Designhill is one of the bigger design contest platforms out there. It claims to be the ‘World’s No. 1 Graphic Design Platform’. Is it really? For sure 99designs is bigger but what about the ‘better’ factor? We decided to see for ourselves and launch a logo design project on the platform. In this review, we share not only our thoughts on the logo design experience at Designhill but also an in-depth step by step guide on how to start a design contest on their website.
Designhill isn’t that old. They only started around 2014, in New Delhi, India, but grew significantly since. Except for graphic design contests, they offer a few more services such as one-to-one projects with selected designers, logo maker automatic tool and monthly design subscription. On top of that, they offer a wide range of design projects. From logo, through infographic, truck wrap, menu and signage design to billboard, calendar, mascot, tattoo and twitter header design. The choice is great. Today, however, we will focus only on a logo design contest.
Designhill in numbers:
- 10+ million designs
- 100 000+ logo designers
- 70+ designs within 7 days
Step by step guide: How to start a design contest on Designhill?
Step 1: Press ‘Get Started’
On their logo design page, find and click the ‘Get Started’ button to begin.
Step 2: Choose an industry
Designhill will ask what industry you and your brand operate in. There will be a drop-down list. If you can’t find yours, choose Other and type the name of the industry manually.
Step 3: State your budget
Here you’ll need to tell Designhill what’s your budget. The options are:
- $1 – $99
- $100 – $199
- $200 – $399
- $400 – $599
- $600 – $999
- $1000 – $1499
- $1500 – $1999
- Custom – allows you to type the amount you want.
What’s great is that Designhill has a currency converter in a left bottom corner of the screen so it helps you quickly convert the dollars into whatever currency you’re familiar with. We don’t fully understand, however, what’s the point of this question as later on you’ll be given four pricing packages to choose from anyway.
Step 4: Pick your inspiration
In this step, you have to pick five or more design styles you like and are inspired by. It will give the designers a better idea of what you’re looking for.
Step 5: Pick the colors
You have to choose a minimum of three colors you’d like to be included in your logo design. Even if you only want two colors, a variety of three will give the designers some room to play with and propose a good alternative. If you can’t decide on the colors though, you have the option of choosing ‘let designers make suggestions’ and they’ll come up with something.
On the contrary, if you’re sure which colors you want to see in your logo, you can pick ‘I want to specify custom colors to be used in my design’. It’s a good option if, for example, you already have a product in a certain color and want it to be replicated in your logo.
Step 6: Say you’re a customer
Next, you’ll see a pop-up window. It will ask you whether you’re a customer or a designer (what we think it’s a bit weird to ask at this stage of filling the briefing). You’ll also be asked to enter your email. Afterward, you’ll receive a confirmation email with an autogenerated password to your account on Designhill.
Step 7: Write a contest title
You have to give your project (contest) a title. Make sure it’s attractive enough to lure more and better designers. It could be something like ‘Logo design for ABC – suit tailor in New York’.
Step 8: Write the name
Put down the name of your company/brand. Or your own if it’s a personal branding project. It’s the name that will appear in the logo.
Step 9: Write your slogan
It doesn’t necessarily need to be a slogan. It’s simply a space to put any other text you’d like to see in your logo design. Could be ‘real estate agent’ or ‘est. 1972 or ‘let’s find you a house’ or ‘Melbourne’ whatever else. You can also leave it blank.
Step 10: Choose an industry
Again? Yes. We aren’t sure why.
Step 11: Extra info
Write down all the extra information. Describe your business, the products you sell or services you provide, company history and values, your target audience and market as well as special requirements for the designers. The more information you give, the better will be the designers’ understanding of what logo they should create.
Step 12: Upload files
Upload all relevant files. Those can be your inspirational images, mood boards, marketing guides or briefings from your company superiors, etc. You will be able to add more files later on so no need to worry if you don’t have a certain document ready in advance. You can launch your project now and add more info afterward.
Same goes for the entire brief. You have the option of editing it after the start of the project. This is something not all platforms allow. It’s certainly great but only for you as a customer. For a designer, it’s not an ideal scenario as it creates unfair competition. Imagine the following situation: One designer created your logo. Then you added more information and another designer made a lot nicer job because he or she could better understand your brand. Who has a higher chance of winning? Of course, the second designer.
Step 13: Pricing options (packages)
Designhill offers four pricing options and a lot of extra features. We will explain each of them detailly, so you’ll know what to choose for your project. We will also discuss the money-back guarantee and quality of the designs.
1.Fast Track ($199)
- Designhill says it’s ‘Quality in no time’
- 20+ designs expected
- Good designers
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Max 4 designs per designer – the limit can be increased if you give the designers a good rating
- Unlimited designers
- Duration: 4 days
- Designhill says it’s ‘Worth every penny’
- Designhill’s most popular package
- 40+ designs expected
- Great designers
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Unlimited designs and designers
- Newsletter promotion – your project will be included in a newsletter sent to the designers. It can potentially increase the number of designers participating in your project.
- Social media promotion – your project will be posted on Designhill’s social media accounts to attract more designers as well as to promote your brand.
- Designhill says it ‘Attracts top designers’
- 60+ designs expected
- Expert designers
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Also includes the newsletter and social media promotion
- Blog promotion – additionally, Designhill will promote your project on their blog.
- Designhill says ‘Work only with the best’
- 80+ designs expected
- Exceptional designers
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Also includes the newsletter, social media, and blog promotion
- Highlighted contest – on the list of all the projects, yours will be in a different color so it will stand out. More designers will notice it.
- 1 free Paid Invite – normally it costs $20 but with this package, you get one for free. You can invite a designer of your choice to participate in your contest. The $20 is an extra incentive for them to accept your invite. From what we conclude, it doesn’t guarantee that the chosen designers will take on your project so it could potentially be lost money.
Each of the packages has a nice slogan. However, don’t choose the package basing your decision on that phrase, please. Let’s evaluate the pricing options before we move forward to all the extra features and project add-ons offered by Designhill.
First of all, there are good, great, expert and exceptional designers mentioned in each package. On the website, these are the only factors listed in the packages that don’t have an ‘i’ (info) button right next to them for a description. Therefore, we have no idea really what’s the difference between expert and exceptional designers or how that’s measured. We wish there was more explanation. Quality is important to us. How can we know if ‘great’’ designers can deliver it?
The term ‘unlimited designs and designers’ means that you will get as many design revisions as you want. In order words, the way other platforms phrase it, there is an unlimited number of revisions. But after digging a bit deeper into that, we read that the designers aren’t actually obliged to submit revisions. So, it really depends on whether they want to do it or not. We recommend being nice to your designers if you want them to revise your logo design.
We chose the Executive package. The number one reason was that we wanted a high-quality logo design. The Fast Track option lasts only 4 days which we believe isn’t sufficient to gather enough great designers and for them to create a logo and revise it at least once (always expect a revision or two).
The Standard package has ‘great’ designers and is the platform’s most popular option, but it feels like the designers aren’t great enough because you have two more packages with designers presenting a higher level of skillset. The Executive’s slogan is ‘attract top designers’. So, we conclude that the top designers start from the Executive option up.
Why didn’t we choose the Premium with ‘exceptional designers’ if the quality is such an important factor for us? First of all, it costs a lot more. Second of all, we would receive at least 80 designs. That’s a lot! It’s a time-consuming job to go over all the submissions and provide each designer with feedback. The Executive also has a lot (60+) logo designs included but at least it’s a bit less. Out of the four options, Executive seems to be the best trade-off between quality and quantity.
The included newsletter, social media, and blog promotion are great to introduce your brand to the world. However, if you plan on keeping your project secret or add an NDA, these extra promotions are quite useless. And, we believe that newsletter, social media and blog promotion in the Executive package are enough. No need to pay 300 dollars more for an additional highlight of your project and a $20 worth of designer invite.
Step 14: Customize your package
After choosing the package, you can customize the project money-wise – you can type in an amount you want to pay. Since the Executive package is $699, you can enter any amount higher than that. However, since the next package costs $999, you probably wouldn’t want to exceed it. Consequently, your custom price would be somewhere between $700 and $998. Why would you do it? Some people believe that raising the budget will attract more designers. Perhaps it does but we didn’t try as we thought it’s extra money spent unnecessarily.
In the same step, you can put down how many Paid Invites you would like to send to your favorite designers. We put 0 because it’s our first Designhill project and we don’t know any designers on the platform. We wonder, however, why would someone choose to send an invite? Designhill offers one-to-one projects between client and selected designer so why not just go with that?
Step 15: Contest Options
In this step, you can decide whether you want your project to be refundable or guaranteed (non-refundable). If it’s refundable, you get your money back, of course. If it’s guaranteed, you don’t get anything back, even if you’re unhappy. Why would you want to pick a non-refundable project? According to Designhill, you can expect up to 30% more designs. That’s a big difference in the number of logos but we didn’t want to take the risk in case we were dissatisfied.
The contest options were preset on the guaranteed (non-refundable) option. If you won’t pay enough attention, you’ll easily overlook it and end up without any possibility of getting your money back.
Step 16: Design Add-ons
You can select additional products you want to be designed together with your logo. Those are:
- Envelope Design ($75.00)
- Business Card Design ($75.00)
- Twitter Header Design ($50.00)
- App Icon or button Design ($150.00)
- Letterhead Design ($75.00)
- Facebook Cover Design ($50.00)
- T-Shirt Design ($150.00)
- LinkedIn Cover Design ($50.00)
If you need any of these, go ahead and add them to your project. We didn’t need any, so we skipped this step.
Step 17: Promote Contest
You can promote your project to receive a higher number of designs. There are three ways:
- Highlight project ($30) – your project listing will be in a different color from the rest of the projects. According to Designhill, you can get 20% more designs.
- Featured project ($50) – except highlighting your listing, you can also bring it to the top of the list with the featured project option. You can get 30% more designs (according to Designhill).
- Top designers ($60) – you can get (again, according to the Designhill) 50% more quality by promoting your project among the top 100 top designers on the platform.
We didn’t pick any of these because the Executive package already includes top designers and newsletter, social media and blog promotion so we believe nothing extra is necessary.
Step 18: Contest Add-ons
Previously, we’ve discussed design add-ons. Now we’ll review contest add-ons.
- Private project ($20) – only registered users on the platform will be able to see your project.
- Voting pool (free) – this option was automatically added to the project. It’s a tool that allows you to collect votes and comments from your friends, team members, family, etc. It’s a great tool to collect lots of different opinions, especially if you’re indecisive. However, be careful who you invite for the voting. Your team knows what your business is searching for and what values it shares. Your family may know you very well as a person but their opinion on your logo design may not be very relevant or accurate.
- White label presentation ($30) – if you’re a studio, brand consultant or agency, you may want to present the design to your client as your own by using a white label presentation tool.
- NDA & search engine privacy ($50) – the designers will have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before seeing your briefing. That also means that they won’t be able to show the design in their portfolio. Moreover, your project won’t show up in any search engines. It’s a great thing for any business which wants to keep their logo design secret.
- Hidden project (free) – this was another option that was automatically added to the project. Many other platforms call hidden project a blind contest. It’s a great tool and, honestly, sort of a pre-requisite that some other platforms lack. When the contest is blind, the designers can’t see each other’s work and get inspired by one another. It certainly drives originality and creativity in design.
Out of the contest add-ons, we only picked the NDA & search engine privacy for $50. We wanted our project to be kept secret. If the hidden project add-on wasn’t free, we would buy that too.
Step 19: Project duration
- 24 hours ($50)
- 3 days ($20)
- 7 days ($10)
- 10 days (free)
We chose 10 days. Not only because it’s free but also because we believe that good design and designers require some time. That’s also one of the reasons why we didn’t like the Fast Track package.
To conclude, we selected the Executive project for $699 and one extra feature (NDA and search engine privacy) for $50. Together, that’s $749. We were happy with the overall results of the logos we received. Nevertheless, it didn’t change the fact that we thinkDesignBro has the best offer of all the platforms we tried.
Money back guarantee
The money-back guarantee, like many other refund policies out there in the world, has a fine print to it. Every design package includes a 100% guarantee. However, you will only receive your money back if you haven’t chosen a winner. If you picked a winning logo design, your refund right is gone. And, of course, same applies if you went for a non-refundable project.
There’s one more tricky aspect though. Back when you could choose if you want a refundable or guaranteed project, the refundable option says: ‘Get the design you want or get your designer budget refunded. We’ll keep any fees or upgrade costs.’ What we understand is that the $50 NDA feature is then non-refundable. So, after all, it’s not really a 100% money-back guarantee, is it?
Similarly, you will need to fill out a form, and DesignHill indicates they will want to ‘speak with you’. These practices do tend to annoy customers, as they tend to create barriers to something that should be a relatively simple process.
Also DesignHill asks for a legal document to be signed in order to process the refund. They refer to this as the “Non Use and Indemnity Certificate”
“We were unable to attain a copy of this contract but would be interested in studying it to share our advice with our readers. We suspect they may have a penalty in this contract amounting to $50,000 based on this review from Michael Talan on trustpilot”
What’s not refunded:
– ‘Guaranteed contests’
– Contests with a winner selected
– Not refunded 60 days after payment
Here’s what we liked about Designhill:
- The brief was detailed (included color selection, inspirations, the possibility to upload files, etc.).
- Possibility of launching a blind contest for no additional cost.
- There are 4 packages to choose from with many extra features to purchase.
- There’s a money-back guarantee.
- There’s a big pool of designers.
Here are some things we weren’t happy with:
- The point of some questions in the brief was unclear and confusing.
- We still don’t know what ‘good’, ‘great’, ‘expert’, and ‘exceptional’ designers are.
- The money-back guarantee is tricky.
- The unlimited designs and design revisions situation is tricky too.
- If you search for a high quality, Designhill turns out to be expensive in comparison to other platforms.
- The business model gives little motivation to the designers to deliver high-quality work.
- Legal document to be signed to get a refund.