In the ultra-competitive world of graphic design, two renowned names come up: 99designs and DesignCrowd. Both do a phenomenal job connecting businesses with talented freelancers, but which one should you choose? Let’s closely examine these two and help you decide which to get for your next project.

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Overview of 99designs

An online global platform, 99designs offers a place for businesses to find freelance graphic designers. Founded in 2008, it became popular for business owners to hold design contests where designers can submit their ideas. The entrepreneurs will then choose from the submissions and award the prize to the design they like.

It also lets you hire freelancers by communicating with them directly. These are cost-effective ways to get your design work done. With a large pool of freelancers and a money-back guarantee on design contests, 99designs is an excellent graphic design solution.

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Overview of DesignCrowd

Another online freelancer platform, DesignCrowd, is an excellent place to find creatives for your business. Like 99designs, you can hold design contests where freelancers can compete against each other to get your project. You can also use the site to browse through portfolios and hire a freelancer directly.

DesignCrowd has a global network of freelance graphic designers that specialize in a variety of services. This includes logo design, web and app design, branding materials, print design, packaging design, and many more.

Comparison of Features

While 99designs and DesignCrowd have many apparent similarities, they also have a multitude of differences. Below is a comparison of each platform’s features:

Project Approach


99designs: Has a more comprehensive range of contest options with various durations and prize tiers.

DesignCrowd: Has more flexible contest lengths, including shorter deadlines at standard pricing.

Direct Hire:

99designs: Has a filtering system based on skills and experience. Provides project management tools and milestones.

DesignCrowd: Offers less emphasis on direct hiring. Offers basic tools that require more client initiative in management.

Other Features

  • Community: 99designs has a design community forum that allows for easy connection with other users and getting feedback on your projects. DesignCrowd, on the other hand, has a less developed community feature.
  • Portfolio Features: 99designs lets designers showcase their works with more detailed descriptions and information. DesignCrowd does not have as many details.
  • Anonymity: 99designs lets you run contests where designers won’t see the entries of their competitors. This helps reduce derivative work. DesignCrowd does not offer this feature as of this writing.
  • Mobile App: 99designs and DesignCrowd both offer mobile apps to help you manage your projects on the go.

Pricing and Packages

99designs and DesignCrowd take different approaches to their pricing and packages. Take a look below:


  • Contest-focused: offers a wide array of contest tiers with various durations and prize money. You can tailor the contest to your budget and desired quality level.
  • Flexible structure: Gives users the option for add-on services, such as guaranteed contests, extended deadlines, and NDA agreements. 
  • Slightly higher price: contests can cost more than DesignCrowd, especially for top-tier packages with bigger prize pools.


  • Tier-based pricing: Its Basic, Standard, and Premium pricing tiers are simpler than 99designs’ for both contests and direct hires.
  • Budget-friendly: Caters to business owners and marketers who have tight budgets.
  • Limited flexibility: Less customization options with contest packages.

Customer Reviews and Ratings

As you can expect, both 99designs and DesignCrowd have a mix of positive and negative customer reviews. Below is a breakdown of how each fares:


Strengths: Many users find the platform easy to use, offering a wide array of creative talents and a money-back guarantee on the contests.

Weaknesses: A few reviewers find the platform’s contest process time-consuming. There are a few reports of variation in designer quality. Also, some users aren’t satisfied with the slow response times.


Strengths: Reviews praise the platform’s affordability, especially for small projects. The contest durations merited several positives, along with the variety of design submissions.

Weaknesses: Many feedback complain about inconsistent design quality, with a few receiving fewer professional entries. A few users mentioned poor communication issues with designers.

Note that reviews can be subjective, so it’s highly recommended that you do more research before forming your opinion.

Ease of Use and User Experience

One crucial factor you need to consider when choosing between 99designs vs DesignCrowd is user experience (UX) and ease of use. Let’s look at how these two platforms perform:


  • Streamlined interface: Has a visually appealing and intuitive interface, offering effortless navigation.
  • Contest management: Has a well-structured contest management and launch. Offers clear instructions and guides on how the contest process works.
  • Direct hire tools: Easy designer portfolio and profile browsing. Organized project management tools and milestones.
  • Potential drawback: Writing a clear and compelling creative brief can be challenging for first-time users.


  • Functional interface: The interface lacks the aesthetic appeal of 99designs, but it gets the job done efficiently.
  • Contest management: Contest launching is straightforward but will need more effort if compared to 99designs.
  • Direct hire functionality: Finding designers is quick and easy, but project management tools are basic.
  • Potential drawback: Navigating through some features may have a higher learning curve compared to 99designs.

Which Should You Choose: 99designs vs DesignCrowd?

Pitting 99designs against DesignCrowd reveals many ups and downs on both sides. The answer now depends on your design needs. If you prioritize top-tier designs and more customization options, the clear choice would be 99designs

If you work with a tight budget and smaller projects, DesignCrowd would be your best bet. Considering the following factors can also help you decide:

  • How crucial is design quality for you?
  • What’s your budget?
  • Are you comfortable writing a creative brief?
  • How important is a user-friendly platform?

When you weigh these factors, you’ll be one step closer to choosing between the two.

Why Work with Penji

Instead of choosing between 99designs vs DesignCrowd, choose to work with Penji. You won’t have to run contests, wait for designers to submit their ideas, or find which suits your project the best.

All you need to do is write your project brief and leave it to our best designers. Watch a quick demo video here to learn what we do. Or better yet, click this link to start with your first design request.

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