With the dawn of the so-called meme generation, more and more animations, graphical work and funny logos are created, which makes that the 21th century will most likely be known to mankind as the period of the visual representation boom. In fact, successful companies/brands cannot live without creative, compelling logos and other creatives. Unfortunately, though, asking an agency to design such a logo is beyond expensive.
The continuous growth of the freelance industry brings us plenty of skilled artists who are willing to create any form of artwork for a much more reasonable price. And there is no better way to find this community than on specific design contest sites.
Freelance Graphic Design Work
Artwork and designing gigs are special breeds within the freelancer world. Most of the time they can be found at marketplace type sites where artists can present their skills, and sell their services and design packages. Many creative freelancers are also available at design contest websites which are the exact opposite of marketplace sites: here clients are the ones submitting a job offer for freelancers, explaining in detail what kind of work they expect from the freelancers.
The possibilities are virtually endless: there are categories for illustrations, book covers, 3D artwork, logo designs, business card designs, art for merchandise etc. Furthermore, everyone can apply to a design contest, and submit their own take on the client’s idea, while clients can choose from countless artworks and announce a winner or winners when the deadline is met.
Best Freelance Websites of 2021
Once a contest is over, the artist sends the winning work, while also renouncing his/her rights to the finalized product in favor of the client. It’s important to note that in most cases only the winning design is rewarded with prize money, meaning that the runner ups might need to go home empty-handed. Luckily, though, there are some freelance sites that offer compensation for other submissions that were taken into consideration.
Design contests are set up through pre-determined packages, meaning that the more expensive the plan is, the more features it offers. For example, cheaper packages put a limit on how many artists can submit their design proposals and the prize money for the winning design is lower, both of which could risk that no talented designers will show up. Spending more on the plans allow clients to organize more attractive contests with no participation limits and, thanks to the greater competition between freelancers, have better end results.
Kicking off as a Freelance Graphic Designer
Beginner artists must understand the difference between freelance marketplaces and design contests before jumping right into freelancing. On a marketplace website you need strong marketing to catch the eye of a browsing client; at a design contest, however, it is the submitter who checks out all the proposals, including yours. So if you are confident enough in your skills and think you can stand up against hundreds of other designers from all around the world, then a design contest is the right choice for you. Still, bear in mind that in most cases there is prize money for only the winner, so it is very likely that you end up working a lot on a specific project but are left unpaid in the end.
However, regardless of the result you should never give up trying. To have better chances, and maybe landing you some private assignments, organize your previous designs into a superb gallery on your main page. Another great way to leave a good impression on a potential client is to respond with eagerness on any feedback. And let’s not forget that clients often request changes during the run of the contest, thus following the feedback of your client is the key to snatch the prize money.
Hiring a Graphic Designer
Whether you are a YouTuber who needs a cool logo, a publisher looking for an illustrator, or a company reworking its corporate branding, you’ll definitely love design contest sites which are created to make clients satisfied. Furthermore, launching a project is far more cost effective than hiring a team of creatives, not to mention you receive several different takes on your idea. In fact, projects that promise a winner or several money prizes attract better results. On a design contest site you are not forced to accept an artwork right away: in case a promising concept needs some refinement, you can contact the artist and ask for the necessary changes. However, if none of the artworks live up to your standards, you can ask for a full refund if you made an upfront payment or decide not to select any design.
Recommended Freelance Sites for Graphic Designers
Toptal has a pretty unique concept: instead of creating a marketplace for freelancers or allowing clients to initiate contests, they screen every developer and designer who joins the site. The process is a marathon of interviews and test projects, after which only 5% of original applicants remain, who, from then on, are certified to do an outstanding job. In other words, hiring a designer from Toptal is more costly than with other freelance platforms, but also ensures top quality projects.
As its name implies, DesignContest is a freelance website specializing in client-created contests thus attracting artists from all around the world. Through a demo tour that shows every little aspect of the titular design contest newcomer clients will find it easy to learn how to set up a contest. This is accompanied by affordable package prices and the ability to ask for a full refund. Artists can fully customize their profile page and may receive compensation if ranking third or second.
DesignCrowd is another good example of a design contest site that stands out with a very convenient interface that makes navigating around the job board very straightforward for both clients and artists. The site does its best to support outstanding talents by providing some compensation in cases when you aren’t nominated for the prize money, but you constantly deliver quality results. Clients, on the other hand, can enjoy countless features such as low package prices and a 30-day money back guarantee.