Disappointed with choosing 99designs

As a graphic designer i’m a bit disappointed in the decision to go with 99designs. Imagine if 200 coders were all asked to write an app from beginning to end and in the end only one is selected and they get a measly 900 dollar prize? I’m sure anyone here is a programmer would tell them to get lost. Why are designers the one profession expected to work for free?

This is a multi-million dollar asset and you’re treating it like a contest to pick your local bakery logo.


In this case the platform fits the budget that is available. I understand that for designers who live in Europe or America 900 dollars may not be a lot of money. In some parts of the world however this equals a few months pay.

I’m also not sure that designing an app end to end can be compared to creating a logo. I’m neither a designer or an app coder so perhaps I’m wrong about that. Either way I understand your disappointment, but in this case there weren’t any better options that fit the budget.

1 Like

Even a basic logo is still several hours of work, an award winning one is much more, and it’s not just MAID but it’s becoming symptomatic among industries that designers are working for peanuts or working for free. Also you are correct 900 may be alot for people in some countries but likewise I can go hire a coder in India for much less too, that’s with any profession, but still I’d never ask someone to come spend a few hours doing remodeling work on my house and then say “hmmm neh, don’t like it, sorry i’ll go with someone else” and not pay him.

All I ask is of the MAID team is if it becomes the next Bitcoin, keep whoever wins the winning design in mind much as the founder of Nike remembered the girl he paid 35 dollars for for the Nike swoosh and awarded her 1 million in stock years later, she earned it.


I don’t think the comparison with someone remodeling your house and deciding not to pay them is fair. Designers who join the competition on 99designs know that there’s a fair chance that the people running the competition will not like the logo and that they will not be paid. We’re not telling them “do this” and then say “oh sorry we’re not paying you for that”.

I understand the sentiment, but I just don’t agree with you there.


I think what mikegeister is refering to is that the current culture of the design profession can be a ruthless one (99designs) where people have to work for free just to get a shot at being paid. The work that the designer does is (out of ignorance I argue) commonly considered easy, since “it’s just drawing something” and because of that designers have a hard time getting proper compensation (or none at all) for the hours they work.

But work is work, it really does not matter if it is designing, programming, acting, singing etc. The work that a logo designer does is a very delicate process, like a very precise tweaking of an algorithm to produce the final result. A lot going on “under the hood” of the design process, invisible to the outsider.

What 99designs is doing, is taking advantage of the common attitude that people have for the art professions and strengthening it. This leads to further devaluing the profession of the designer and rewarding superficiality (spoiling the market).

What decisions have been made regarding the organizing of the competition have been made and no guilt should be felt (since I am sure no ill will was meant). But going further maidsafe and safenetwork should respect the ethics of the other profession and I am sure they will :slight_smile:


No one cares how much effort went into it. They only care about the results.

The mediocre, knock-off quality of the submissions is such that they shouldn’t be paid even if they spent an eternity on their crap.

Also, in the case of software: it either works or it doesn’t, so defining the job in its specification is reasonably clear. But what does it mean for a logo to work? How does one sort out the influence of the logo on sales of a product? If you could do that at all it would be long after the job had been done and paid for.

Lastly you describe the situation of someone coming to your house to do remodelling work. But that is like software development: you clearly specify what is to be done and have measures of the quality.

To be fair, this is part of why I advocate splitting the creation of the concept from the physical production of the logo. If the graphic “artist” is expected only to act as a technician who can make efficient use of the tools to produce the verbally specified deign then that one person can be selected on the basis of his existing portfolio and be guaranteed payment of an amount likely to be satisfactory to all concerned.

Thank you, you said it better than I did. It’s a major problem and there is alot of hate for 99designs in the design community the past few years. I know it’s a free market and in the end what can you do, but I know many other professions try to guard their dignity as well as they can, no reason we shouldn’t as well.

Anyway like I said, if a logo is chosen and MAID becomes worth billions one day, I just hope the winning designer is well taken care of in the end in some way much like the Nike swoosh creator.

1 Like

Bad analogy on the home reno :relaxed:

Globalization… where peanuts in USA / Canada is a months wages for some talented individual in the developing world. Madison Avenue is filled with interns working for free trying to make a name for themselves.

This is how it works. 900 smackers is respectable. Limelight is priceless.

Actually it’s not how it works, no intern on Madison Avenue would ever be given a job designing a logo for a multi-million dollar company or asset. Saul Bass and his agency were routinely paid as much as $100k to $500k for the AT&T, Continental Airlines, IBM, Warner Bros. and Steve Job’s NEXT logo. These are marks meant to last decades, even a century and make a lasting impression on millions of people’s minds. It’s not the same as throwing together a 5 minute eblast or banner graphic.

Again it just cheapens the image of MAID. Beg for millions dollars from the Bitcoin community but only pay out less than 1,000 dollars for a logo? Come on. They are better than that, i’ve seen shitcoins pay just as good.

Who and when, I missed that?

Wow. And Thomas Edison and Henry Ford too? If your going to make a claim. Make it current. This stuff is 30 or 40 yrs old dude. Not to mention this was not just logo design… Times, they are a changin’

1 Like

And here’s me thinking 900 dollars is way to much for a logo! My company paid $150 on upwork and its fantastic!


The times are not changing, no multi-million dollar ad agency is going to do thousand dollar work for multi-million dollar clients, they wouldn’t be in business lol.

With the proliferation of digital graphic tools, anyone can produce a literal-minded rendering from a brief description of (not by, of) the customer, and so you get a flood of repetitive, unoriginal garbage, even from people with no cultural or language basis for contributing anything. It is not just a matter of “talent”, a loaded, bullshit pc word if there ever was one.

Those big-money agencies you cite have teams: there are concept people and graphic artists/technicians. There’s a lesson in that that can be imported into the present circumstances.


And that is my point, MAID is a $40 million dollar asset, potentially worth billions in the future, so it deserves a logo that represents its value.

I think they should have just gone to an ad agency or if they have a contest, at least make the prize actually worth something to attract top talent, not 14yo kids with pirated copies of photoshop.

1 Like

…without a time machine to bring the value into the present. :slight_smile:

If they couldn’t come up with a design in-house then they should have postponed it.

1 Like

Its a logo, a simple logo. and $900 is a nice reward for this. Ad agencies dont do “logos” they do full-on corp packages that include creative, artwork, printing, consulting, presentations and the like. If all they did was logos for 100k they’d be broke lol!! And if there portfolio showed their latest task was a Steve Jobs NeXT logo they’d be in trouble. lol!

1 Like

I thought 99Designs was a great service. For my tiny niche business I had input from many creative people. The process seemed very fair, that each step of the way through the selection of logos offered the designers put either more or less effort into it. Many were recycled or tweaked on another version they had in their portfolio, obviously.

Being from the US and finding a great brand by a designer in Poland allowed me to look at a much broader array of creativity. In addition to which I hired her a year later to do an entire series of illustrations that gave graphic instructions in a very cute way.

Maybe not up to the scope of All Bird Shoes. One brand that might be a model for a modern ad campaign that is soaring and began at Kickstarter.

So Rah! 99Designs, it’s a great starter service.

lol op, you are not going to keep the parasites from parasiting off the creative juices of artists. but look at it this way, they wanted to pay $900 for a logo (real logo work goes for $1-5k and takes about 6 months) but since they expected hordes of desperate people to do free work for them in under two weeks and made payment into a prize its more like they got 100 $9 logos.

Which basically just flooded with the noise of plagiarized crap.