Understanding designer levels

At 99designs, we work hard to maintain the quality and trust of our design community. That’s why we diligently curate all of our designers based on skill level, overall quality and professionalism.

What are designer levels?

To reward designers as they build their skills, 99designs has organized every member of our design community into one of three levels, which appears as a badge on their profile.

We determine levels based on how well designers perform on the following criteria:
  • Execution of Design Principles: How well you execute typography, visual hierarchy, composition and color in your designs. This includes presenting a complete and professional profile of only your best work.
  • Conceptual Thought: How well you develop creative concepts that effectively solve a client’s business needs, avoid generic design, avoid copying other designers, and follow our stock policy.
  • Technical Skills and Deliverables: How well you organize and produce industry standard files and deliverables to clients.
  • Client Communication and Satisfaction: How professionally you communicate to clients, keep a positive responsiveness score, successfully complete handovers and projects, gain positive client reviews, grow your repeat clients, and comply with our Designer Code of Conduct.

Designer level benefits

As designers improve their skills on our site, we reward them for their hard work with additional benefits.

Contest access

Contest access is based on designer level. The higher the level, the more access designers have to higher prize packages.
 
  • Unlimited contests: Top and Mid level designers have access to unlimited contests. Entry level designers can participate in up to 10 contests per month to allow time to learn the platform and build their skills.
 

Payments & support

Higher level designers enjoy expedited responses from Designer Support, as well as faster payouts and finalist payments.

  • Prioritized support: Designer Support response time is faster depending on your level. Top Level designers will receive a response in less than 24 hours (excluding weekends).
  • Fast payout processing: Top Level designers receive expedited payouts in less than 24 hours. 
  • Top level chat: Top Level members can participate in a weekly, hour-long live chat with 99designs staff on a new theme every week.
  • Finalist payments: 15% of the total prize is split between all Gold and Platinum finalists. Contest winners with receive both a portion of that 15% and the rest of the total prize.

Additional perks

* Visible, but not featured prominently 
 
Increasing your designer level also opens the door to more designer perks:
 
  • Discover: As designers level up, they increase in visibility on Discover (which means increased client interest). Top Level designers are the most prominent, while Entry Level designers are visible but not featured.
  • Top Level Lounge: Top Level designers have access to an exclusive forum to engage with one another on a variety of topic threads.
  • Custom Services: Our Top Level designers can set up custom design packages to sell on their 99designs portfolio.
  • Top Level Opportunities: Top Level designers can help support the 99designs creative community through exclusive volunteer opportunities.
  • Beta testing: Our product team routinely gathers feedback from Top Level designers on ways to improve 99designs. This is an opportunity to see new product changes and test them before they’re shared with the rest of the designer community. 
  • Media Opportunities: Press inquiries and interviews are regularly directed towards our Top Level designers. Top Level designers are also featured more prominently on our blog and website.

How do I increase my designer level?

While we proactively review accounts daily, designers can apply for a higher level during specific application periods throughout the year.  
 
During those times, 99designs will review a designer’s work, portfolio, account history (including professionalism, disputes, suspensions, etc.) to determine which level is appropriate. Designers may not apply outside of the application periods.

Designer level applications are currently closed