On the surface, it’s easy to understand why design contests can seem like a good bargain for business owners. They offer a unique opportunity to receive designs from (potentially) dozens of different contestants, all motivated by a single cash prize. However, there’s a reason that ’99designs scam’ is something that people often Google before they launch a design contest. It’s not just the threat of tricks, ripoffs, or fraud involved that makes people hesitate when it comes to design contests. Many prospective clients I speak with want to know if a design contest is a good fit for their needs. Do they produce good results, or are they too good to be true?
Many people seeking design expect that for the right person, with the right expectations and skills, a design contest can work. But after I explain the pros and cons of running a design contest, the majority of people I speak with choose to go with a more traditional solution instead of a design contest.