-term remote work, not short-term freelance projects. This is great for employers who are looking to build sustainable working relationships and long-term remote teams. The second is Outsourcely allows employers to hire workers directly and pay their hires directly. This can save employers thousands in fees the other platforms charge.

The third is how effortless it is to interview and hire talent with their real-time communication tools built right in. For example, you can connect with candidates immediately using private chat, browser to browser video & voice calling, video & voice messaging or just regular email. This makes hiring fast and easy. Prices start at $19 – $229 / month depending on how many individuals you’d like to interview and how many jobs you’d like to post.


Posting jobs and interviewing contractors is free on Upwork. The site takes a 10 percent commission from workers’ advertised rates. When you post a description of the work you need done publicly, interested designers will send you their cover letters and resumes. You also have access to their Upwork portfolios, relevant test results and feedback ratings. If you choose to post privately, you can search the database for contractors you’d like to work with and invite them to view your listing.

Like Elance, you can hire at an hourly or fixed rate. The site offers a Work Diary section that lets you view a memo about what a contractor is working on, screen shots six times an hour, and a graph showing their activity level. Hours worked are transferred to a financial report by Upwork automatically.

In addition to graphic design work, Upwork matches businesses and workers for web and software development, writing, customer service, marketing and other projects. You can pay contractors with a credit card – if you plan to spend at least $500 per week, you can apply to pay with checks.

Here is a tutorial I posted that will help you with hiring on Upwork: How to Find a Great Designer on Upwork (formerly oDesk)


Penji is an on-demand design platform that gives marketing teams, agencies, and startups graphic design in just a few clicks.

Speak directly to your designer through your own dashboard. Submit unlimited requests and receive completed designs in under 48 hours at a fixed monthly rate starting at $369/month.

No complicated hiring. No contracts. Cancel anytime.

All design files are yours to keep.

Types of design work to outsource

Logos – In our experience design competitions are a great way of getting logos done.

Simple web site design or layouts- Design competitions are also great for this. If you really don’t have a lot of design requirements you can also go wtih a more simple method such as a pre-made design template (search on Google for design templates).

Complex web sites – Larger websites (more than 20 pages) that need a lot of different elements will likely need a lot of ongoing design work. It’s best to try and find a designer that you can pay on an hourly basis or for the project. On the other hand you can pay them to complete the entire project, however, make sure that you have very clear specifications.

User interface design – One of the most important aspects of designing your site is the usability. When users visit the site, can they navigate the site easily, can they find what they want? Do the forms work effectively, or do users find it difficult to fill them in? If you have a complex site with lots of things that the users need to do on the site, usability is crucial. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find any designer that understands usability, and very difficult to find a low cost designer that understands usability. The best way to get started (if you have a low budget) is to learn about this by yourself and spoon feed the designer. Also you can copy conventions from sites that have multi-million dollar budgets that they spend on usability (Facebook, Linked In, Google etc).

Designing for conversion – Do you want your web site to actually SELL for you? This is an advanced skill that is almost impossible to find in low cost designers (and even in high priced designers!). Again you need to learn about conversion yourself (and direct the designer). Two great web sites with lots of free information on conversion are: and The Hubspot Blog.

Getting the design brief right

One of the most important factors to getting a good result is writing clear design specifications. 99 designs have some great templates for the sort of information you should cover in your design brief. For example, will your new logo be a word mark, pictorial mark, letter form or might it be based around a character? Will it be feminine, young, playful or loud, simple and modern? A good designer will need to know all of this information before they get started to help them create a relevant design for the target audience. Some examples of existing design you like will also help.

Tip: You should also make sure you designs are delivered in as many formats as possible. For instance, a vector version of your logo (scalable graphics) will be much more useful then a Photoshop document, although both versions might be useful.

Other useful information you should include in your brief
Along with a general description you should also try and clarify or provide the following information for your designer:
1. The title of project
2. How do you want the project delivered? FTP? Dropbox?
3. Due date and any other milestones
4. Any sketches or existing resources you might have, including any relevant market research
5. Any calls to action, headlines, or body copy that needs to be included in the design

In Conclusion

Design competitions are a great way to get started, and are fantastic for logo designs for example. If you need more complex ongoing work however you will need to develop a relationship with a designer and pay them per hour or project to create designs for you. You don’t need to spend $10,000 to get a great design for your business, you can get a good result with a much lower budget. If you are looking to hire someone on a more permanent basis, you can also try posting an advertisement on your local job sites, or in design forums.


If you are just getting started with outsourcing, this comprehensive guide will help you make the most of it!

If you are looking for more design resources, here is a list of 101 web design blogs you need to follow.

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  • Avatar Cristy Saint says:

    have you got any video of that? I’d like to find out more information.

  • Avatar jacky risham says:

    As a Graphic Designer, I discover this totally shocking. This is my occupation. Are great plan, ability and diligent work worth anything any longer?

  • Avatar pulak chakraborty says:

    i am a graphic designer. Working Expiriance 9 years.
    now i started my own designing house.
    i need to doing printing realated graphic job.

  • Avatar Ace Smith @ Logo Cue says:

    I know about outsourcing, i.e. sub-contracting, from the entertainment industry. Networking plays a big part because of time constraints and the quality of work you expect to get from this contractor. If someone you know has had experience with this person/firm before, chances are they’ll be great. It’s not asking for good references and examples that create problems.

  • Avatar Lily says:

    Do you feel just as it is deceptive to degrade a whole residential industry of persevering, clever and experienced fashioners that represent considerable authority in making visuals that are impactful to brands through certify programs, so you can receive the rewards of having the visual dialect that your image depends on, while paying unpracticed individuals inexpensively that don’t bolster the workforce and national obligation and are likewise not customers of American items? At this moment 10% of fashioners in America are getting work in view of their degree and 34% percent are underemployed. How might you feel in the event that you were a piece of this gathering?

  • Avatar Matt Renaud says:

    Does a design company in India help to repay our trillion dollar national debt? What do you to help America stabilize their economy? 10 percent of the jobs are going to people that have degrees in this industry, and the rest are being siphoned by every day people that profess they have the ability but they are really stealing jobs outright from experienced professionals, of which in our country, 34 percent is underemployed.

  • Avatar Matt Renaud says:

    Do you feel as though it is unethical to debase an entire domestic industry of hard working, intelligent and experienced designers that specialize in creating visuals that are impactful to brands through accredited programs, so you can reap the benefits of having the visual language that your brand relies on, while paying inexperienced people cheaply that do not support the workforce and national debt and are also not consumers of American products? Right now 10% of designers in America are getting work based on their degree and 34% percent are underemployed. How would you feel if you were a part of this group?

  • Avatar Sam says:

    Great article! You missed out on a whole category of outsourcing though. Companies like and Design Pickle offer on-demand graphic design for a set monthly payment. This is helpful for companies that need continuous graphic design support.

    • Avatar Matt Renaud says:

      Again, how does this benefit the designer? You go to a bakery and support the bakers. You go buy a tshirt and support a brand. You go buy a monthly subscription to unlimited designs and you only support yourself and india and in 10 years you will wonder why there’s no one buying your product. Because they won’t. We will, but you’re taking food out of our mouth. Can you understand the ethics issue? STEM jobs are important right? But they can be replaced by computers. This is no different. You’re taking advantage of people.

  • Avatar Nita says:

    Article is informative. learned so much, since I’m using as of the moment for a project/contest.. Just noticed one thing, you mentioned INDIAN’s (INDIA) many times, just wondering Indian’s won’t hurt about this. I’m not an Indian, I’m just curious on mentioning work of Indian’s many times here 🙂

  • Avatar James @ Logo Crust says:

    I can see you object to the business model of some design sites like this. However there are a lot of businesses that get great results with these sites. They get a logo they are very happy with. I have spoken with several business owners that are happy with the logo they got from these sites.

  • Avatar Mishkat Islam says:

    There are a lot of website where you can get job of graphics like as, peopleperhour, upwork, behance, fiverr . you can work from anywhere of the world.

  • Avatar Megan says:

    I understand the fairness issue of compensating someone for the creative work that goes on to produce a logo. I also understand that the editing an image to create something super simple takes more time, not less. However, could you please address the apparent fact that even when I’m willing to pay for time and skill, I actually won’t own the logo when it’s done? That I won’t have the copyright, the designer will? I didn’t realize this until now, just as the logo is nearing completion. Sure wish I’d read up on this before hand. I was foolish not to do a contract, and not spell out I wanted a work for hire. Although it sounds like designers are advised not to sign work for hire contracts. So, I’m curious as to your thoughts on this.

  • Hi,

    My name is Nitesh Pundhir and I was reading your blog post in which you’ve discussed about “Phenomenal Design Done Dirt Cheap – How to Outsource Graphic Design Jobs”.

    I work with, one of the fastest growing custom design crowdsourcing marketplaces, specifically built to ease the design needs of small businesses and startups and I thought it would make sense to reach out.
    We would be really grateful if you could update your blog, add Designhill’s name in the list and share it on your website with your readers.

    In exchange, we are willing to compensate you in any way that you may deem fit, whether monetarily or by way of a free graphic design on designhill or promotion of your content through our blogging and social media platforms where we have a combined reach of more than 50K followers.

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,

    With Regards,

    Nitesh Pundhir

    Business Consultant |

    Phone : 0124-4105154 (ext-212) | Email:

    Website: |

  • Avatar Ev says:

    so you think it’s ok to let designers work for free?? How is that ok? Can you tell me ONE other profession where people think it’s ok to get say 100 samples for free and only pay for the one thing you like?? It’s DISGUSTING!

  • Avatar Danny_Smith says:

    Your Branding is as important as how you want to put yourself out there. So, it’s better to hire a professional to do the graphic design services for you. But, if you really are in a tight budget, I prefer 99 Designs. I’ve heard so much good design they did for clients for years now and a friend told me they are reliable too.

  • Avatar DF says:

    A logo is the face of a business, its most recognizable and important visual asset. If you want to do the job right, it will take a lot longer than 20 minutes to an hour to do. Sure, I can sketch something in Adobe Illustrator that is suitable to put on a business card in that amount of time, but what a client pays for is my experience and understanding of their needs, wants, and goals within the filters of their marketplace. A logo is not just a doodle on a business card, and those who treat it as such (many commentors here self-identifying as designers) are doing a disservice to themselves, their craft, and their clients.

    When you pay a local professional designer his or her market rate, you are paying for a professional to research your brand, competition, marketplace, goals and aspirations, and for that person to translate all of those into one simple, memorable visual. You are paying for the typefaces used in creating your logo and identity you will use for your business card, website, brochure, mailer, social media accounts, and the side of your van.

    When you send a credit card payment of $5 or $40 or $100 halfway around the world, you can’t be sure what you are getting. You may think you are getting hundreds of designs to choose from, and that’s true, but more isn’t better.

    If the files you get are usable, chances are the work is not original and has been sold to someone else before you. It could be stolen, and you may not find that out until you go to trademark it. Then you could have an infringement lawsuit on your hands. At that point you may have to hire a lawyer, whose hourly is many times higher than a designer. Then you will have to find a new designer. If you think a local designer is hard to work with, the one halfway around the world won’t be any easier.

    Why not just do it right the first time?

    Even if you get an honest, hardworking designer, that person is at a severe disadvantage in the understanding of the culture with regard to your business and marketplace. In the portfolio links posted in the responses, I identified a lot of clip art, and most if not all of the fonts used were free downloads. More often than not, these fonts lack the full range of characters necessary for professional use, rarely if ever come in more than one weight, may not be web-safe, and are usually in wide circulation on the web, which means the face of your business looks like everyone else’s.

    If you can’t afford a local professional designer, ask if they barter. Or find a local student that you can afford, and help them gain experience.

    Don’t sponsor a contest.

  • Avatar John Kash says:

    Hi Rob,
    I like the way you have put the information about various design platforms where businesses as well as designers can leverage the benefits. but i think there are some alternatives option can also be put as a reference for designers and businesses such as and i personally visited mentioned sites and i found them good. you can also check them for your reviews on the same. Thanks

  • Avatar Jelly Shah says:

    Nice informative Blog indeed, today graphic designers have many platforms to start as a freelancer. i like to work on Odesk, elance and to participate in open custom design contest for logo design or graphic design.

  • Avatar Peter Siddle says:

    Hello Rob,
    Excellent Post! Thanks for sharing this useful information. Its worth reading it. Good job.

  • Avatar Rhine says:

    you have a really awesome article Rob. It is highly informative especially if you are looking for really good yet affordable graphic designers to do work for you. As someone who currently works for an IT Recruitment Agency in the Philippines, we have been blessed to have such wonderful and talented individuals who are able to meet the expectations of our clients who are mostly based overseas. I do believe that outsourcing is a great way to do business for as long as it is a win-win situation not only for the business owners but for those who work for theses companies as well. Hope you can take the time to check out our website. Cheers! 🙂

  • Avatar glastonbury tor says:

    I have been browsing online more than 2 hours
    today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the web will be much
    more useful than ever before.

  • Avatar Anish says:

    You can also search for small startups and build a long lasting business relationship. I have been working with 15 long term clients from around the world. They outsource the work, I design it for an affordable price. Its a win – win situation. There is no need to spend loads of money on freelancer and other marketplaces. The key is to find a talented graphic designer.

    please check my logo design work:


  • Avatar Keyur says:

    It is nice to hear from you how a person can outsource their graphic design jobs and whatever you have mentioned is still true to date.

    I run a marketplace for graphics and design people. If you are interested to sell your expertise as services then you are welcome to join.

    • Avatar I am hkj says:

      is it possible to earn money By Grafix design?
      And how.
      Please Say somthing about this..

  • Avatar Susan says:

    I have spent the whole year trying to have a working relationship a graphic designer. I had one for years and she has proven to be an absolute gem but she cannot do my work for me anymore as she is “downsizing” her business. I do not have a lot of work to give out and also the problems I have had this year have put me off working. I have a small printing business which I operate on my own.

    I was recently quoted $120 AUS for a 10 min job from one of my clients who I do printing for. I was trying to establish a working relationship with one of the graphic designers I had chosen but when he is busy he tells me he can’t do the job – so where does it leave me. I had asked him for a quote on this job for $120 and he did it for me straight away and refused to charge me, probably because the previous two occasions he was too busy to help me out. It is a pity that this is the situation … in the meantime I am still looking for someone to do the small jobs who is reliable. I don’t think it is always the case that “you get what you paid for”. My graphic designer who did my work for years was very reasonable and usually had these jobs back to me in 24 hours so I got really spoilt. She still sends me her printing jobs.

  • Avatar experienced designer says:

    As a graphics designer in all aspects of advertising I will have to say your ideas are good. And for a designer like me who is very professional and has done work for small and huge, national and international companies, I can say if a post like this shows up on one of the freelance sites we use I would, and have taken part. I have given absolutely outstanding work and my designs are picked for originality and professionalism.

    Sometimes, in life, you are lucky enough on get more than what you pay for. The contests, to me, just give me something fun to do. If I win woo hoo if not no sweat off my back. A logo design can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour tops so, why pay a ridiculous price for a simple job. If you can not design a logo, business card, online banner or other business stationary in an hour or less you need to find a new field of work.

    I think the haters you are seeing in a lot of forums like this are the business owners who have a huge overhead and sit behind a desk and count money all day. To them you are killing their fees and their cashflow, because they have set-up fees, hourly charges for design work with a minimum amount that must be paid usually 1 to 2 hours minimum. So to them you are hitting their pocket and hard. on a normal design job they will have a 45 dollar setup fee with 45 an hour (2 hour minimum charge) that is $135.00 for 20 minutes of work hmmmmmm? yea if I were them Id be upset and complaining too.

    I own a company but I am my number one employee, I do the work right next to my employees. My overhead is calculated in all my quotes. The contests I do myself, for extra cash in my pocket and for the fun of seeing how good I really am.

    • Avatar John says:

      Well said. I have tried 99designs, graphic artists that are just starting out, and graphic artists that purported to be professionals. In the first two cases I’ve been disappointed about the level of quality and engagement, and in the last case I was disappointed with their professional behavior. Specifically, once we agreed on a price and the final deliverables, she revisited our agreement and attempted to negotiate for more. It was apparent that she had talked to someone in the industry and they suggested her trying to get more. That’s only okay upfront; once you make an agreement, you stick to that. Originally, her work fit into my budget, but after she tried to renegotiate I passed. She reached out to me and admitted that she was getting advice from another graphic artist, and said she felt stupid, but I left it alone. A real professional is professional. They have a price structure, they have a portfolio, and they don’t “need” to enter contests because they already paid their dues either in contests in the past, or elsewhere.

    • Avatar Paul says:

      I think what people are missing in all these comments is the actual concept, brief and management. Some of the best creative work is imagined by those who don’t have to think about how they are going to do it. So if the business owner is doing the work… well. Let’s just say Steve Jobs never had to read the E-Myth and he could blue sky the ideas free of thinking like a technician.

      Small business and micro business owners do everything in the business already. They might be great at doing what they do along with the books, invoicing, networking, handling customer expectations and on it goes. With all that on their plate where do they find the time to manage designers and projects? There is value in alleviating pressure and time.

      Small business and micro business owners might be crappy at creating a campaign, brand, identity, advertising, etc. When the client tells a designer what they want then the client has become the designer. The “designer” has just become an elaborate method to push out the client’s idea using Adobe products. A real designer on the other hand, is supposed to solve a problem. So the question isn’t, “what do you want us to create for you?” but rather “What is the problem we are solving?”. The result of a logo design, for example, is always aimed at the target market for the purpose of timeless and long lasting conversion.

      The dollar signs of greed exist in the eyes of those looking to save a buck and completely misunderstand the value behind a full service design/creative house that have to charge more than a designer sitting at a desk. It’s disruptive right now because this “uber” method of hiring is relatively new to the world but both will always exist and one will be better than the other. I believe it will follow the 80/20 rule where 80% of the design services will be done through contest and low cost outsourcing and 20% will be done through traditional creative agencies but the earnings will be flipped. 80% of the global dollar earned will be sold through professional agencies.

      What side we believe is better is based on where we want to be sitting. Working as a technician or free and clear creating.

  • Avatar Rachel says:

    -“So you can easily end up with 100 designs from perhaps 20 different designers, all of them absolutely terrible.”
    That is because most designers see through these disgusting tactics, and won’t stoop to your level.

    The fact that you aren’t even acknowledging how unfair this is to the designers is appalling. You’re PROMOTING getting free work from unemployed, low wage students from India? Really? Do you hear yourself?

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      I can see you object to the business model of 99 designs and other sites like this. However there are a lot of businesses that get great results with these sites. They get a logo they are very happy with. I have spoken with several business owners that are happy with the logo they got from these sites.

      I agree it’s not going to attract any elite level designers, but opinion is extreme and there are a lot of businesses that really do get good value from these crowd-sourcing sites.

      “unfair to designers” – that’s fine but they are not forced to participate, so how can it be unfair if they are not forced to join the site and submit their designs?

    • Avatar Tyler Designer says:

      The businesses might be “happy” with the designs but they are most likely NOT good designs. As a designer I can look at a design and tell you in under ten seconds if it will connect to people and promote conversion (meaning eyeballs to money). The majority of people on these sites haven’t gone into the psychology of what is needed to create a design that works.

      looking pretty or nice doesn’t mean it works.

      And as far as unfair to designers, without a doubt. These sites attract two kinds of designers. the bad and the desperate. if you get a great design it’s most likely from someone who has to compete with business from these sites.

      Not to mention that people who do work on these design sites HAVE to submit around 30-40 a day in order to even have a chance of paying the bills.

      your comment shows a complete lack of understanding of what design actually is.

    • Rob Rawson Rob Rawson says:

      Look I totally agree that on 99designs and other crowd-sourced sites you are not going to get close to the result you would get from hiring a high-level professional design firm.

      But it’s not really fair to compare 99designs and a professional design firm because the cost is miles apart. Most professional design firms would charge 10 times as much and it’s not affordable for small businesses to spend thousands of dollars getting their logo designed.

    • Avatar Kirsty says:

      “they are not forced to participate, so how can it be unfair”
      It’s unfair because if people are desparate for work, they may waste hours of time trying to win these competitions in the hope that they might earn a pittance from them.

  • Avatar Ryan says:

    This is gross.

  • Avatar Dan says:

    Apparently Sam didn’t do his homework, yet still expects to be paid exorbitant wages for his design work. You can’t get a logo for $20 on any of these sites, Sam. You can, however, get a very nice design for a reasonable price. Times are a changing, Sam I am. I, for one, am glad.

  • Avatar Sam says:

    Good work isn’t cheap, and cheap work isn’t good.

    The same is even truer for graphic design. I’m appalled at the short-sightedness and ignorance of this article and even more so the comments below. If you want your corporate identity to blend in with at the other mediocrity on the marketplace, then “design contests” are a great idea. The fact of the matter is, a qualified graphic designer isn’t someone who just knows how to work adobe programs. A proper graphic designer is a master of things like proportion, simplicity, aesthetics, color, novelty, and usability. Good graphic designers are highly trained and highly skilled individuals, and being able to create a QUALITY visual identity for your business is no small task. Any highly successful company understands this, and many fork out millions per year towards creating and maintaining a respectable, high quality visual identity.

    Good design is good business. If you want to spend $20 for your logo, be my guest. But I promise you that it will only harm you in the long run.

  • Avatar Oblio says:

    Sadly I have been trying to get one project done for months now, it is not difficult just letters in a base format – one sentence and one word structured. I paid a person do this … his quote – now he is holding it hostage for more money 150% again what he said could be done in the first place. I have inquired to others and no responses they are just introductions about a need and their i to quote a job. I do not understand this industry I do not even get ‘thanks too busy’ or ‘here is a person who may be the ideal person’ … nothing back. I have other projects needed to be done, along with package display art work and such, plus a huge ongoing project soon, also a few websites and I cannot source these yet there are no professionals to my knowledge and I have written few dozen.

    I do not understand the $45 and $75 rates per hour expected it is just remarkable as a mechanic charges this … gets dirty, busts his knuckles, bends over fenders for hours and is responsible for a vehicle that can change lives and families if an error is done resulting in injury and death. A Graphic designer sits at a desk in air-conditioned room, a comfortable chair and types on a keyboard it seems odd to me.

  • Avatar Rachel says:

    What about sites like Sparked and Catchafire, which allows organizations to recruit volunteers for projects in marketing and technology? I think these are great ways for people to get their name out there and give back. Micro volunteering is a new wave in volunteerism these days.

    • Avatar Design officer says:

      So let me guess, you’re planning on offering your services to new clients free of charge just to get your name out there? How noble of you. We should be so honored to work on your project free of charge.

      Volunteering for marketing and technology means just working for cheap ass bastards who have no concept of business. You do get what you pay for and when you pay zero you deserve nothing. You’re setting up a business model of failure.

      I’ll also assume that the author of this article is all for shipping every job overseas in an effort to save money. You’re devaluing a profession that is specifically trained in providing quality service (and sorry, can also speak English). I hope that people realize they don’t need the resource of a time and productivity monitor, also known as your career. On the topic of wasting money…

  • Avatar web designer says:

    this website is good and yup i agreed liam it depends on time….

  • Avatar Shane says:

    You get what you pay for. Professionals do not submit work into contests and do not work without contracts and/or retainers. Like the article said; you will be getting work from students and other beginners. Good work is not hard to find. Good prices may be.

  • Avatar kumar says:

    My company name is Zest Creative, Pune, India. We are working as design studio in Pune, our client is most of corporate, Builder, FMCG etc. I look forward same client to abroad. We have a 5 designer and production people. We want a design job. so plz help me out.

    +91 9765121333

    • Avatar not kumar says:

      You’re part of the problem, Kumar. This conversation is not for you.

      Unlike oDesk and 99 design, design professionals have ethics. See this:

      If you want to shop around for better prices on design that’s fine, but I assume that means you shop around for the cheapest doctor as well. Good luck on the outcomes. It’s also not mainly students, it’s overseas “design” companies, like Kumar’s, who will charge you $5 for a complete identity system. No doubt the same people who use these resources would cry about their own job being outsourced and getting rid of ‘Murican jobs.

  • Avatar Erin says:

    As a Graphic Designer, I find this absolutely appalling. This is my livelihood. Are good design, talent and hard work worth anything anymore?

    • Avatar mr foo yung says:

      Unfortunately erin the answer is very little.

    • Liam McIvor Martin Liam McIvor Martin says:

      Mr Foo Yung. I agree that the price of graphics design is going down. However the plain reality is that labour is changing. It’s no longer a prerequisite to be paid a relatively ridiculously high wage in comparison to your developing world counterparts simply because you’ve gone to the right schools or know the right people.

      Instead the work is what’s seen as important more than anything else, regardless of where you’re from and I think that will produce the best product at the end of the day.

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