- Extremely logical interface
- Demo tour
- Full refund
- Affordable pricing
- Extra rewards for designers
- Graphical projects only
- No smartphone app
DesignContest is a high-profile freelance website established in 2003 which, despite its pretty long-running carreer, is still a leader in the designer community. As the name suggests, DesignContest specializes in client-created contests, attracting artists from all around the world. Furthermore, the site opens its gates for an international community too, as it has a localized version for 10 countries, including Australia, Germany, Spain, France and Russia. The service doesn’t shy away from those who are curious: with the innovative demo mode, everyone can experience the feeling of running a contest using a bunch of custom templates. However, if you are not thinking in contests, you can hire single individuals as well for your non-recurring projects. DesignContest has a set of advantages for both sides: buyers can enjoy affordable package prices and a full refund, while artists may receive compensation by ranking second or third.
The biggest concern of clients against freelancers or design agencies is that they either provide a limited amount of artwork or ask for a huge budget. However, DesignContest offers a chance to get unique artwork at wallet-friendly prices by picking the middle-of-the-road approach: it puts you in full charge of organizing an art competition, providing you every tool you need. In other words, you are in control regarding the format of the competition, picking a winner from the many results provided by the site’s designer community and gaining all rights for the chosen artwork.
DesignContest’s project palette is pretty broad, notwithstanding that the site allows you to launch projects for graphical products only. But if your project involves art, DesignContest can host a competition for it: you can put out an assignment for creating a company logo or a business card, and ask for web design or a smartphone app image. However, if you want something more specific, you can also get t-shirt designs with special patterns, icon design and the list could go on.
DesignContest is an ideal place for creative talents to take wings. The registration can be done in the traditional way or by linking your Facebook account, after which you are directed to a minimalistic profile page that emphasizes your achievements, skills and portfolio. As for your profile’s visitors, they are able to toggle between full image galleries or just see your winning entries.
DesignContest does its best not to let artists work in the dark: designers have multiple channels to communicate with the contest holder who can provide additional feedback directly on the submitted entries. Aside from that, designs can be rated, approved or discarded, while freelancers are allowed to post multiple iterations of their creations. And as a nice little extra, the site sympathizes with struggling designers by opening up the possibility to award a second and third prize, not just one grand reward for the winner of a contest.
Clients are going to have a blast with the user interface of DesignContest, as every task can be done effortlessly with a few clicks, while contests are very well put together. There is a demo tour for every newcomer that lets you learn the ropes (see below), but the site doesn’t hold you back from jumping into the pool of fun right away.
Contest briefings are surprisingly simple: most pointers can be done by assigning the design bar, choosing the preferred color or picking an example for the style. Once the contest is up and the entries of freelancers start rolling in, they’ll be put on a summary page for comparison. All images are enlarged automatically if you move the cursor over them, plus you can comment or rate the images you like or simply ask for modifications. Standard contests don’t guarantee a winner, meaning that you are entitled for a full refund if you are unsatisfied with the results. However, projects without a guaranteed winner are far less accepted by freelancers.
Without doubt DesignContest boasts one of the best user interfaces among freelance websites. Navigating the site is a breeze, and the design layout quickly adapts to scrolling and resizing, only displaying relevant information.
A user-friendly interface is one thing, but the service deserves the biggest praise for its free demo tour that simulates every feature a contest holder may encounter. Opening the demo tab will briefly explain how contest revisions work, how to announce a winner and what kinds of interactions are available. Speaking of the latter, it is the ultimate proof of the staff’s diligence, as there is a made-up comment section to simulate real-life interaction with freelancers. Playing a bit with the demo is highly advised for any newcomer, because it models the system’s inner working faithfully.
Although DesignContest claims to work on all devices, there is a bit of cheating: the site is indeed designed to function flawlessly on touchscreen-based smartphones, but it is just the desktop version adapted to mobile screens. Although the mobile site works great, the absence of a native app is a bit of a downer.
In order to be more attractive for aspiring artists, DesignContest is 100% free on their part, plus no service fee is charged on the prize money, whether it is guaranteed or not. Clients, however, must pay in advance by choosing one of the design plans. Package prices are fixed (with the prize money included), but they always depend on the selected category: for instance website designs start from at least $595, while a simple artwork for a poster costs only $195.
There are a number of additional options employers can pay for to further spruce up their listings. For $79 the contest will receive a so-called “Promoted” status, paying $49 makes it either featured or private, while for an extra $19 you can extend the length of a project/contest for another week. And let’s not forget about the always available option of increasing the fee to appoint a 2nd and 3rd place winner in your contest. Successfully referring a friend to DesignContest earns you a $30 Amazon gift card.
DesignContest offers free consultations and support on its website. If you want to contact the staff directly, you can reach them over the phone, via email, or a constantly available live chat. The site also has a knowledge base which resembles a lot to a regular FAQ, as it mostly aims to answer the questions of people who are new to the service. DesignContest also extended its presence to most social media sites, including Instagram and LinkedIn, plus they operate a YouTube channel with some creative content beside the usual promotional material.
Even though DesignContest only supports graphical projects, we were surprised how smooth and enjoyable freelance work on the platform is. The site maintains a perfect balance between freelancers and clients: business owners get the highest quality artwork (or a full refund should they not be satisfied with the results), while the designer community can enjoy such unique features as the option to award a prize for the second and third place designers. The website is extremely well-designed and equipped with lots of features that make using the service a true joy, like our personal favorite, the demo tour that allows even unregistered visitors to toy with projects or just to mess with the options. In conclusion, if you want a personalized logo or artwork without complications, DesignContest is definitely one of the best freelancer websites to try out.