The game is afoot! (a.k.a. what are points?)

“Come, Watson, come! The game is afoot.”

-Sherlock Holmes

Some of you may have noticed a new element in your profile over the past week and let me just say this – the game is on! We’ve added some great game features like points and levels to designer profiles to make being a 99designer better than ever.

You can earn points for all sorts of different things and discovering how is just part of the fun!

Don’t worry my dear Watson – It’s elementary ;)

Simply participate as you normally would by browsing contests, watching contests, submitting designs and interacting with the community and you’ll start racking up the points and leveling up in no time flat!

As you climb further up the levels you’ll increase your reputation in the community and perhaps even unlock some cool surprises too!

Have fun and please be sure to let us know what you think.


Jason Aiken is the Community Director of 99designs.
Jason Aiken
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  1. @n@nt@

    wow… nice feature…
    have to try :)

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 7:19 pm
  2. nico strike

    what surprise Jason?? I’ll waiting.. :D

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm
  3. qinkqink

    How high is the level? i mean is it like in rpg game? when you got level 99 then it’ s can’t go higher…btw its fun to have such a feature..:D

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 7:35 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      I don’t want to give it all away – just have fun with it :)


      Reply December 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm
  4. o_studio

    340 points to go to level 6! ahahaha.. who’s with me??

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm
  5. 60nine

    someone mentioned on your facebook page that he got points just for posting a comment… is this good? some guys may start spamming a lot :)

    btw it’s a cool feature, but shame that you didn’t include points for past contests :/

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      It will not get people very far in this game.


      Reply December 19, 2011 at 8:44 pm
    • Matt Mickiewicz

      To clarify – We do not give points for commenting

      Reply January 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm
  6. Agencymoonlightet

    Could someone who has entered 5,000 contests and won 6 have a higher point level than someone who has entered 50 contests and won 20?

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 8:40 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      We started everyone from zero from the point of view of the game.

      Those who are active and good designers will quickly separate themselves from the pack.


      Reply December 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm
  7. okydelarocha

    Can I redeem that point into my paypal ? LoL

    Reply December 19, 2011 at 9:21 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Not these points :)

      Reply December 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm
  8. Nathan – Sigh Design

    Good idea, this reminds me of a TED video that I recently saw about turning the workplace into a game and it seems like you have done that very well. I hope others can learn from your example.

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 12:51 am
  9. Ruud10

    Just trying to see if i’ll get points for posting this comment.

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 1:00 am
    • Blue-Lotus


      Reply January 10, 2012 at 3:23 pm
  10. Zunaid

    Hmm interesting. But how will this be beneficial i mean the points to a designer. Just curious

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 1:44 am
    • sld

      i’ll explain it to you- they made staged contests. But they don’t want designers to run away from 99designs. So they made us a little toy to play around and be distracted and forget bigger problems :D

      Reply December 20, 2011 at 2:21 am
      • Jason Aiken

        I realize you are kidding but just for the record – we have been working on the game for a while and it has nothing specifically to do with staged contests other than it being completed at around the same time.


        Reply December 20, 2011 at 5:49 am
  11. All_the_above

    Really nice, i consider this as an achievement system, like in games. Good luck everyone:)

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 2:53 am
  12. Igor Lale

    great thing :) Like hero on RPG games :DDD

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 3:32 am
  13. 6star

    I think we need more Badges here for example a badge can be appear in profile of designer who won most contest in a month and be appear for a month
    in his/her profile or maybe behind his/her name in all contests that Participate

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 3:35 am
  14. true02

    guys you’re very curious. lets just have fun and confidence into our 99team :)))

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 3:56 am
  15. Milan

    Hello Jason,

    Just a personal thought. I think the “Level” grading system is a great step. But the points should include past wins as well otherwise it will really look funny.

    Just see few examples below …

    Keegan, a Featured designer with 240 Wins reached Level 1. – 00 win/ Level 2 – 00 win/ Level 3 – 3 wins/ Level 5 – 240 wins/ Level 1 98 wins/ Level 3 – 45 wins/ Level 1

    Personally I think 99Design should add points on past wins/ participation of each designer otherwise the Level system will be funny like this.

    With Regards

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 4:39 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks for the feedback – we did certainly consider it but in the end decided to start the game at zero for everyone knowing that active designers with skill would quickly advance.

      Just give it a little time.


      Reply December 20, 2011 at 6:00 am
    • athenabelle

      keegan and lugosi, level 1, lol :D
      is there a page somewhere, where we can see the ranking?
      who is at the highest level yet?

      Reply December 20, 2011 at 6:07 am
      • Jason Aiken

        This is just phase 1 – more fun is on the way :)

        Reply December 20, 2011 at 6:21 am
      • 6star

        it would be very interesting if we be able to see the ranking

        Reply December 20, 2011 at 6:28 am
        • o_studio

          i wonder the first ranking is the first member of 99design! you should feature this designer on designer profile and ranking page! it would be interesting who’s the person is. :D :D

          Reply December 20, 2011 at 9:49 am
      • Jurgen Heiss

        Look in your notification and you will find the answer ;)

        Reply December 21, 2011 at 2:20 am
  16. dgandolfo

    It´s funny! Great Idea Jason…

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 5:05 am
  17. ngMedia

    The game stated at zero, but when did it start? The ranking that’s on my profile, is that only include the current contests I’m participating? A little explanation on how much points one can earn my participating or winning a contest will be helpful. I’m kinda confused!

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 6:45 am
  18. victor

    Hi Jason,
    Would that be possible to call the game “Community Level” or something and make much less important on the profile page ?
    Seems the points/levels have nothing to do with designers skills and may confuse contest holders way too much in my humble opinion.

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 7:51 am
  19. MystiqueMatrix (Arpan Chhetri)

    Jason I’m enjoying this :P

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 8:17 am
  20. Roni

    what kind of surprise, I am wondering? :)and I sure enjoy this game ..:))

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 9:04 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Surprises are not surprises if you know what they are… :)

      Reply December 20, 2011 at 9:21 am
      • bigvee

        agreed Jason! really waiting for the surprise!!!

        Reply December 20, 2011 at 10:29 am
      • erraticus

        Do you have a surprise for the first who gained the 10th level? ))

        Reply December 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Now this is cool …. though i got only 20 points… :D

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 11:04 am
  22. Didem

    THe points you get are in the notifications.
    It says the every point you get.

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 11:12 am
    • ngMedia

      Hey! Thanks for pointing that out. Appreciate it.

      Reply December 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm
  23. Terry Bogard

    Is this call of duty??? Level up and then
    Jokes apart! Its a very nice feature to motivate all the new designers on the site and obviously for 99design’s clients (Contest holders) as they will get swamped by activity. I think creatives who have been around for a while are not the target audience for this game… coz for them it is like being undervalued.
    Mr X Entered 1000 contest, won 100 Level 2 VS Mr Y Entered 30 contest won 2 Level 6. I think its good for game-fun n all…but not fair if it has anything to do with the reputation or exposure of a creative. I dont think it should have anything to do with reputation of a creative or someone being overfeatured merely because of the fact that they are active. 99d always comes up with a good piece of cake for everyone and I am sure that they will also come up with something that appreciates all the time that older designers have spent on 99d…all the way from sitepoint even :).

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 11:53 am
    • Jurgen Heiss

      :) pretty well explained nothing to tell else, Terry

      Reply December 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks Terry – we think it will be a lot of fun.

      Also in regards to our decision to start the game at zero for everyone… I want to make it clear that we thought about it long and hard and weighed the decision carefully. In the end, we felt starting from scratch was the best course for three main reasons:

      1. It allows everyone to play. If the long time designers started with too much of their history being accounted for it would deprive them of too much of the game.

      2. Any designer who is active on the site and skilled will quickly gain points, levels and status.

      3. Even if you have been around for a long time and are not as active as you once were… you would still have your history of wins… which is a pretty powerful indicator of status in it’s own right ;)


      Reply December 20, 2011 at 1:47 pm
      • Jurgen Heiss

        Hi Jason, I think Terry also means more the fact that not only skilled users will grow quickly. The fact that you get points if a CH rates doesn’t show off your skills? Also whats when you get awarded directly in first stage? Like this you get just the points for win but not the points for rating and for entering 2nd stage for example. I mean its easy to balance non winning with a lot of entries ;) Which can end in the fact that also after 2 years same great designer may stay low level against user which almost never wins? Why you get points for rating? doesn’t doesn’t show that you are a good designer (some CH rates some not) nor it show your standing in the community? Entering next stage, hmm this depense on the tpye of contest I believe in Logo design its a harder fight in Print design the CH even don’t have 6 designers to choose from. Finally the idea of level isn’t bad but I think many want the option to hide the level such as its possible with the prize a designer won already. Also a statistic will come but again this will shows nothing just confuse the CH. Why not statistic from winnings, ratio, statistic per Type of contests? I think Levels are a nice FUN game and I like it but till now many designers don’t want it to stays on the front of them ;) But thats just my humple opinion.

        Reply December 21, 2011 at 1:41 am
        • Jason Aiken

          Skilled designers will advance much further and much faster than less skilled designers.

          We did think this through… :)

          I do understand the concerns in the face of something new… All I am saying is relax, have fun with it and give it some time to play out before making any decisions.


          Reply December 21, 2011 at 7:56 am
  24. electr0nika

    a game you say “))

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm
  25. the_studio

    How about making a game where the one who finds 10 copycats gets 100$. That’s a fun way to handle some trouble around here, not adding Level, which can create confusions between designers and CH’s. Also a game where some REAL designers would help CH’s to choose good designs instead of illustrations as logos, would be nice.
    And all the other games that i can came with…

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm
    • ckatakc

      I really think that is a very good idea !!!
      99 should consider this.

      Reply December 23, 2011 at 4:19 am
  26. Deshpande

    Nice idea of starting from zero. Six months down the line good active designers with high winning rate will reach higher. Its just in the short term the ranking looks funny. I have made some other suggestions through Kaitlyn99, please consider them as well.

    Reply December 20, 2011 at 7:22 pm
  27. duskpro79

    Wow! it makes me even more excited!

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 12:57 am
  28. jFog

    Is there a chance to see a track record ‘ when’ and ‘why’ we earn points? because I’ve seen how I won the last 5, but the rest?

    10x in advance.

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 2:12 am
  29. Jiten

    You know i suggested about point system 3 months ago.
    But still i’m on 1 level :(

    Thnx :(

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 9:57 am
  30. John_L

    Wow! I just logged in back from a 2 week vacation and a lot of things have changed :) Currently @ level 3!

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 2:16 pm
  31. Devi Jaya DeLavie

    So 1500 contests entered and two dozen wins equals level three, but 86 contests entered and one win is level FIVE…. this seems a bit arbitrary Jason….:(

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm
    • Jason Aiken


      I know you are active on the site and have contributed much throughout the years.

      You are valued greatly in the community!

      I just want to make sure you saw my detailed explanation on how we arrived at the decision to start the game at zero.

      Happy to chat with you further about it – please feel free to contact me.


      Reply December 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm
  32. Devi Jaya DeLavie

    After all these years of being part of the 99% of designers that supports the 1% of management, and having all my past work ignored, I’m loosing that warm fuzzy feeling…

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm
  33. Janis Aydelette

    I’m loving it!

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm
  34. Clouds

    How do you add points to a designer’s profile i mean on which basis? what is the criteria? for every contest i watch, for every contest i enter?
    I watch 5 contests, but when i clicked on one particular contest it said you have got 5 points. why not for remaining 4?

    Reply December 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm
  35. speed margo

    I’m 580 point level 5 and never win a contest hahaha …

    Reply December 22, 2011 at 2:34 am
  36. caty

    Good Idea!!

    Reply December 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm
  37. randolph

    i think this is really great..cant wait for the prizes…hehehe

    Reply December 23, 2011 at 4:44 am

    Points System is fine, the new type of Contest is fantastic … but all this would work really well if you truly protect designers. Protect them from the numerous copies that many outsiders have to contest, copies of the design of another contestant, costest holders leaving the contest at the middle … or at the end, contests that are not paid … too easy for them and very little commitment and professional ethics … This ultimately leads to hard work, effort and enthusiasm thrown away even though many points that you give us. It’s what I think ;)
    I wish you happy holidays and the best of artistic inspiration! Cheers!

    Reply December 23, 2011 at 6:14 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks for the comment and glad you like the new system.

      I assure you protecting designers and their work is one of our primary goals… I wish I could say it is easy.

      All businesses, online and offline, experience security issues… and each online and offline have their own particular challenges and advantages (pros and cons). It is all just part of the overall cost of doing business.

      We will continue to make 99designs a safe, profitable and fun place to do business.


      Reply January 5, 2012 at 11:11 am
  39. Progressive

    Happy holidays 99design community.

    Reply December 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm
  40. G)

    very nice . . . :)

    Reply December 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm
  41. Devi Jaya DeLavie

    speed margo… yeah I noticed.

    Reply December 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm
  42. buddy79

    I think that’level’word is not appropriate for this. That ‘level’ can make confusions between designers and CH’s,because some people thought ‘level = quality’!

    Reply December 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm
  43. Sue

    I think it’s terrible.

    Reply December 26, 2011 at 5:19 pm
  44. Stefan

    Very nice feature.

    Reply December 27, 2011 at 3:41 am
  45. cahl

    I was a fan of this new feature at first, but the more I learn, the less I like it. I tried submitting questions to 99Designs Support for clarification, but they are not giving up any details. The first time I was shortlisted under the new system it was worth 100 points. The second time, zero points. I don’t mind not knowing all off the details, but its seeming pretty arbitrary. Maybe it will still get better…

    Reply December 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm
  46. Ardiebela

    hello, Jason

    I asked, at a minimum level of what the designers can be rewarded?

    thank you

    Reply December 28, 2011 at 2:41 am
  47. januarnadia

    That’s interested.

    Reply December 29, 2011 at 5:16 am
  48. SiMay

    Hi Jason,
    You say good designers/designs get rewarded. How does that work? How is quality decided? Is it based on wins, on the number of stars awarded by competition holders or is someone actually doing real quality control (unlikely, I know)?

    Reply January 2, 2012 at 6:19 am
  49. Mark

    Guys don’t make the fatal mistake of compramising quality for quantity…unlike other sites 99d is what it is because of the creative quality found in alot of it’s members…..why their merits & status should now be gauged by how often they go round the site clicking the ‘watch button’, submitting rubbish & annoying CH’s with petty irrelevant comments just to gain a point here & there is beyond me…would make more sense if these time wasters were penalized instead of being encouraged.
    I’m not saying it’s a bad idea but in this case the word ‘level’could be misleading to CH’s, why not call it ‘site activity level’or on those lines …Keep it simple & focus your energies on keeping the quality that has set 99d apart from other sites,…Creativity is not a game.
    Cheers :)

    Reply January 3, 2012 at 10:50 am
  50. Devi Jaya DeLavie

    MARK.. THUMBS UP!!!!

    Reply January 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm
  51. Marko

    Very nice feature. This community doesn’t stop to amaze me :)

    Reply January 5, 2012 at 11:40 am
  52. agencymoonlighter

    Hi Jason,

    You didn’t answer my yes or no question, it was:

    Could someone who has entered 5,000 contests and won 6 have a higher point level vs. someone who has entered 50 contests and won 20?


    Reply January 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      With everyone starting at ZERO – yes it is possible as it would completely depend on the activity of each designer from the start of the game.

      However, assuming that the designer who entered 50 and won 20 was still active – they would quickly attain a higher level than the other designer.


      Reply January 9, 2012 at 10:47 am
      • ajunseemoonlyter


        Reply January 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm
  53. suseno

    cool! I wait for the surprise :D

    Reply January 10, 2012 at 12:44 am

    A very nice idea Mr. Jason.
    I like it very much. Only wondering what the surprises will be.

    Thanks & regards

    Reply January 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm
  55. Devi Jaya DeLavie

    OCCUPY 99DESIGNS!!!! We the designers are the 99% that feed and support the 1% that is the corporation of 99designs. NOW we are offered a carrot to get more free work from us with the hopes of tables scraps for someone.

    It was fun, but I’m out of here…. good luck all

    Reply January 15, 2012 at 9:32 am
  56. +design

    who is the highest level?

    Reply January 20, 2012 at 8:37 am
  57. ryanm

    I like it. Just a thought even though you didnt won and your level increases, what good thus it bring?


    Reply January 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm
  58. julray

    Very nice feature!

    Reply February 6, 2012 at 5:26 am
  59. Commencal

    I’m all for 99D’s efforts to make our work here fun and rewarding, however, I’d have to admit that I can’t disagree with the past comments regarding “quality vs quantity”. Upon joining 99D last year, I thought maintaining a “low win-per-contests-entered” ratio would somehow be more illustrative of the designers’ skills. And it’s for that reason that I meticulously sift through all the briefs and choose to join only the contests I truly like and whose artwork need I can effectively create (against slapping mediocre entries almost everywhere tp rack up points). Hmmm…I’m sure the site has grand plans for implementing this feature but (in my case) this level system makes me sometimes want to skip the research and sketch phase just so I won’t be left behind on points.

    By the way, how come a 4-star rating gets +50 but 5 stars in the same contest get you zip? Should be on a different level now had the higher stars have been given points…now I’m stuck at level 6. :( hahaha.

    Reply February 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Don’t worry – the quality of your work is the ultimate measure.


      Reply February 10, 2012 at 7:37 pm
  60. jaselowe

    @Commencal et al – I suggest people just get on with their work in the same way they always did and almost ignore this system. I cannot imagine the benefits of this points system will ever outweigh actually winning contests – financially speaking that is.

    I would love to be proved wrong of course but even then, 99d are hardly going to throw around enough cash to enough people to make you want to focus solely on boosting your level… there are far too many users for average joe to rank highly.

    Do your best for the briefs that motivate you and that will be far more rewarding – after all it’s why you joined right? Go download a computer game if it’s your e-peen you care about!

    Reply February 11, 2012 at 4:26 pm
  61. Sue

    I think it is shamed based and rather humiliating. : ( Makes me feel crappy.

    Reply February 24, 2012 at 9:52 am
  62. Devi Jaya DeLavie

    OCCUPY 99DESIGNS!!!! We the designers are the 99% that feed and support the 1% that is the corporation of 99designs. NOW we are offered a carrot to get more free work from us with the hopes of tables scraps for someone.
    It was fun, but I’m out of here…. good luck all

    Reply February 24, 2012 at 10:16 am
  63. ufo

    So Finally I see the ranking method…
    But I’m still a naif about this question
    but I have a question about the forum….
    When I submit my design I also have to asking for a ranking star?

    Reply March 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm
  64. Mithum

    How long we have to wait for the Surprises :)

    Reply March 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm
  65. fatboyjim

    3 months of rankings, level 10 achieved yet no surprises??

    Reply March 21, 2012 at 5:16 am
  66. Alex

    Hmm, I’m level 11 now and no surprise along the way. :/

    Reply March 24, 2012 at 7:03 am
    • Devi Jaya DeLavie

      That’s the surprise.. THERE IS NO SURPRISE!!!

      Reply March 24, 2012 at 8:06 am
    • D

      Take it as a cake that awaits you at the end of the game :)

      Reply July 11, 2012 at 1:04 am
  67. D

    I never got reported but if someone does – loses points? (out of curiosity)

    Reply July 11, 2012 at 1:02 am
    • Jason Aiken

      We do not have negative points right now – perhaps in the future.

      The points and leveling is still being worked on heavily.


      Reply July 11, 2012 at 9:17 am
  68. ahsin saefi

    how to add points

    Reply September 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm
  69. cbkyro

    Point is great but I am dying to hit this last 200 pts for gold member. Problem is I cannot seem to earn more and I am on the site 6+ hours of the day!

    Reply November 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm
  70. Angelo

    This feature is cool and fun. Makes me enjoy doing work seeing myself level up bit by bit. Anyway I just joined 11 months ago and now i’m level 6. lol XD

    Reply February 21, 2013 at 8:03 pm

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