One of the fastest growing methods for clients to get custom design, crowdsourcing has been met by many designers with hesitation – even contempt – but, the explosive growth of the crowdsourcing platform isn’t without good reason and great benefit to designers.

So, what is crowdsourcing?
In a nutshell, it’s asking many people to do a job and picking the one you like best. It is tapping into the creative potential of thousands, sparking a healthy competition that demands greater performance from each participant, with the result being the best possible choice from hundreds. Crowdsourcing has become wildly successful in the design industry as the world becomes more and more connected and the need for good design becomes more and more relevant.

At, clients post a brief describing their design wants and needs and tens of thousands of pre-qualified designers are presented with an opportunity to participate. At the contest’s end, a winner is selected and a monetary prize awarded.

Sounds great, if I’m a client – But how does this work for me as a designer?
Established in 2003, has always made its designers a top priority. While crowdsourcing may not be for everyone, a well-established designer with an abundance of clients and plenty of work may not find their place here. But, becoming a well-established designer with a big book of clients is often a bit of a catch-22 – clients don’t want to hire you because you don’t have a vast portfolio, you don’t have a vast portfolio because clients haven’t hired you. Enter a site where qualified designers of all walks of life are welcomed to participate, a place to build your portfolio, gain experience, push your creative limits and gain those much desired clients.

You may be wondering, if this is a contest site, how am I going to gain a client from this experience? This is where DesignContest is different from other crowdsourcing sites. A feature unique to DesignContest, One-on-One Projects allow a client to hire an individual registered designer and work exclusively with them outside the contest platform. You can negotiate pricing, timing, and other parameters of your project while still enjoying the benefits of guaranteed payment for your design, secure online interaction, and a dedicated support staff to keep things moving smoothly.

Some of the other features that make stand apart from other crowdsourcing sites include designer pre-qualification, upload limits, a dedicated moderator team, superior knowledgebase, and designer-populated forum. The forum features the latest news in design, designer opinions, tutorials, and general design chat. Often, a designer will post the project they’re working on into the forums and ask other designers for feedback – it’s a great place to get over a creative block, pick up a new idea, or read about the latest design gadgets out there.

Crowdsourcing creates competition, competition demands excellence.
We all want to be better designers. We find inspiration in the things around us and in the other designers we admire. At, it’s inspiring to see how other designers interpret a client’s request. Not only does inspiration lead to better designers, so does competition. When faced with competition, we are forced to push our limits, think more creatively, be original and unique. The more a designer is inspired and challenged, the better he becomes. But, don’t worry – while other designers may be inspired by your talent and skill, DesignContest strictly prohibits copying concepts and submitting similar designs.

So, what happens to all these great designs when there’s only one winner?
Often times, a designer will create options for their client and let them choose the one they like best. What you do with those designs that your client doesn’t choose is up to you. You may add them to your growing portfolio of work, file them away to use at a later date, or even scrap the idea completely. operates this same way – your design is your design. Only when you win a contest does your design belong to someone else.

Give a try – at the very least, you’ll expand your portfolio, push your creative limits, and win some money for your efforts. At most, the potential for reward and benefit is limitless.


This article was originally printed in Web Designer Magazine, Issue 182, April 2011.