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DesignContest Review: Is It Worth the Money? [2024 Update]

Emily Robin Emily Robin Freelance Jobs Expert

DesignContest is a great website to crowdsource a design or hire an artist. If you’re nervous about hiring online or just want to cut out the legwork, DesignContest can hook you up with a designer without any risk. Check out active artists and contests on DesignContest now, or keep reading for a comprehensive review of the site.


A Reliable Way To Hire Designers

DesignContest - designer categories
You can select from a lot of categories on DesignContest to narrow down your contest or one-on-one project.

Crowdsourcing designs is a great way to get high-quality artwork. But since there’s a few sites that host them, it can be hard to know which site to use for your project. DesignContest was one of the first websites to start the crowdsourcing trend – but how does it compare in 2024? Can you still find reliable freelancers and top-of-the line designs?

Well, lucky for you, that’s exactly what I decided to find out. In this DesignContest review, I put its features, ease-of-use, and support to the test. I discovered DesignContest is a great way to get high-quality designs through crowdsourcing or freelance hiring – but only if you have the budget for it.

DesignContest has a medium-sized hub of talented freelance designers, countless design options to choose from, and secure escrow payments. It also makes the process easy with forums, a vast knowledge base, and guided project setup.

This makes it a safe and rewarding bet. But DesignContest can be pricier than other freelance sites, with high minimum fees for its contests.

Are those higher costs worth it? Keep reading my review of DesignContest to determine whether or not its price point is worth paying, depending on your specific needs.



DesignContest’s Buyer Features Give You Plenty of Options

DesignContest has all the features you need to secure a high-quality design for your project – plus a little extra. Whether you want to hire a designer directly or select tailored artwork from a collection of submissions, you’ll be able to find professional work from talented freelancers.

There are a few ways to find the perfect artwork on DesignContest, and your money is protected until you approve the final product.

Two Ways To Hire

There are two ways to get designs on DesignContest: start a contest or hire one-on-one. You can start a project in 30+ design categories, which covers a lot of different types of artwork.

Hiring a designer directly is best if you’ve found a specific freelancer whose work you like, or if you’re turning to someone you’ve worked with before. But if you’re not sure who to hire, contests are a great way to minimize the risk involved.

DesignContest contest submissions
Contests in DesignContest can net you dozens if not hundreds of submissions to choose from, letting you shop before you buy.

Contests allow you to view hundreds of designs before selecting your favorite. That said, you need to provide a really detailed brief to make sure you get what you want. I noticed some applicants tended to “play it safe” and submit generic designs, especially if the prize reward was on the low end.

If you want something truly bold and unique, be prepared to spend more or hire one-on-one. But regardless, DesignContest’s quality is pretty reliable across the board. And you can provide feedback and request changes to the winning design.

DesignContest also rewards the 2nd and 3rd place winners, which I really like!

You can browse artists on DesignContest to get a sense of their style and skill level. Profiles tell you how many contests the artist has won, how many one-on-one jobs they’ve completed, their customer reviews, and hourly rates, plus you can see examples of their past work.

DesignContest freelancer profile
Browse freelancer portfolios and see which pieces people have liked and commented on.

Work portfolios are displayed in a clean, aesthetic layout that makes it really easy to gauge whether or not a designer will be a good fit. You can even tell how popular their pieces are, as views, likes, and comments are displayed.

If you find a portfolio you like, you can invite the artist to your contest or one-on-one project. You can also add profiles to a favorites list to keep track of them and compare your top picks.

Wide Selection of Talented Designers

DesignContest has just under 300,000 freelance artists active on the site. These numbers aren’t as big as freelance websites like Fiverr and Upwork, but every freelancer here specializes in art and design. Besides, 300,000 designers is more than enough to find something you like. You’ll get dozens to hundreds of submissions on contests, so your options never feel limited.

The sheer scope of designs you can get is pretty impressive. You have 30+ categories of designs to choose from, which cover pretty much anything you can think of. You can get branding & marketing, web design, apparel, illustrations, production and packaging, and a lot more.

DesignContest Features at a Glance

Signup fee
Transaction fee 14.9% for contests

10% for hiring a designer

Money-back guarantee* *so long as you request a refund before releasing your payment.
24/7 support *response times vary
Conflict resolution

Ease of use

DesignContest Makes Crowdsourcing a Breeze

It’s very easy to get artwork on DesignContest, both through hiring a professional freelancer and launching a crowdsourced project. Projects are laid out in an easy-to-follow manner. Just follow the prompts, fill in your details, and you’ll receive tailored designs within days.

DesignContest asks the right questions – all you have to do is provide the answers.

Guided Project Setup

Starting a contest or one-on-one project on DesignContest is made easy by a guided step-by-step process. First, you select your category (what kind of design you want). Then, you provide as much detail as possible. Pro tip: the better you describe what you want, the more likely you are to get it.

DesignContest contest details
So long as you go in knowing what you want, you can start a project on DesignContest within 10 minutes.

Once you fill out the information, your project goes up. You receive submissions pretty quickly in DesignContest, varying from a few days to a week. After that, it’s just a matter of picking the winning design.

If you don’t like any of them, all you have to do is cancel to get a full refund.

Hire Designers Directly

If you already know who you want to work with, you can directly hire freelancers for your project. DesignContest makes setting up your brief easy for you, and also makes it easy for your freelancer to understand what you want.

All you have to do is fill out the information it asks for, such as budget, deadline, and project details.

DesignContest contest details
When starting a one-on-one project on DesignContest, you can set your budget, deadline, and add an NDA for a price.

Searching for designers is a bit of a chore, as you can only filter them by country and keyword search. There aren’t any advanced filters to help narrow the search, which is a shame. DesignContest is better for drawing freelancers to you than finding them yourself.

But you can keep track of designers you like by adding them to your favorites list. I love this, as it makes it so easy to compare profiles and keep freelancers in your docket for future projects.

Manage Ongoing Projects

Provide feedback to designer submissions to steer them in the desired direction. You can rate and comment on submitted designs, even before selecting a winner. This process assists freelancers in understanding your preferences and customizing their artwork according to your specifications.

Your favorite design doesn’t have to be the final product, either. You can request a revision from the winner of your contest, as well as give feedback to direct hires. DesignContest has a lot of wiggle room for fine-tuning and getting the exact design you actually want.



Helpful Support Agents – If You Can Get a Response

DesignContest claims you can contact them “any time”, but it doesn’t really feel like a 24/7 support service. I pinged live chat with a question Wednesday afternoon, and received a response over 12 hours later at about 9:30am Thursday morning.

Whew, that was a long wait.

DesignContest one-on-one project
Waiting on DesignContest’s chat support is a drag, but you don’t have to stay online – your chat is saved and you’re alerted via email when you’ve received a response.

I found the support agent friendly and helpful once she connected with me. I wanted to know if I could get a refund after choosing a winner (spoiler alert: you can’t), and was directed to a link with the information I needed. The support agent also offered to work with me and help me with my contest, which I appreciated.

DesignContest also claims to offer 24/7 email support, but I never got a response from them. I sent a message asking if and how I could interview freelancers before hiring, and was answered with resounding silence.

It’s really bad if you can’t rely on support, especially if you have a time-sensitive conflict. I suggest only using live chat – don’t risk the spotty email support.



Good Quality at a Price

DesignContest categories and prices
Starting a project on DesignContest has a hefty minimum price, depending on the category.

While you do get high-quality artwork, DesignContest is NOT a budget option. Contests have big minimum prices – you won’t be able to get anything under $100. You also have to pay extra to add a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) contract to your project. This is often essential for businesses, so it’s not great you have to pay more for it.

You can purchase Bronze, Silver, or Gold packages to save up to 28% by bundling services. This gets you discounts on things like business cards, social media covers, and web design. Packages restrict your contests to top-level designers, so you’ll only receive submissions from the very best. Pretty rewarding – if you can afford to spend more.

Payments on DesignContest are secure and held in escrow until a winner is selected. DesignContest has a 100% money-back guarantee if you dislike the submissions you receive. So, it’s relatively risk-free.

Just keep in mind that you can’t get a refund after the prize money is released to your designer, so be sure you like the design you pick.


How does DesignContest match up to the competition?

Fiverr BusinessCompareOur Score4.9Compare
FiverrCompareOur Score4.8Compare
DesignContestCompareOur Score4.2Compare
SkillDostiCompareOur Score2.4Compare


DesignContest still holds its own as a reliable platform. It doesn’t have as many freelancers as other sites – you can find a bigger pool on 99designs. But its designers deliver high-quality work, so there’s a pretty solid chance you’ll get a good design. And if not? You won’t have to pay a cent.

Starting a contest or one-on-one project is quick and easy. You can browse in-depth freelancer profiles to get a sense of a designer’s art style and skill level. Plus, revisions help ensure you walk away with a final design you genuinely like.

Support and conflict resolution options will tell you what you need to know and help you out if need be. Just don’t expect lightning-quick responses via chat support.

DesignContest has big fees and a high upfront cost, which makes it a rocky choice for people on a budget. But if you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get eye-catching designs and build relationships with freelance designers you want to work with again.


How does DesignContest work?

DesignContest offers two options to get designs: hire one-on-one or start a contest. You pay when you’re happy with the final design. Check out DesignContest’s features to see exactly how it works from hiring to payment.

How much does DesignContest cost?

You can set your own budget on DesignContest, but each category has a pretty steep minimum cost. You also have to pay fees when you hire directly and start a contest. Refer to our summary of DesignContest’s pricing for more details.

What is the best freelance website for custom designs?

That depends on the type of design work you need and whether you want to crowdsource or hire a professional freelance designer directly. DesignContest has both of those options and will get you high-quality custom designs, but it isn’t great for those on a budget. If you want to design a website, start with our list of the 10 best website builders.
Emily Robin Emily Robin
Since her inelegant teen years, Emily Robin has been playing with tech and building gaming PCs. She enjoys slapping rigs together so much, that she still builds PCs for her friends and family. On the off chance she’s away from her desk, she roams colorful neighborhoods seeking retro print shops, used bookstores, and new restaurants. An avid animal lover, she makes it her personal goal to pet every dog along the way.
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