Branding Can Do Anything, Says Managing Director Of 99designs

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One of the first things when actively starting your business is to come up with a logo & branding strategy. Managing Director at 99designs, Marcos Gutierrez, explains how their contest based approach enables you to find the right design & get your organisation going:

Describe 99designs for us: what do you do, how does it work?

99designs is the world’s largest on-demand design marketplace. We connect a global community of freelance graphic designers with businesses of all sizes around the world.

The client explains in a simple brief their budget and needs. The designers participate by submitting their proposals. This contests model drives creativity and choice, making collaboration very easy. We trust so much in the talent of our community that if you don’t like the designs, you get your money back.

99designs What’s your role & how did you get involved?

My name is Marcos Gutierrez and I’m the Managing Director for 99designs in Europe. Before joining 99designs I was crafting data-driven marketing for startups in a Swiss accelerator and business builder. I’m passionate about the energy of these dynamic and fast-paced companies and when they offered me the opportunity to be a part of 99designs I didn’t hesitate for one second.

You’re originally an Australian company, your European HQ is located in Berlin. Do you see mobility amongst designers increase? How would you describe the situation?

We are based in Berlin to be able to offer customer support in 6 different languages. Berlin has a vibrant startup scene and therefore gives growing businesses like us access to an incredible pool of talented international professionals.

25% percent from our designers are from Europe and the rest is scattered around the world. There’s a growing digital nomad community and graphic designers are part of it.

What do you look for in designers?

Currently we have over 1,200,000 designers on our platform and we are now vetting our community to have an even higher quality of design expertise. We continue to proactively onboard new design-category experts and specific style experts all the time. We have a team dedicated to this, who look to nurture our designers towards the Platinum category, which means they have to won at least one contest in any category on the site.

Which areas does 99designs focus on?

Everything that is graphic design! Our most popular services are logo creation and web design. We believe great graphic design should be within everyone’s reach.

With ferocious competition in the design market: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

For eight years we’ve been fighting to create a better way to get design done and make it accessible for everyone. We have stayed focused in the vertical of graphic design and that has allowed us to be the number 1 marketplace for exactly that; graphic design.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

Our success is defined by the amount of meaningful connections that we are able to make between companies and graphic designers. The more of these connections we make and the more their relationships and businesses grow.

Branding Can Do Anything, Says Managing Director Of 99designs

What role do you think design plays in terms of business development?

A critical one. Almost every first interaction that a customer has with a company is with the logo, a layout for a website or any other marketing collateral. Your chosen font, the colours and the shapes that you use give your customers a first impression of what your company is like. A strong brand builds trust.

How can you benefit startups, accelerators, incubators etc.? Why should these organizations work with you?

We believe in “sharing to multiply”. We were a startup once, and we are still passionate about the early stage of the creation of a company. One of the first steps is to create the right branding. That used to be a hard task to do. We’ve made it easier.

What’s the plan for the coming year? Where do you see 99designs going?Branding Can Do Anything, Says Managing Director Of 99designs

Strengthen our relationships with both sides of our marketplace, designers and companies, to keep on improving the way we match creativity with our fast-paced changing customer’s needs.

The second goal is to grow our market in the “Agency” segment. We have also identified that more and more, advertising, online marketing and communication agencies use our services to produce graphic design for their clients. We believe that there is an enormous opportunity for us to collaborate with agencies and together serve better the needs of millions of companies to access to great graphic design.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs for starting their business?

Invest time in the brand that you are about to build. Think ahead how you want to be perceived – don’t count on luck. We strongly believe design can do anything.



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