We’ve all heard about “crowdsourcing” – the notion that you can farm work out to a large group and cherry-pick the best results to save time and improve quality. 99Designs is one of the few sites I’ve seen that is really making this work. They’re focused on graphic design: logos, icons, and other visual work. People who need something fill out a brief about their needs, pay $39 for a listing, and specify what they’ll pay for the final product. Then designers contribute their ideas, which the potential client can rate and comment on. In the end, the deal gets done, the designer gets the money, and the client gets graphic work that strikes them as best-of-breed.
Amounts people are offering from work range from $50 to $5000 – but unless you’re a designer in desperate need of work, the payoff per hour is likely to be low simply due to the number of designers involved. For a web worker in need of a logo, though, there are bargains to be had: even $100 is enough to get some decent ideas, and $200-$300 will get you more to work with than you probably want. At those prices, it’s worth keeping this site in mind for your next product or site launch.