New Website Banner with 99 Designs

How to Procrastinate and Still Be Productive.

I’ve been stalled for a couple of months on writing the About Me page for my new website for my show Cookin’ Up Adventures. I’ve made lots of excuses about how long it should be and who my audience is, needing to find the draft I wrote in my computer. I’ve procrastinated. End of story.

An About Me page feels similar to writing a dating profile. Ugh! I want to sound clever and smart. I end up wishing I had read more fiction and after an hour of working on it, I’m cutting and pasting selected sentences from 27 other confident looking single men & women.

Then I got a bright idea, maybe if I had a website that had a cool header on it, THAT would motivate me to craft that ubiquitous About page. I know I’m still procrastinating, BUT at least I was doing something that was still moving me forward.

Enter 99 Designs.

What they are: A contest where you describe your project and designers on the site compete by giving you design samples for you to choose from. You then choose among several designers and see if they can give you what you want.

Here’s my experience.

1. I chose a design category: Logo, website, postcard, Facebook cover, postcards – you name it, they can design it for your one person show. I chose illustration graphics.

2. Then 99 Designs asks for info about the kind of graphic you’re looking for. For logos they ask about the styles you like. Are you looking for something feminine or masculine, fun or serious, upscale or casual, young or mature etc.

3. Decide on my budget: There are three levels to choose from.
Bronze is $199 and will get you up to 30 “good” designers.
Silver costs $299 and gets you up to 40 “better” designers.
Gold is $599 and will attract expert designers.
Platinum is $999 and will get you “only the best” designers plus an account manager.

I chose the Bronze package because I had a very clear idea and rough draft of what I wanted which wouldn’t demand a lot of “originality” from the designers.

4. List my requirements: Write a brief.
For the illustration I wrote a brief describing the project in as much detail as possible. Including technical needs in addition to

Here’s some info included in my brief:
Cookin’ Up Adventures is an international cooking/travel show where host Ruthy goes around the world and learns how to cook the local dishes in people’s home kitchens.

A website header. My theme recommends a header size of 1068px x 178px.

Illustration: with the world represented by iconic landmarks in the background: Empire State building, windmill, Eiffel Tower, a pyramid, Taj Mahal etc.

Host Ruthy, having adventures around the world. There could be multiple images of her doing fun things like zip lining and/or riding a camel. The main image on the left would be of her learning how to cook in front of a stove, or in a kitchen with someone from an exotic country.

The title is: Cookin’ Up Adventures
Tagline: Around the world one home kitchen at a time

Fonts I like for “Cookin’ Up Adventures”:

I also include a couple of photos of me so the illustration would resemble my face and body type.

You can also look at other client briefs for ideas on how to word yours.

5. Wait for the designers to show up.
Like on a dating site, I was afraid no one would be interested in my contest. To be honest, some of the designers weren’t that great. They looked like designs I could get on You can rate the designers 1 to 5 stars and also give them feedback to tweak the design.

After 2 days I only had about 5 designers. Someone told me more designer would be interested if I guaranteed a winner for the project – which means I’m serious about completing the project. Not just browsing for design ideas.

6. After 4 days and only 7 designers in the contest I called 99 Designs.
99 Designs has very responsive customer service. I’d usually leave a message and get a call back within an hour or less. I told them about how few designers I had and they extended the time for me to attract more designers.

If I were to do another contest, I’d browse through their designers and invite them to join my contest. I tried that, but I was already “falling in love” with one design and didn’t want to start over with a new concept.

7. After about a week I had to choose between 2 designers.
That was easy because I didn’t get more than 15 designers and eliminated most of them because either their designs were not what I was looking for, or they didn’t really make changes according to my notes or were unresponsive until the last day. The designer I chose, was making revisions for me every step of the contest.

8. Decided on a winner.
Having only two designers to choose from was easy. Mostly because the winning designer was responsive, creative and communicative and the other was creative and felt like he was too busy to really work on my illustration.

9. Time to tweak the design
After I chose the winner, I was able to give him a few more revisions to polish the design.

To see the finished product: click here:

10. Would I use them again?
Yes I would. But if you don’t have a big budget, you can always consider using

11. What would I do differently?
Next time I’d browse the site for designers I liked and invite them to enter my contest. I’d also consider getting the power pack to help get my listing at the top of the list to attract more designers – especially if I don’t have a concrete idea of what I want my image or logo to look like.

If you have any other resources for doing the graphics for your show, let me know on the FB Page.


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