Win a contest at 99Designs is something that every single one of the designers there wants. It’s not an easy job, after all you do have to “WOW!” your client. So what is the secret? How to win a contest at 99designs?
Let me tell you right from the start. Although, this looks like the magical trick article that will help you win a ton of money, it isn’t. This is a guide on how to do everything right so you win a contest at 99Designs.
Where do i begin?
You begin by logging in to 99designs of course. The trickery starts with you browsing contests. You will see that 99designs offers a lot of contests to choose from. Let’s get real you can’t be expert in every field, so let’s start filtering out.
This is your first stepping stone. Selecting to work only in logo design, will make all of the other contests go away and you can focus on what you do best. But notice something, on the far right of the image. Inside the drop down menu I have selected Least entries first. By having this option selected, all contest with least entries will be on top.
How is this going to help me to win a contest at 99Designs?
Well, it helps you by being first to submit. There are certain situations on 99Designs where the contest holder knows what he wants. And, if you see it first, and make a great design you are winning it. If the contest holder has some idea for a design, you still own a head start. Being first to show off your work helps a lot. By submitting a design entry first you are sure to grab a design concept and develop it based on feedback from client.
Communication with contest holder
Have a clear communication with the contest holder. Don’t go for a short message when you enter a contest. Have a good paragraph or two that explains the design you did. Explain how and why did you go with that specific color, and what do you want to show with it. Tell why did you choose that font. Explain the message behind the design itself. If you have a hidden object in the logo make sure the client knows about it. If you see that the contest holder is not responding, feel free to drop them a message. Although, you can check if the contest holder has given any feedback in the tab Your work -> Contest before sending them a message. If it’s at 0% that means that no one has received any feedback, which means contest holder probably hasn’t seen any of the designs. You don’t want to be pushy. Leave the contest holder some time to think on the design.
Think about your design
Aside from encompassing everything that the contest holder wants on the design, you also need to pay attention to details like color and typography. Current trends also play some role, though not fully. Trends come and go, but some are sticking for some time around. Make sure you go through some of the logo design trends for 2018 report by Logo Lounge. Typography is also important. Make sure your font is legible and makes the company stand out of the crowd. Just take a look at some of the famous companies and their typography choice. Sometimes less is more.
The design brief by the contest holder
Read carefully the design brief. To win a contest at 99designs one must understand what the contest holder wants. As this is a place on the web, there are clients from all around the world. That means that some of the contest might be in a different language. Don’t be afraid to go to Google Translate in order to give it a check what the client wants. What do you know, that might be the one. Some of the briefs are not well written. You can always write to the contest holder in order to have your questions answered.
Sometimes ideas won’t come to you easily. There are couple of ways to start your creative side. Whatever comes as an idea should be put in a notebook. But before i continue on this, where do you find your inspiration? Let us see.
- Google for specific type of design to get some inspiration. Sometimes just watching at those images can spawn a beautiful creation that will be timeless.
- Get yourself the Logo Lounge books. These books come out on a yearly basis and encompass some of the best logo designs today. Going through just couple of pages can get you up and running on your next design contest.
Couple of sketches to start the engine
Sketching never hurts. Sketching can even help you spawn ideas that you didn’t even consider in the first place. One idea leads to another. All you need is pen and pencil in order to kickstart yourself. Now, on 99designs there is limited amount of time, but don’t let that stop you from spending an hour sketching. Through sketching you will come up with the next design that will win a contest on 99designs. The sketch doesn’t necesarry mean that the specific idea will be put in Illustrator. It guides you through making the next great design. Just take a look at our sketches below.
Submit your entries
Once your start designing you can create couple of versions of one design with different positioning. Don’t hesitate to hit submit on all of those designs with simple explanation on them. Some designers wait to submit their entries until the contest runs thin on time. This can be a benefit as some designers might spin your idea. However, by the time they submit the client may already be into a specific idea and the design has to be extremely great and polished to enter the finals. Even if someone got 4 or 5 stars, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Contest holders want to see couple of different directions so they can pick the best one.
Mockups for proper presentation
Let’s be honest, looks sell. You can create the greatest design ever but you client can’t imagine how it will look like in real life. That’s where mockups come in handy. A mockup is a visual representation of how the design will look. Below you will find a mockup of our latest winning logo design on 99Designs. The contest holder will have a better idea of how the logo will look like if you use a mockup. You can find free ones online, or payed ones on places like GraphicRiver. Don’t hesitate to also create a black and white version of the logo and have it put on the mockup.
In case you want to reuse an old design
Not all of your designs will make it. Some of them will be declined. As per 99Designs guidelines, if you want to use that same design somewhere else or in other contest you have to withdraw your design. That’s why most of the designers withdraw their designs when they don’t get good feedback or if the design contest gets locked for a refund.
Well. This is it. Through these tips and tricks you should have a bigger chance, and aim to win a contest at 99Designs. Good luck!