Ranked and Reviewed – Design Contests, Naming Contests and more
Whether you’re a solopreneur, launching a startup, or running a growing business, you need high-quality graphic design rather than cheap stock images and messy-looking flyers and brochures. Unfortunately, recruiting, hiring, and managing graphic designers takes time — and money — that you just don’t have!
Crowdsourced design services are the solution. There are now many platforms where you can post a design contest or find the perfect freelancer for the job. This means you don’t have to book an agency or hire an in-house designer. Plus, you often get results much more quickly!
But which graphic design service should you choose? We’ve made it easy for you with a list of all the best online graphic design services! Continue reading to take a look at the pricing, speed, best features, and drawbacks of each.
Get $10 OFF the next Design or Naming Contest you run on Hatchwise:
Hatchwise is a contest platform that offers both graphic design and naming. Design contests are often used for logos, but on Hatchwise, you can run contests for brochures, t-shirts, websites, banners, you name it. Not sure what to name your new enterprise or product? Need an eye-catching tagline for your business? Hatchwise’s copywriters can come up with the perfect name.
To launch a design or naming contest, you follow these simple steps:
Hatchwise is an excellent option for emerging businesses that need a professional brand identity but don’t have the budget to hire a branding firm. If you don’t have a clear vision for your logo, Hatchwise’s skilled creatives can translate your ideas into a design that will make you say, “Yes, that’s it!”
Thanks to Hatchwise’s global community of creatives, you often start getting submissions in just a few hours. Hatchwise pre-vets all designers and copywriters, so you’re guaranteed to get fantastic work. Many people have reported being overwhelmed by the number of wonderful submissions (in a good way!).
The listing fee is always $39, and the prize money is added to that. There are four contest tiers: Bronze ($50 prize), Silver ($150 prize), Gold ($250 prize), and Platinum ($360 prize).
The higher the prize, the more creatives your contest will attract.
By default, contests run for 10 days. If you find a winner before time is up, you can go ahead and end the contest. If you need faster results, you can upgrade your contest to “rush” and get results in just 48 hours.
99Designs’ project process can be a bit labyrinthine; different turnaround times and rates apply depending on which model you choose and what you’re requesting. you need to. In general, though, the contest process looks like this:
Once you’ve established working relationships with designers on the 99Designs platform, you can request 1-on-1 projects and invite them to them.
You can also initiate a 1-on-1 project and request quotes from designers if you’re new to the platform. You need to:
Two ways to get designs. Our tried-and-true creative process makes design magic. With our global community that loves to collaborate, we’ll turn your great ideas into a custom design you can’t get anywhere else.
We’ll help you find a designer with just the right skill set, and you’ll collaborate one-on-one with them on your project.
Start A Contest
Invite our entire creative community to participate in your project. Designers submit ideas and you pick your favorite.
Pricing depends entirely on what you need to be done. Most bundled services run a few hundred dollars, which includes the contest prize money. For 1-on-1 projects, you can set your budget, although you’ll still need to work within a certain range to entice designers. Expect to pay at least a couple hundred per project. There is no monthly rate.
99designs’ turnaround time varies. Design contests may get submissions very quickly, but it generally takes a few days to select a finalist. For 1-on-1 projects, you may not have the option to rush a project. Some designers may not be available for a quick turnaround.
LogoTournament is a design contest platform that focuses on premium designs. It is exclusively focused on logos and draws upon a talented pool of pre-vetted designers. Clients can also work with winning designers on a 1-on-1 basis.
This platform lives up to its name. It is highly competitive and both designers and clients are expected to spend time creating and reviewing concepts, respectively. Here’s how the process typically goes.
LogoTournament cultivates a collaborative yet competitive environment, and that means better results for both you and the designers.
From the intuitive design briefs, where you can get into the nitty-gritty of your desired style, to the comprehensive review and revisions stage, you can customize every part of your contest.
The designers on this platform are exceptional, as well. They know they’ll be facing steep competition for a big prize, so they tend to turn in great work. LogoTournament’s blind submission policy also helps prevent competitors from copying each other, so you’re guaranteed to get dozens of totally unique concepts.
Choose from four design packages, from Starter ($275) to Epic ($875). Each tier level nets you about 50 designs, so at the top level, expect hundreds of options. If you opt for a 1-on-1 project, you will pay just a 5% service fee on top of your designer’s invoice.
LogoMyWay is a logo contest platform designed to provide fully customized logos. As the name suggests, it is only for logo design. However, you can get a lot of fantastic options for your logo concept, and the pricing is clear and transparent. You may wait longer than on other logo design platforms, but the results are often amazing.
Because this platform is for logo design only, it’s best for serial entrepreneurs who are launching their next enterprise or business owners who want a brilliant logo for their business. All contests are affordable yet easy to set up and manage — perfect for busy entrepreneurs.
LogoMyWay is an easy, no-fuss logo design contest platform. It gives you the chance to focus on the impact you want your logo to make. Then, the designers will turn the core concept into a stunning logo design. With simple, transparent pricing and the ultimate flexibility in budget, this platform is a great option for business owners who want quality work done and are willing to pay a bit more, but without the nickel-and-diming of some other platforms.
Your minimum prize amount is $200, but you can specify the precise prize amount (up to $1000). Then, you pay a $39 listing fee on top of that. If you’d like, you can pay extra to make your contest private, feature it (which attracts more designers), or highlight it on the platform. There is also a $20 prize handling fee, so at the bare minimum, you will pay $259.
Choose from 5 days, 7 days, or 10 days when you set your contest. Unfortunately, there is no option to add a rush fee, but if you like a particular submission, you can close the contest at that time.
There are many options for customizing your contest. If you’re not sure what to say or how to describe your concept, DesignContest’s intuitive Q&A brief will help designers home in on your dream design. The pricing is very transparent and attracts a lot of talented designers. You also have the freedom to choose how you want your contest to be listed, promoted, and conducted.
The basic tiers are the Economy package ($295), Standard package ($495), and Premium package ($895). Each tier nets you more contest submissions, with the top tier yielding about 200 entries on average. You can also set your own price. Optional upgrades for guaranteed winners (i.e. you promise to choose a winner), promoted contests, blind entries, and private or highlighted listings cost more. If you want results within less than or more than 7 days, there is a $29 upcharge.
What is neat about this platform is that you can offer 2nd and 3rd place prizes if you want to reward the runners-up (which designers will appreciate very much!).
By default, contests run for 7 days. You can speed things up with a rush fee of $29.
If you’re looking for a speedy logo design platform, 48HoursLogo lives up to its name. And while logos are its primary focus, you can also get brochures, t-shirt designs, car and truck traps, and signage as part of an overall brand identity kit. You get fast results without an upcharge (although you can add a rush fee if you desire).
48HoursLogo is great for any business owner or entrepreneur who needs an overall brand identity and is willing to spend some time reviewing contest submissions. Each logo contest also comes with a brand kit, color palette, etc. This is extremely helpful if you’re just starting out (or rebranding) and need brand guidance for your website, social media, etc.
48HoursLogo offers good value for the price. You may not get as many submissions as you would on some other platforms, but you will get high-quality designs with brand identity kits. Plus, the overall pricing and process are quite straightforward. It’s easy to see what you’re getting and when you can expect results.
Each project type has its own set of prices, but you will always choose from a Budget, Standard, or Premium Package. Prices generally run from about $99-129 for the Budget tier (which gets you only a few designs and 1 finalist) up to $249-299 for the Premium tier (which includes longer contests, more designs, and 3 finalists).
If you need an overall identity design, you’ll get up to 2 deliverables (business card, Facebook cover, car/truck wrap, etc.), but it’s just $50 per extra deliverable you want to add.
You can add a rush upgrade for a 24-hour turnaround for $20.
The contest duration varies by tier but is typically 2-5 days. If you choose a higher tier, you can run a contest in 48 hours, although the default is 3 days to allow enough time for submissions.
DesignHill is a crowdsourced design contest platform that helps clients find long-term designer relationships. Like other contest platforms, they offer 1-on-1 projects, as well as the option to hire a freelance designer through the platform. You can run a contest for any type of graphic design or illustration. DesignHill also includes a gig marketplace for pre-packaged services a la Fiverr.
Because DesignHill has so many ways to purchase design work on its platform, it’s a bit difficult to list a single process. But like most on-demand design sites, you fill out a brief, select a designer, and pay a prize or project rate. If you’re shopping for individual projects or gigs, you browse designers and either buy their packages or request a quote. It’s pretty easy to get started in any case.
DesignHill does have a nice creative brief workflow in which you can choose styles and colors you like,
DesignHill’s broad flexibility of pricing options makes it suitable for just about anyone. It’s ideal for business owners or entrepreneurs who are forming their brand identity or who need a special project done, but if you are looking for a regular designer to outsource work, DesignHill gets you covered there as well. However, keep in mind that you do pay a per-project rate no matter which type of package you choose.
DesignHill is an all-in-one graphic design and visual branding marketplace — the only thing it doesn’t have is an on-demand, flat-rate creative services option such as Flocksy or Penji. Otherwise, though, it gives you the flexibility to get your projects done however if you’d like. This is great if you have specific requirements for one design but want to crowdsource concepts for another.
Pricing varies widely depending on how you request projects through DesignHill, but its contests are definitely on the pricier end. Expect to pay a minimum of $249 for your design contest, which nets you about 20 submissions. One neat option is that you can entice DesignHill’s top designers through paid invites.
The price does start to rise even more if you want quicker results or to add on other brand elements (e.g. a Facebook cover image), and the rates are not cheap. The basic turnaround is a lengthy 10 days. For $10 more this drops to 7 days, but if you want it within 24 hours, you have to pay an extra $50.
As we mentioned, contests do take up to 10 days on this platform unless you pay extra. You can get faster results by purchasing gigs, although the price may be comparable to running a contest, and you’ll only get to work with one designer.
ZillionDesigns is a creative services contest platform that focuses on graphic design but also offers SEO and web development. Plus, it provides printing services — the next logical step from having graphic design done. You can also start 1-on-1 projects with the designer who wins your contest.
ZillionDesigns is fairly standard for a design contest platform. You follow these steps:
The SEO and printing services are offered separately, and you can obtain a quote from the company for a custom project.
ZillionDesigns is perfect for a business owner or entrepreneur who knows exactly which products they need, but not how they want them to look. The platform’s bundled contest features make it easier to get a cohesive brand identity and multiple designs, yet still benefit from a crowdsourced range of concepts.
Many design contest platforms have the effect of nickel-and-diming you, charging separately for each project and forcing different designs to be done by different designs. ZillionDesigns has a solution. While everything is run through a typical contest structure, you can bundle services to save money. For example, rather than running separate logo and web design contests, bundle them in the “Wonderful Web Trio” package.
There is a minimum prize for each type of product. Examples are $75 for small print materials (e.g. business cards), $199 for logos, and $700 for web design. You then pay ZillionDesigns a 20% handling fee.
ZillionDesigns runs contests for 7 days by default, but you can end it early or extend it, depending on the results. You can only shorten contests to 3 days or extend them up to 14 days. You have 7 days after the contest closes to choose a winner.
Freelancer is a two-in-one contest platform and marketplace for creative, marketing, and administrative services. Unlike some of the other platforms on this list, you can get much, much more than design done. Freelancer includes everyone from copywriters to virtual assistants to app developers to shipping specialists.
Freelancer is primarily for outsourcing work, although its contest option is great if you’re not quite sure about the vision for your project. While you technically can run a contest for copywriting or web development, these sorts of projects don’t lend themselves to crowdsourcing. There are too many variables.
However, the nice thing about this platform is that you can get various projects done in one place. You do not have the opportunity to buy prepackaged gigs or get on-demand creative services for a flat rate, though.
Freelancer lives up to its name: whatever you need a freelancer for, you can probably find someone. There are a LOT of services available. You can fully customize your project or contest, and you only pay once you’re satisfied with the results. This platform is good if your project is complex, requires high attention to detail, or may take a bit more time to complete.
When you set up your project or contest, you can choose your budget range. You can go as low as $10 in prize money, although Freelancer warns you to not expect good results. For regular projects, select a pre-determined range (e.g. a “small project for $750-1000” or “major product for $50,000+”) or a custom budget. You’ll receive quotes from freelancers based on your budget. Note that you will be charged a 3% fee for basic projects.
As far as turnaround goes, don’t expect super-fast results on Freelancer unless you run a rush contest. Standard projects generally take a couple of days to set up and get going (although some freelancers may deliver quicker turnarounds for a rush fee). Ultimately, Freelancer is what you make of it.
Upwork is another freelancer marketplace offering a range of creative, marketing, and technical services. While there is no contest option, the site recently launched a gig marketplace similar to Fiverr. The platform is a bit more geared toward long-term work; indeed, some clients find long-lasting freelancer relationships on the platform.
As with other marketplace platforms, you simply post a project and let freelancers come to you. It’s simple:
Or, browse freelancers’ pre-packaged offerings and buy your design/copy/etc. in advance. You can choose which freelancer you want to hire, although you may have limited deliverables or a longer turnaround compared to what you could get in a custom project.
Upwork is great for solopreneurs and business owners who need to hire experts, agencies who need to outsource work, and anyone who needs specialty projects done. You can use it either as a one-and-done platform or find a freelancer for a long-term working relationship.
Upwork is not ideal if you need a lot of work completed or if you’re not sure what shape your project will take. You need to have an overall plan and details in place before you post a job. There are no options for on-demand services or crowdsourcing on this platform.
Upwork is a very intuitive, easy-to-use platform that allows you to customize your budget and overall project process. Convenient messaging tools and simple contracts help you manage projects more easily. And you’ll have access to a lot of freelancers. If your project or job requires multiple skills, you can roll them into one contract — no need to silo as with some other platforms.
Upwork’s prices depend entirely on your budget and the proposal you accept from your chosen freelancer. You will have to pay a 3% processing fee on all payments. There is no option to rush upgrade a project, hide your listings, or anything like that, although you can give bonuses to freelancers for good work. Keep your needs in mind when setting your budget.
For standard projects, it generally takes a few days to get enough submissions to move forward. And you’ll need to wait for the freelancer to accept your offer before they get started. In other words, Upwork is not ideal for quick-turnaround projects (although you can roll a “rush fee” into your offer to motivate faster results, but nothing is guaranteed).
Hiring on the gig marketplace may be faster, assuming you can find someone who meets your needs.