Opportunity Photo By The Opportunity Agenda

In the month of July we had $570,000 up for grabs at 99designs.com…a 20% increase over June. We had a total of 420 projects available in the first week of July alone.  What’s this all mean?

More opportunity for the design community!

We just recently launched a new category for WordPress theme design and its off to a great start. There are already 10 cool projects listed there in just the first couple of days:

Seeking amazing Word Press theme for Kidtrition.org

WordPress Theme for Charity Shopping Site

Design a wordpress site for GetApproved.com.au

WordPress Theme for MEP Martin Ehrenhauser

g7eleven – the website

Clean, crisp theme for social media site

WordPress: “Bridalicious” of Beverly Hills!

Branding & Marketing Company Looking For A Winning Design

Emotional Eating (WordPress Theme)

Duct Tape Marketing Blog rebrand

That’s over $5,000 of available projects right there…and this is just the beginning.

So thanks for another great month and stay tuned we have a whole lot more coming your way!

Cheers,

The 99designs Team

Now Available at 99designs

Custom Designed WordPress Themes

You can now get your very own custom WordPress theme designed for you on 99designs, starting at just $369. Our community of 40,000+ designers are ready and waiting for you to launch your WordPress design project!

Once you’ve picked your winning design, you’ll still need to get that design coded up into a theme, so to make things super easy we’ve teamed up with our friends at Thinktank Media to offer the following optional services:

  • Your winning design coded for $299
  • Your winning design installed for $129

You’ll have your new theme up and running in just 5 days after choosing a winner – how easy is that?!

Designers:

This is a tremendous opportunity! Each and every day over 10,000 new WordPress blogs are created, so we expect demand to be high. Keep your eyes peeled on the WordPress theme section for new projects!

Designers, please remember, you don’t need to worry about coding and installation – that will all be handled by our professional coding partners. All you need to focus on is the design!

For WordPress theme design inspiration, we recommend you check out:

  • We Love WP – a spectacular gallery for WordPress sites and blogs
  • WPInspiration – a collection of the sexiest WordPress-powered sites on the net

Enjoy!

Cheers,
The 99designs Team

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One of the things I most enjoy is connecting with the  people who use 99designs on a regular basis and hearing all about their experiences. A while back I was able to meet up with a prolific member of our design community who resides right here in the city I call home – San Francisco, California.

Designer Profile

BrianTom

Brian Tom – San Francisco, California
99designs handle: hoshimo
Projects entered: 500+
Projects won: 74

How did you get into design?

Well I failed chemistry so I went into design. I got an Associate in Arts degree at City College of San Francisco and since then I’ve really just been looking for work and things like that. 99designs started out just as a hobby for me and it became really enjoyable so that’s how I got into it.

I randomly found 99designs online. I entered a few contests and I honestly didn’t think I would win anything. After about my 20th contest…I won and it was actually a lot of fun so I started doing more.

Tell me about your experience with the design community at 99designs so far?

ChatarooSo far it’s been great. There have been a lot of supportive designers from all over the world. They give you tips and they help you…you know…you toss back and forth design tips and feedback. It’s the feedback really that is most important to me just because I work at home as a freelance designer so I don’t have too many people around me saying “oh you know Brian… this is not so good or Brian this looks great” It helps a lot.

What have you learned as a result of participating in the 99designs community?

I focus mainly on logo designs at 99designs, so I’m learning a lot of different things about how to minimize your design yet having it speak boldly, or learning how to use typography effectively in a logo. Things like that have really helped me a lot especially when it comes to working with some of the more experienced designers on the site. One of the biggest things I’m continuing to learn is how to effectively blend the mission of a company with the style that they are looking for and coming up with a simple graphic element that tells a story that is unique. I think designers who are successful in this really pull away from the rest of the crowd.

Do you have any tips for other designers in the community?
Betaloft
From my own personal experience on 99designs I tend to design stuff before I look at the other submissions. When I do look at the submissions it can hinder or box up my creativity. It is important for designers to respect and value their own personal creativity. Then before submitting, I check out the other designs to make sure I’m not too close to anyone else’s.

Read the brief and design according to it. I’ve seen contests where it’s titled “Logo for Dog Tag Shop” and you see submissions for a pet store when in reality it’s a store for custom military-style Dog Tags. Additionally, I see a lot of generic submission that has nothing special or unique to that particular company. Reading the brief allows a design that has more depth and meaning to it.

Has using 99designs lead to additional work to help you build your business?
Oh yeah…that’s half the fun! I think at least half the design contests I win results in the contest holder coming back to me and asking about getting business cards or website graphics and things like that. ChannelIf they love the work that you do and they love your style then it makes sense that they would go back to you for additional work and even refer you to their friends. All of my closest client relationships and the bulk of my freelance work has come from the results I’ve had in past 99designs contests.

What about a tip for contest holders?
If you utilize the star ratings and give lots and lots of feedback, you will receive 10x more submissions that are closer to what you’re looking for. Write a clear brief and provide links to examples that you love to help give us a better idea on where to start. Tell us a story that is unique to your business. Don’t be afraid to eliminate designs, and probably most importantly, when choosing a design, don’t do it yourself. Get as many friends, coworkers, business partners and even close clients as you can, to help you decide and give you suggestions. Having more eyes on the project can really help identify which design resonates the best.

Here’s a video of the interview I did with Brian

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It seems that everybody is always looking for new ways to stay organized… I know I am. I have tried all sorts of task managers, but I have yet to find a system that I could really stick with. It turns out I am not alone and Michael Johnston, founder of Lystie.com, is actually doing something about it.

Lystie LogoLystie an online tool for managing lists, todos, projects and the like. As you can imagine, a lot goes in to getting a project like Lystie off the ground. That’s why Mike decided to experiment with crowdsourcing and give 99designs.com a try.

He first ran a design project to get the Lystie logo and chose the design pictured here by keegan. Mike was so impressed he decided to run a second contest for the web interface. He just wrote a great post chronicling his first steps on his blog and I was able to catch up with him to have quick conversation about his experience.  Lystie will be in beta soon and you can sign up here to get on the list.

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Twanna Hines is a sex, dating and relationships writer in New York City who earlier this year ran a logo project on FunkyBrownChick Logo by Marianaa99designs for her site FunkyBrownChick.com.

Twanna loved the fact that she was able to tap into a global talent pool and develop a relationship with a designer that she would have never been exposed to otherwise. She liked working with the designer, Marianaa, so much that in addition to the logo, Twanna contracted her to put together letterhead as well as several envelope configurations.

I was able to catch up with Twanna and ask her about her experience.

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