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Design Service Reviews

My Honest Review of DesignContest

Table of Contents

DesignContest Overview

DesignContest has been around since 2003. It’s one of many design crowdsourcing sites. In this comprehensive review, you’ll get all the details about DesignContest so you can decide if it’s the best fit for your design needs.

What is DesignContest?

DesignContest is a site that allows clients to create a design contest. Designers compete for prize money. The site covers apparel design, advertising design, logos, and more.

How Does DesignContest Work?

How it works

DesignContest was designed to let clients pick their favorite design from a range of design ideas. With DesignContest, you have all the power. You set the specifications and then pick the design you like best. Setting up a contest is relatively easy.

Step 1 – You create a contest. DesignContest has several different packages depending on your budget. You’ll be asked to describe what you need and upload any necessary files.

Step 2 – Designers submit entries. Contests usually last about 7 days. The number of entries you can expect will be based on the prize package you select.

Step 3 – Next, you can cut any designs you don’t like. You’ll give each design a rating.

Step 4 – Then, you correspond with your top choice designers to fine-tune their designs.

Step 5 – Finally, you pick the winning design. Then, the prize money is released and you own all rights to the design.

DesignContest Designs

You can choose from 7 design categories and 35 design subcategories.

The 7 Main Design Categories are as follows:

  • Corporate Identity
  • Web Design
  • Illustrations & Contextual Design
  • Product Design
  • Advertising Materials
  • Clothing & Apparel Design
  • Application Design


To Create A Contest:

  1. You select your design category.
  2. Describe your design needs.
  3. On a sliding style scale, you can select where you want your design to land on the following:
  • Minimal vs. Complex
  • Modern vs. Classic
  • Playful vs. Serious
  • Loud vs. Subtle
  • Luxury vs. Budget
  1. If you have any files, you can upload them for the designers.
  2. Then, you select your prize package.
  3. Last, you launch your contest.
It is for All

How Much Is DesignContest?

DesignContest has prize packages for every budget. With each price increase, you can expect more contest entries. With higher prize money offered, you can expect to attract more top tier designers. DesignContest does not release the prize money until you are completely happy with your design. DesignContest offers 3 prize packages plus a custom package. You can also add upgrades for additional costs. If you really want to up the stakes, you can choose to add a second and third place prize. When you create a contest, you will be asked to enter payment details.

Economy $195 and approximately 35 contest entries

Standard $395 and approximately 80 contest entries

Premium $595 for approximately 110 contest entries

Custom Name your price


You can also add on these upgrades:

Promoted ($69) – promotes your contest on DesignContest’s social media

Private ($59) – makes contest private and designers sign an NDA before seeing your personal details

Featured Contest ($49) – features your contest at the top of the list

Blind ($39) – designers can’t see each other’s work

Top Designers ($29) – limits it to the best designers

Highlighted ($19) – highlights your contest in the contest list

How Long Does DesignContest Take?

Each contest lasts around a week. Once you create a contest, you can expect design entries within the first few hours. Remember that your prize package will determine how many entries you should expect. Once designs start coming in, you can eliminate the ones you aren’t interested in and rate the remaining ones. After that, it’s up to you to work with the remaining designers to flesh out the final design. This may take some back and forth, so the contest can go longer than a week. Once you have a design you love, you select that designer as the winner. This closes the contest, but you may not receive the design that same day. The designer has to upload the source files and sign the copyrights over to you. Once you approve the design, the prize money is released.

Tips to Run A Successful Contest

To get the most out of DesignContest, there are a few tips you will want to follow.

  • Be descriptive. When you create a contest, you will be able to type up a quick summary of what you are looking for and what you need. Be specific here and give examples of designs you like. You can insert URLs. The more info the designers have, the better job they will do.
  • Choose the right design category. If you choose the wrong design category, you won’t get the designs you actually want. Interested designers search and filter the contest list by category. DesignContest has 7 main categories and 35 subcategories. There’s a category for every design type. If you aren’t sure what category your design falls under, contact customer support and ask.
  • Rate your designs as they are submitted. At least once a day, you should rate the existing contest entries. Don’t hesitate to cut designs altogether if they don’t work at all. If you slack off, designers may get bored and quit. When they see you are rating designs and giving feedback, they’ll remain hopeful that they can win.
  • Give constructive criticism. Once you’ve selected a design you like, give specific suggestions so the designer can make it even better. What do you not like? What do you love? What would you like to see more of?
  • If needed, add an upgrade. If you aren’t getting the quality of work or the number of entries you want, you can add on one of the optional upgrades. The Highlighted, Promoted, and Featured Contest upgrades will get you more entries. The Blind or Top Designers upgrades can get you more creative designs.

DesignContest Review

My “Expert” Opinion

DesignContest’s prize packages are reasonable and cheaper than several of its competitors. This design crowdsourcing site also has more design categories than some of its’ competitors. It’s a one-stop shop for design. The Blind upgrade is a good idea, but a better one would be if every contest was automatically a blind contest at no additional cost. DesignContest allows users to work directly with their winning designer after a contest is over. This is convenient and allows for some continuity between designs. In my opinion, DesignContest is a great choice for companies, big and small.

PROS of DesignContest

● The site has a user-friendly interface and creating a contest is a simple process.
● You have more upgrade choices than those available on other sites.
● DesignContest has a money-back guarantee. If you don’t like a single design, you get 100% of your money back.
● The Economy prize package is affordable at $195.
● The optional Private upgrade protects clients through an NDA.
● The prize money is not released until you approve the final design. DesignContest makes certain that clients are satisfied.
● You can work directly with designers to customize your design. This allows you to truly get what you want.
● The prize packages are set rates. You don’t have to worry about a graphic designer charging you by the hour.
● You can create more interest in your contest by creating a second and third place prize.
● After a contest, you can use the same designer for other work without having to create an additional contest.

CONS of DesignContest

● Contests show up in Google search results and anyone can enter unless the client has paid the extra $59 to upgrade the contest to Private. This could put a client’s personal info at risk. It would be nice if all contests were considered private. Also, open contests are available to literally anyone. This increases the chances that clients may have to wade through inappropriate designs from people with little to no graphic design experience.
● The Economy prize package is affordable at $275, but you only get approximately 35 designs. Other design crowdsourcing sites such as LogoTournament offer more entries with their starter package.
● The majority of designers who enter a contest don’t get paid anything, because only one to three people can win. This means a lot of designers are getting paid nothing for their work. Entering too many contests would be a waste of a designer’s time. Everyone wants to get paid for their work, but on the other hand, designers do know the risk when they choose to enter a contest.
● Also because DesignContest doesn’t retain any designers on staff, the number of entries may vary. As a designer is able to retain their own clients, they may stop entering contests. This is most likely why DesignContest keeps its contests open to the general public.
● The client decides on the winning design. Some people may not know what a great design is though. They may like one design, but that doesn’t mean it will perform well for them.
● LogoTournament’s contests have a blind phase for the first part of each of their contests. DesignContest only lets clients create a blind contest for an additional charge of $39.

Alternatives to DesignContest

There are several alternatives to DesignContest.

  • 99Designs
  • Fiverr
  • DesignBro
  • DesignCrowd
  • DesignHill
  • Toptal
  • Upwork
  • LogoTournament
  • CrowdSpring
  • Kimp
  • Design Pickle
  • Design Evo

Script for Video Review:

Here’s a brief tutorial on how to set up a contest via DesignContest. Once you are on their site, you can start your contest straight from their landing page. First, you will select your design category. Then, enter your company name and select your field. DesignContest lets you upload files and describe your design needs. Once you’ve completed the first two steps, you will be asked to select one of their three prize packages. The one you select will depend on your budget. If you wish, you can also pick from a host of optional upgrades. For startups and small companies, DesignContest is an easy and cheap way to get a unique design. Their website is easy to navigate.

Fequently Asked Questions

Yes, DesignContest was founded in 2003, so it’s a well established, legitimate company.

A design contest offers prize money as an incentive. Multiple designers submit designs in hopes of winning the prize.

Yes, DesignContest is a great alternative to contracting with a freelance designer. It allows you to see several designs from different designers. You can also add a second and third place prize to lure even more designers.