99designs homepage redesign contest!

Hey Designers,

How many times have you looked at the 99designs homepage and thought… “Gee – this page is gorgeous but if I were in charge I would…”

Well now you have your chance!

We are running a contest to redesign the 99designs homepage!

That right – we are putting complete creative control in your hands to help set a new mark of excellence for 99designs.com.

But that’s not all…

Submissions will be judged by 99designs staff and also a panel of DESIGN SUPERSTARS and ENTREPRENEURIAL GIANTS including:

  • Joe Gebbia, co-founder and CPO of Airbnb
  • Eric Ries, author of the bestselling book “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” and the blog “Startup Lessons Learned”
  • And our very own 99designs cofounder Mark Harbottle!

We will choose up to three winning homepage designs and award $1,000 to each winning designer. Following the contest, we will test the homepage designs using our internal testing methodologies and incorporate winning elements into the next version of the 99designs homepage!

The contest is open for new submissions until May 9th – so don’t delay!


More about our panel of expert judges:

Joe Gebbia is the Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Airbnb, where he is responsible for creating an inspiring and effortless user experience through sharp, intuitive design. Prior to Airbnb, Gebbia was a designer at Chronicle Books, co-founded a green design website, and developed several consumer products. A frequent speaker on entrepreneurial and design-related topics, he has led talks at conferences including The Next Web, SXSW, Y-Combinator, PSFK, GigaOM Green:Net and PechaKucha. Gebbia earned dual degrees in Graphic Design and Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Mark Harbottle is a serial entrepreneur who has co-founded many successful web businesses, such as SitePoint, an online publisher, software developer and community; 99designs, the world’s largest marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design services; and Flippa, the world’s largest marketplace for buying and selling websites. Harbottle has played an instrumental role in shaping the products of the companies he co-founded. He was recently named 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year by leading Australian business magazine BRW. He holds a B.S. in Computer Engineering from La Trobe University.

Eric Ries, the creator of The Lean Startup methodology, is author of the “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” which debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, and the popular entrepreneurship blog “Startup Lessons Learned.” The co-founder and former Chief Technology Officer of social gaming site IMVU, Ries was named one of the Best Young Entrepreneurs of Tech by BusinessWeek in 2007, received a prestigious TechFellow award in 2009, and served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School in 2010. Ries is currently a mentor at 500 Startups, serves on the advisory board of a number of tech startups, and has worked as a consultant to many startups, companies and venture capital firms. He received a B.S. in Computer Science from Yale University.

Jason Aiken is the Community Director of 99designs.
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  1. aimbuzz

    Wow, worth a try‼ mmm…or watching the battle only. Let the best win it.

    Reply April 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  2. Larry Marine

    Hmmm, not a UX expert among them. This should be interesting. I’m guessing it’ll look really cool, but be pretty useless. Do we get to ask questions about the intended purpose of the site and the target users?

    Reply April 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm
  3. deebong

    Amazing announcement :) I will give a try!

    Reply April 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm
  4. Mangesh

    I will definitely give it a try, it’s an amazing chance :)

    Reply April 23, 2012 at 11:39 pm
  5. zaqsyak

    can’t wait to see the new look 99designs homepage ;)

    Reply April 24, 2012 at 8:45 am
  6. c

    are these just design no coding??

    Reply April 24, 2012 at 9:08 am
    • Allison Stuart

      Just designs, we do NOT require coding. Good luck! :)

      Reply April 24, 2012 at 9:36 am
  7. +four

    Don’t ruin the website! Thanks!

    Reply April 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm
  8. Peter

    This is shameful. Design is job. Would you ask a lawyer or a dentist to work for free? We have mortgages to pay too. Stop making our profession look like a joke.

    Reply April 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm
    • Michael

      I COMPLETELY agree with you Peter. Spec work is hurting the industry. The “DESIGN SUPERSTARS and ENTREPRENEURIAL GIANTS” should be ashamed of themselves for supporting this.

      Reply April 26, 2012 at 1:28 pm
  9. Jason Aiken

    Hi Peter,

    I agree design is a job… and 99designs is one way for freelance designers to build client relationships and get more jobs.

    If it’s not for you – that’s fine… but people participate because they get value out of doing so.


    Reply April 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm
  10. Blaine Light

    If only I knew how to use PhotoShop hahaha

    Reply April 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm
  11. Chris Anderson

    Will the submitted designs be showcased, or only the 3 winning designs will be made publicly viewable at the end? Just curious…

    Reply April 25, 2012 at 8:56 am
    • Jason Aiken

      When the contest is over the designs will be revealed… and we may do a special showcase of designs that stand out beyond the three winners.


      Reply April 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm
  12. pelys

    If I enter to http://99designs.com/ the upper left button that says ”Design Contests” do not work, and it’s like this for about half a year or a year
    THIS is a major BUG, and beside this that button it’s placed wrong

    Reply April 26, 2012 at 8:41 am
    • Allison Stuart

      Ah yes, thanks pelys! I’ll make sure to send it in as a bug. We will take care of these issues with the homepage re-design. Cheers!

      Reply April 26, 2012 at 9:36 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks for the comment.

      The button actually does work.. it redirects back to 99designs.com so if you were at the logo store (http://99designs.com/logo-design/store) and clicked that button it would return you to the contest site.

      I agree though – it is misleading from a designers perspective… hopefully we will get this taken care of in the new redesign :)


      Reply April 26, 2012 at 10:46 am
  13. Jeff Caldwell

    Yes young and crappy designers, let these people leach off of you.. Pathetic.. They get paid while you do all the work. Nice.

    Reply April 26, 2012 at 12:49 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      I can see you are a true ambassador for the industry – thank you for enlightening us with your professional commentary.

      Reply April 26, 2012 at 2:34 pm
  14. Doug Bartow

    Please come to my house and cook me dinner for a month. I promise to reimburse you for the single meal I like the best. Be sure to bring some young culinary students to assist who don’t have enough real-world experience to realize how they are being taken advantage of.

    Reply April 26, 2012 at 1:22 pm
  15. Daniel

    Generally don’t post comments. Saw this on Quips and felt a duty to discuss.

    Spec vs Opportunity aside, this is little more than a new theme. Aesthetics are important but secondary to user experience. I havn’t read the breif, but it seems unlikely that you have to opportunity to rethink content strategy. Why not join Layers Magazine’s community and enter a Photoshop contest. There’s little difference.

    I can see the value in connecting green designers to clients but this system does little to teach them how to have a relationship with a client or to dig and develop a design that achieves their goals.

    Everybody’s entitled to their choices and Companies to their revenue. 99 Designs is awfully opportunistic in a less-than-karmic way.

    Reply April 26, 2012 at 5:40 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Hey Daniel,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      We’re always rethinking our content strategy and it’s very natural for us to get our own community involved in shaping the process.

      I think you underestimate what people can learn at 99designs and I KNOW you underestimate what 99designs means to designers all over the world.

      I think this recent meetup of 99designers in the Manilla speaks volumes – watch the video:


      Reply April 27, 2012 at 10:23 am
    • Eugen


      I’m a high school computer science teacher. Some of my students (14 to 18 year old) are very active participants in 99designs contests.

      One of them made about 1,500$ this month. And he is not alone.

      The simple “real” demonstration that is possible to make money by themselves, using their imagination, in their spare time, is priceless.

      They don’t have design lessons in school, they learn from each other, from the net, from everywhere. They enter the contests and they win! Someone mentioned here “29 Things That All Young Designers Need to Know” – I’m fairly sure they’re following just one or two of them.

      They will have time in college to study how to better shape their future career but for now 99designs offers them a wonderful chance to learn how to compete on this market, to see what works and what not.

      So, thank you 99designs!

      Have fun!

      (Btw, I give them an A if they make more money in a month designing than I do teaching :) )

      Reply April 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm
      • Allison Stuart

        Hi Eugen,

        That’s really awesome as it’s shows the benefits young designers can get from 99designs. Oh, and please make sure every student under 18 has their parents’ permission to use the site.

        If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Also feel free to share their usernames, so we can check them out. :)


        Reply April 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm
  16. d.r.a.w

    Time for changes :) ! let’s see the new 99 homepage. Good luck to everyone who participate,let the best Win!!!Cheers

    Reply April 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm
  17. Top Five

    Whatever you do, please FIX the voting system in Safari (iPad). It’s quite frustrating to have to go on my PC to vote on designs.

    Reply April 28, 2012 at 12:20 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Absolutely – thanks for the feedback!


      Reply April 30, 2012 at 9:25 am
  18. Sheldon

    May I ask why 99 chose to do a blind contest?

    I don’t understand why anyone chooses a blind contest, and being the people who own and run this service I thought it would be of interest to understand your reasons for the choice.

    It seems to me that a blind contest would be like having a LARGE team of designer each working in separate rooms, rather than them all working together side by side. The advantage of them working together is that more ideas, and a better quality of ideas, could be produced. Simply seeing how others work with the problem can itself spark new ideas, ideas that might not arise otherwise. Even the worst ideas can spark good ideas in other designers. I would think that it also inhibits the sense of competition, because you can’t see where other designers are at. If you could see the work being submitted it could be an incentive to step up your game. Also, other designers can’t spot plagiarized work, so a contest holder might put a lot of time and effort into a design that they can’t use.

    There are other advantages I can think of, but I can’t think of any benefits of blind contests. What are they?

    Reply April 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm
    • Allison Stuart

      Hi Sheldon,

      A lot of designers like blind contests because they don’t want to worry about designers copying or being closely inspired by their work. Designers who do their research and put a lot of time and effort into an initial concept or implementation, don’t want other designers coming in, seeing their 3 or 4 star rating and using it as their foundation for an improved design.

      As you stated, contests that are not blind are beneficial for a few reasons like finding entries with stock and can help designers see the style a CH likes. Unfortunately, some designers have a hard time differentiating what is inspiration and what is copying.

      Let me know if you have anymore questions.


      Reply May 3, 2012 at 10:11 am
  19. Sheldon


    Reply May 2, 2012 at 10:45 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Hi Sheldon,

      Did you have a specific question?

      Reply May 3, 2012 at 7:43 am
  20. Sheldon

    Lol, forget it.

    Reply May 3, 2012 at 7:50 am
    • Jason Aiken


      Sorry did not see your original question.

      All of our web contests are blind by default – which is why this contest is blind too. Ultimately – I agree with you and am not a big fan of blind contests but the designers prefer the security it provides them.


      Reply May 3, 2012 at 12:29 pm
  21. OneTen

    Hi Jason Bro..
    I heartily would like to say that 99designs rocks. It is a place where people learn and earn. 99designs treat designers so softly and so kindly.
    Hats Off to the staff of 99designs and specially to my Bro.. Jason.

    Reply May 6, 2012 at 11:31 am
    • Jason Aiken



      Reply May 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm
  22. Jonn

    Stupid. 1k for the winner? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

    Reply May 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm
  23. Yanwar Pro

    Who is the winner of the contest (redesign web 99designs)?

    Reply May 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      It is not over yet… Still working through some revisions.


      Reply May 30, 2012 at 9:06 am
  24. Daniel Mosta

    Why winner is not chosen yet since the contest is TWO months old? We can’t wait see the winners.

    Reply June 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      We are just waiting on one final response from the Judges – appreciate all your patience!


      Reply June 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm
      • Logoart99

        Hello Jason Sir please contact with me!!!

        Reply December 1, 2012 at 5:59 am
  25. Tanveer Junayed

    Maybe Judges are too busy to review?

    Reply July 2, 2012 at 10:44 am
  26. Logoart99

    Hello Jason Sir i wanna talk with you i need your help i wanna discuss some issues please contact with me!!

    Reply December 1, 2012 at 5:47 am

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