Need a Graphic Designer? At 99designs.com a community of graphic designers competes to create the perfect design for your project - logos, web sites, marketing materials, product labels or any other graphical element. As the largest marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design with over 185,000 members, 99designs.com enables businesses to quickly and cost effectively source custom graphic design work without the risk - you see the designs before you buy.
To launch a design project simply describe: who you are, what kind of design you need and how much you are willing to spend. The design community then begins submitting custom designs to your project. The average project is open for 7 days and sees about 100 custom design submissions. At the end you choose the design you like best and leave owning that design and having a relationship with that designer. If you don't like any of the designs we give you 100% of your money back, including our fees, so there is ZERO risk.
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Jude Fernando - Philippines
99designs handle: Fernando's design
Projects entered: 126
Projects won: 29
How did you get started in web design?
I got my start in design a long time ago, 1995 to be exact. It was not in web design, but in Architectural design. Yes, that was my foundation and my five years in architecture school developed my aesthetic sensibilities.
However, architectural practice in the real world didn't work out for me. It was not my cup of tea - I discovered that creativity in the world of cement and steel was limited by so many factors. I started looking into other creative outlets such as traditional art and sculpture. All this was until the day I discovered Photoshop...
I was so amazed by the capabilities of the software, that I started spending all my waking hours messing around with it. I tried my hand at some personal websites for friends and poster designs for local events. I realized that this was something I could get good at after much encouragement and appreciation from my friends, family and early clients. This was also the time when websites were not cool and pretty to look at and there was definitely no web2.0 and glossy, shiny interfaces! There was and is so much potential on the web!
My initial inspiration is always the client. A good brief inspires me and gets me thinking about the possibilities. I also spend some time every single day just browsing the web, looking at great designs, seeing the work of other designers. The more you appreciate the work of others the more you grow in your own work. Most of my ideas come to me at night - when the world is asleep. A calm mind and quiet surroundings inspire a lot of thought. I never rush into a design.
99designs.com? Unlike many here, I discovered 99designs quite late. I was randomly browsing through a popular web design forum when I came across a discussion about contests. The whole concept of crowdsourcing was new to me and I was curious enough about 99designs to give it a try. I was hooked immediately - each and every contest gave me a rush but I was also depressed when I didn't win. I am sure all of you designers here have felt the same. After 126 contests its still a rush and I have learned to deal with losing :) 99designs has been invaluable in providing me with a lot more opportunity than what I had before. Every contest is a learning experience and I have built relationships with more than a few regular clients though this site. I have improved a lot since I first started here - much of which is due to the concept of this site. Being able to compare ones work with the work of other designers gives you great insight into what you need to improve on. Without this constant interaction with other designers through the contest environment, I would still be stuck where I was a year ago.
- Understand the brief. This is the the most important aspect of any contest, yet is more often than not the most overlooked. I don't mean just read the brief, but actually understand what the contest holder wants. Read it carefully, take the time, don't rush things.
- Think like the client. Put yourself in the clients position and think about what you would want if you were the client. What would be most important to you? Sometimes I even think about where the client lives and the acceptable current design practices in that country or that city. For example Scandinavia has a minimalist, functional and ultra modern design language, whereas Miami beach is about being eclectic, colorful and a little over the top.
- Offer something unique with your entry. Everyone likes to be surprised and clients remember unique designs. If two designs follow the brief to the letter and both designs have excellent technique, it's likely the design that offers something unique or something extra will win. Remember, think like the client. Every client wants their website to standout from the crowd.
Creative freedom is what I love the most. Each new project is a creative outlet and a challenge in itself. Each project brings something different. Not having to do the same thing every day for years is what I love most about being a designer.
Getting custom marketing collateral designed fast can be a challenge particularly for small businesses and startups. I recently spoke with Nisha Baxi of Dyyno - who shared how she used 99designs.com to design everything from brochures and datasheets to business cards and flyers.
Business Card Design by niichan
What brought you to 99designs.com?
Dyyno is a new online video sharing platform that distributes HD video to an unlimited number of viewers for free. It’s a really cool technology and now that we are pushing it out to the public – we needed the marketing material to back it up. We had been working with some local designers, but they were really expensive, they did not always do what we wanted them to do, we did not have very many designs to choose from, and ultimately their style is pretty much the same every time. While its nice to have one designer create a consistent look across all the collateral it’s also really good to have multiple options.
Datasheet Design by Arteche Gaston
What marketing collateral have you had designed at 99designs?
The first design project we ran was for a datasheet – we had over 90 submissions and we were really excited. I worked closely with five designers who were great about making changes while we were zeroing in on the final design. The designer that we ended up choosing has been awesome – even now he makes little tweaks to the design as need be. We also have run projects to design a brochure, a flyer, a second datasheet, a quick start guide and our business cards - The experience that has just been tremendous. I’m not sure if 99designs has a screening process for the designers but if you do - it’s a good one. Every designer that we picked has been excellent with a great work ethic – they are just really, really helpful. Because of 99designs we now have 6 great pieces of marketing collateral where before we had 3 terrible pieces. We have been to 5 conferences since I joined Dyyno, and I now feel more confident being next to companies that are much more established than us with quality of the marketing collateral we have gotten through 99designs.
Flyer Design by Arteche Gaston
Do you have any tips for running successful design projects?
The most important thing is to stay active and give the designers feedback. The first project that I did – I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t giving nearly enough feedback. Now, I try to engage in the project in such a way that respects both my time and the time the designers put into it. For example, I eliminate the designs that are way off base right away. It may sound harsh, but it lets the designers know that they don’t need to waste any more time on it. The more respect you show the designers – the more likely they will be to help you and participate.