Finding good graphic design can be tough, even though there are tons of options out there. Deciding where to hire a designer can be overwhelming and confusing. One of the more popular choices is through a platform called 99designs. But there are other great alternatives you might be missing out on.

We’ll take a look at what 99designs is all about and if it’s the right fit for you. We’ll also discuss why it’s a popular option and what its drawbacks are. Plus, we’ll give you a list of some of the best 99designs alternatives to help you make a decision that works for you.

Similar 99designs Platforms

Below are options similar to 99designs which makes hiring graphic designers quick and easy. You may want to check them out to see if you’ll find one that you’ll like:


design crowd logo

An online marketplace much like 99designs, DesignCrowd is a great site to find graphic designers. They have close to a million freelance designers on their database, so getting one suited for your needs should be simple. You can directly hire or hold a contest to get the design you need.

Of all the platforms in this list, DesignCrowd is the most similar to 99designs. It is less costly and provides more options for the customization of your contests. But there are hidden costs that you should be aware of.


design contest logo

Aside from holding contests, DesignContest also lets you hire a graphic designer directly.  They have over 200 thousand designers on their list, not as many as DesignCrowd. But if you look at the reviews, most of them are from satisfied customers, so it’s a decent 99designs alternative.

With DesignContest, you can set a budget for your design jobs. However, they have minimums, which depend on the type of design you need. They have a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with their service.


crowdspring 99designs alternative

Probably the only one to do so, Crowdspring offers design consultations for free. They are a relatively small marketplace compared to the ones above. But sometimes, being small is advantageous as this gives them the capability of being a hands-on team. 

The Crowdspring website is easy to navigate and offers filters to help you find the most suitable designers quickly. Although they have no review or rating system in place for their designers, they have their portfolios standing by. You can browse through them to find what exactly you’re looking for.


designhill 99designs alternative

With the same work processes as 99designs and DesignCrowd, DesignHill has a wide range of services offered. You can get a freelance graphic designer from the platform, but it lets you do it yourself. DesignHill has online tools available that allow you to create your own designs. 

They have the same direct hire or contest launch, but DesignHill has the paid invite feature. You can hold a contest and invite a favorite designer to join for a minimal fee. This lets you invite the best designers to ensure high-quality designs to choose from.


fiver 99 designs alternative

If you’re on a tight budget, a good option would be Fiverr. For as low as $5, you can get a logo design. You can hire freelancers not only for anything design-related but for other projects as well. 

They have paid plans, too, if you find the platform suitable and want to get premium services. They cost less than the others mentioned in this list. The downside is, you have to go through hundreds of profiles to find the best one for your task.

Although these options provide basically the same services as 99designs, there is still a better alternative. Read on to learn what it is and how you can get it.

What is 99designs? 

99designs website screenshot

Based in Melbourne, Australia, 99designs is an online creative platform that connects freelance graphic designers with clients worldwide. It offers a vibrant marketplace for designers to take on clients from the comforts of their homes. For businesses, it gives them access to talents across the globe, whatever budget they have. 

Founded in 2008 by Matt Mickiewicz and Mark Harbottle, the company has now grown to include offices in Oakland, California, and Berlin, Germany. 99designs has more than a million designers from 192 countries as of 2016. In 2017, it became a profitable company with reported revenue of about $60 million in 2018. 

How 99designs Work 

how 99designs works page

There are two ways you can get a design on 99designs. The first one is through its Design Search tool, and the other one is through starting a contest. Let’s take a closer look at each of them: 

Hire a Designer 

finding the right designer online

The platform can directly connect you to designers with over 90 skill sets. You can choose from different levels of expertise, styles, asking price, or availability. You will then be given the option to select a prospective designer for your project. 

Then, you’ll explain what your project is about and then negotiate the price for it. Prices will vary depending on the designer and the complexity of your project. The platform also allows you to request quotes from different designers to make your options more diverse. 

Start a Contest 

graphic design contest

To get the interest of the best designers in the company’s global community, you can start a contest. You’ll be asked for a creative brief on which the contestants will base their submissions. The platform has different contest packages depending on how much you’re willing to spend on the design. 

This process allows you to choose from a variety of styles and ideas. The higher your price offering is, the more concepts you’ll get. This is the best option if you’re looking for logo design and other similar assets. 

The Problem with 99designs

Although many people are quite satisfied with 99designs, there are also those who aren’t happy with them. Thus, the need to know about another 99designs alternative. Here are some reasons people would want to get away from the platform: 

Communication Issues 

Clients look for a 99designs alternative because of communication issues. The platform has what they call a design brief, a document where you’ll write what you want to have in a design. This is where you’ll describe what colors you want, what meaning you want to convey with the design, and many others. 

This usually becomes a problem once you’re unable to write it concisely and transparently. The platform has templates and guidelines to help you write a good brief, but there is still a chance potential designers will misunderstand you. And this results in not getting the design you want. 

Language Barrier 

Another concern is the language barrier. Designers on 99designs come from different parts of the world. English may be required to get work through the platform, but not all of them will be native speakers. This can make writing a design brief even more complicated. 

Communicating your ideas can also be daunting when you consider the cultural barrier. It can sometimes get in the way when the designers don’t have a good understanding of Western culture. Expect some misspelled words or confusion in using imagery. 

No Client-Designer Relationship 

Having an excellent professional relationship with a graphic designer is one of the best ways to get good graphic design. When you understand how each other works, you’ll both be communicating your ideas effortlessly. And the result is a logo that visualizes your brand identity well. 

Your designer will know your brand well enough to create graphic design that has a harmonious look. This involves graphic design that your audience understands and gets them to take action. A design that came from a contest will lack the benefits you get from having a solid connection with your designer. Consider the pros and cons of hiring a freelance designer.

Lack of Originality 

The 99 designs contest process usually involves the contest holder rating the submitted entries. This gives other designers a chance to see what you’re likely to lean on. They create designs that look similar to what you’ve given a high rating to, and what you get are ideas lacking in originality. 

Another disadvantage of the rating system is that once designers see you’ve rated some designs, they will tend to keep away from your contest. They are thinking that you already found your winner and will lose interest in joining. Overall, clients prefer customized and unique designs, hence, they are looking for a 99designs alternative.

Too Many Choices 

Many people don’t know that there is a danger in getting too many choices. How can that be when that’s exactly what you wanted when you started a contest? In design, as with many aspects of life, there is a psychological connection between making good choices and having too many to choose from. 

Facing too many choices can be an overwhelming experience that can lead you to make the wrong decision. Imagine having a hundred designers submitting even more designs in the hopes of getting you to like theirs. Having one or more designers create something for you can be easier than choosing from a hundred designs. 

What is the Best 99designs Alternative? 

Now you can see why people are clamoring for some 99designs alternatives. Holding a contest is an affordable way to get good design, but it isn’t for everyone. Here are a few of the best alternatives to 99designs’ business model:

In-House Designers 

in-house graphic designer

As mentioned earlier, in-house designers benefit a company by knowing the company as a whole. An in-house designer will understand goals and objectives. This will translate to all the graphic design they will create. You’ll get designs that are consistent and effective. 

In addition, you’ll have full control of the outcomes as opposed to starting a contest that you’ll only get what the designers submit. The bottom line is, the in-house designer’s knowledge of your brand identity will show in the quality and turnaround time of a project—high-quality in no time. 


team of designers for an agency

One of the best advantages of hiring a design agency is having access to a limitless pool of fresh talent. If you want innovation, fresh perspectives, and dynamic designs, an agency is a good option. Design agencies are ideal breeding grounds for new talents that can bring in something unique for your brand. 

Although more costly than starting a contest on 99designs, an agency has a team of people who’ll work their heads together to give you the best. Plus, most of the units are composed of designers themselves that create an environment of creativity, competition, and professionalism. 

On-Demand Graphic Design 

penji revisions on-demand graphic design

The two options above are great channels for good graphic designs, however, they don’t come cheap. On-demand graphic design services are a combination of the two, but for a lower price. This type of service is favorable as it gives you the design you need quickly and consistently. 

An on-demand graphic design service is a subscription-based service that lets you submit design requests and have them when you need them. For a flat monthly rate, you can submit requests as often as you need. With quick turnaround times, this is every entrepreneur and marketer’s dream. 

Why On-Demand Graphic Design is the Best 99designs Alternative 

It’s rare to find quality design and affordability in one sentence before the onset of on-demand graphic design services. Marketplaces such as 99designs can give you excellent design for less, but that’s if you have luck on your side. If you don’t want to rely on chances, on-demand graphic design service is for you. Here’s why: 


An on-demand graphic design service offers monthly subscription rates for unlimited design and revisions. You won’t have to pay per project or hour. That’s real value for your money. This is especially suitable for companies that need a continuous supply of good graphic design. 

Fast Turnaround Time 

penji social media ad design
Penji design example

In this fast-paced world, being on time is everything. On-demand service means having the graphic design you need when you need it. With a turnaround time of anywhere between 24 and 48 hours, you won’t have to wait long to get that logo design or social media graphics. 

Professional and Reliable Work 

Generally, this type of service has stringent recruitment processes to hire only the best of the best graphic designers in the industry. Unlike hiring from 99designs, where reliability leaves a lot to be desired, on-demand services have a team of designers on board. 

This team of designers will understand your brand and familiarize themselves with creating graphic design that’s consistent in quality. They are there any time you need them and won’t just disappear without prior notice.

No More Hiring Process 

You won’t have to look around online marketplaces to find the ideal freelance graphic designer. You no longer have to look at portfolio after portfolio to find the perfect match. On-demand graphic design service will do the recruiting and vetting for you. 

Variety of Skills 

penji ad example cacao
Penji ad design example

Whatever design genre you will need, an on-demand service’s team of professionals can cater to it. Whether it’s an illustration or a website landing page, you’re sure to choose a wide range of skill sets. Their graphic designers are specially selected for their field of expertise, so you can get a designer to match your particular project. 

Easy Communication 

An on-demand graphic design service typically has a dashboard where clients and designers discuss projects. This means communication is efficient and straightforward. You won’t have to send emails every time you want to request a design or revision. You can find it all there on the dashboard. 

No Contracts 

When your company experiences a low workload, opting out of the subscription is simple and easy. You won’t have to be tied down to a contract. You can just cancel the subscription and pay only when you need to. 

Signing up for Penji 

create account page

While on-demand graphic design services vary from company to company, Penji can assure you of all the above, and more. We have a 14-day money-back guarantee to let you know how serious we are about giving you on-demand graphic designs. 

Sign up today to start getting high-quality designs. You can also watch our demo video to learn more. 

The Penji Experience 

Requesting a design from Penji is quick and straightforward. On the dashboard, you’ll be asked to do the following: 

  • Submit your design request
  • Fill in the details of your project
  • You may add links or attachments as references
  • Choose your colors
  • Choose the file format
  • Create the project 

Wait 24 to 48 hours for your design. Once the design is finished, you’ll get a notification on your dashboard as well as on your email account. You can submit revisions, or if satisfied with the work, you can mark it as complete. You can now move on to your next design request. 

Get unlimited graphic design 

Why look for a 99designs alternative when you can have it simple and easy with Penji. This is the most cost-effective way to get great graphic design without the hassles of hiring. Leave the tedious task of finding graphic designers to us so you can focus more on what really matters to your business. Click here to start the design process!