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99Designs Template Contest Review - Joomla Template Crowd Sourcing

The Contest and the Winning Design

We started a design contest at 99designs in July and invited top talents world-wide to design a bonus template that further adds diversity to our portfolio. We are very positively impressed by the outcome of this contest. With a cash prize not less than $2500, this considerable sum has attracted 164 submitted entries over a period of 3 weeks. The winning design concept is now appended to JA's design library as JA Community Plus BONUS template in addition to our monthly releases. We hope you like this template.

99designs contests

After a ton of deliberation and lots of discussion, we finally are honored to announce Vladimir Mitcovschi - amongst a global pool of skilled designers - has won the valuable prize of $2500 and 1 year JA Developer Membership (equivalent to $499).

99designs contests

To everyone who participated – we are truly humbled by the ideas and contributions we received during this contest. There are really great talents out there and we would like to give credit to the all other finalists who made it really hard for our team to select only one winner. We really hope our sincere feedback can help you gaining experience and motivates you to participate in our next JA contests.

This experience gives us an opportunity to express high acknowledgement to 99designs.com support team for the great service & assistance. Also special thanks to all participants who have made this JA design contest amazingly rich in creativity. For us this contest has been a fruitful experiment: It's an highly effective approach to reach out to top quality designers from all over the world. It's the highly respected community of talents that makes 99designs so successful.

Why 99designs.com Becomes an Ideal Choice For JoomlArt?

Have you ever crowd-sourced before? At Joomlart, we have an innovative team of international designers doing great job creating high quality templates every month. However, we deem it valuable to the community to diversify our collection by adding bonus template designs by talents not belonging to the JA team. This was our main motivation to launch an open contest.

Normally, before our first contest at 99designs, we worked with different renowned outsourcing portals, but frankly: it has been quite often a real pain in the a ...

  • It's time consuming to scan hundreds of portfolios to find the right skilled candidates.
  • It's time consuming to monitor progress and following up with the contractor.
  • There is a high dispute risk in case the design turns out to be sub-par or could not match our standards, ending up losing time and money for disappointing deliverables.

That's when the brilliant concept of 99designs.com came into our mind – holding a public design contest where:

  • You get access to thousands of professional qualified designers who really deliver great stuff, if you take a look at some contests.
  • All are accustomed to design contest, ready to upload the gun & welcome all feedbacks
  • The really time saving task of the contest holder is to describe a very detailed requirement description. Then spread the word about your contest, wait till you receive entries, give sincere & timely feedback in order to get a huge number of submissions for final selection.
99designs contests

Some Great Features Of 99designs

Looking closer at how clever 99designs system works to help you to launch a high quality contest, you will understand why this site is so successful in this niche:

  • They have very clear terms of use and guidelines that both contestant and contest holder easily understand and simply follow.
  • For us, an excellent customer support has been offered, making it a pleasure to interact with their team.
  • They created a great environment where talents get honored by displaying their work and with winning contest they gain followers and trust.
  • It's a system where everyone wins; even those who don't win at one contest can learn from the feedback and gain more experience for the next contest.
  • A preferable avenue for professional designers to bid on projects in the design industry filling the gap between the on the one hand client-centric and design-centric approach on the other hand.
  • This site has created an innovative effective feedback system: The more often the contest holder gives feedback, the higher the quantity and quality of new submissions.

Why are we not hosting design contests every month or more frequently?

We really would love to as it gives lots of benefits described above. But we also have to tell you that it's not as straight forward as it may look like. It takes a lot of effort to create something really nice and useful.

99designs contests

After receiving the layered design files the developer team has to find ways how to best turn the visualized ideas in a smooth complete theme solution. Which is then much easier to adopt for live sites, where you only have to replace and fill with your own content and rest is to do minor customizations and adjustments. This time illustration is just an estimation of average time spent on producing a real versatile template that aims to be as close as possible to a turnkey solution for the end consumer.

Is it that easy?

…Beauty is only skin deep.

Beauty is only skin deep, to be honest, the layered graphics are just the beginning, and you still have to go a long way to provide a really usable template. We will share with you in another post about how we proceed to produce versatile solutions, as with JA Community Plus, but also our effort on improving the usability & flexibility of an eye-catching design. We believe it is valuable to understand the gap between a beautiful design and the finished template .

After 99designs Experience, what's next?

To sum it up, this first experience on 99designs.com is so fruitful that we plan to launch the next contest soon, to encourage new creative ideas and find another well deserved design superstar. If you are a passionate template designer we hope you will participate.

Please share your opinions in the comments below. Our questions:

  1. Do you like the new template design?
  2. Do you have experience with crowd-sourcing (99designs, crowdspring or related services), what's your favorite marketplace?
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