99Design Account Approval

Hi, anyone know that what is the best way to submit a portfolio to 99designs so one can approve his/her account to participate in 99designs contests. I once upload my work with mockup presentations but got rejected. Any help or guidance will be highly appreciated.

The regulars in this forum are mostly professionals who know little or nothing about 99designs. You probably shouldn’t count on getting help with that here.

Design contests are the pits - you should distance yourself from them - it’s known as Spec work.


I’ve gotten into arguments with people on NoSpec (or maybe a previous iteration of it, it was a while ago.) There are instances where spec work can be more of a pitch type thing. We do it all the time. A bid asks for specific print samples on specific substrates. Or it might ask for a prelim schedule of deliverables. In fact, a large bid can take anywhere from a day to 4 days to pull together that might require a couple hundred dollars in samples and you might have 3 different people working on it. That is a lot of ‘spec’ work to do in the hopes of getting the job.

We call it “marketing” until it becomes a job. There is always a decided marketing budget so if something like that doesn’t become a job, it’s already covered by overhead.

Yeah but you’re not in a contest there’s a lot considered in a tender. Turnaround, samples, pricing, kpis, samples, deliverabilities.

Spec sites like these crowdsourcing sites, only want 100 people you submit designs then they pick which one. They dictate the price.

Tenders don’t work like that. You dictate the price.

Oh, I dunno, I’ve entered T-shirt event logo contests where the prize is fishing gear. Never win those. But once one a $500 computer hardware store gift cert for an event “contest”
That’s like I have nothing against Big Name companies that do things like the Mountain Dew can design contest. It’s all promotional, and if you read the rules you know what you are getting into.
As far as crowdsourcing sites go, as far as I’m concerned, the clients and the “designers” are a match made in heaven. Just think of all the headaches you’re avoiding by having the cheap clients go there, or if you are a printer, all the money you are making fixing that junk. I don’t even particularly care that places like Canva have a direct print option. Just means I don’t have to FWF. Go with the flow, man. LOL!

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I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with an old-fashioned contest or putting in some extra work bidding on a big job when the gamble for a payoff would be worth the effort. That’s the kind of thing that’s been standard in this business for, well, forever.

If there’s, say, one chance in five or six of landing a $5 million job by putting $10,000 into the bid, it’s worth it. On the other hand, I’d probably never recommend that a freelancer do any free (spec) work on the hopes of winning over a smalltime client.

Crowdsourcing business are very different, though. The entire business model is built around convincing people to supply free work on the off chance someone will buy it for dirt cheap. I can’t see that ever being a winning formula for anyone except the crowdsourcing company that skims a percentage off the top of the already ridiculously low payments.

Just don’t. It’s a scam. If you need extra cash, you’re better off working part-time for McDonald’s.

so what you guys recommend to work I am a graphic designer and I usually work on crowdsourcing sites but there are a lot more loopholes now on every crowdsourcing site, so how can I get into the clients to work directly.

You find/attract clients through a strategic mix of marketing communication. Some vehicles to consider include:

  • Formal networking events
  • Informal networking
  • Trade organizations, trade shows, industry events
  • Public relations
  • A branded website designed using the latest techniques for SEO
  • Third party portfolio websites
  • Social media presence to showcase your work
  • Active participation in social media groups to further raise your profile
  • Blogging on your own website, and as a guest blogger, to position yourself as the go-to expert
  • Vlogging
  • Traditional advertising (potentially including but not limited to direct mail, broadcast, and out of home)
  • Online advertising
  • Cold calling
  • Referrals
  • Public speaking

Oh, and you have to do killer work and have a great reputation.

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I have considered it.

Back in 2010, after I was downsized out of my director-level position, and had trouble getting even an interview for an entry-level design job, I worked as a taxi driver. And, thanks to my pathological attraction to the foodservice business, I also did stints as a grill cook, pizza maker, banquet captain, and line cook. Everyone is different of course, but I’m confident those were all more viable endeavors than trying to work the crowdsourced design scene.


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