Part of an ongoing series of reviewing sites similar to 99 designs as alternatives for your logo designs. Today I will compare 99designs vs Toptal, the pros, cons, pricing, packages and user ratings.
Read other reviews and comparisons of 99designs alternatives
I launched a crowdsourcing design contest on 99designs and love my new logo. Read my review of 99designs.com and watch the videos of the process from order to final logo files.
Overview of Toptal.com
This company’s business model promise is that they have removed the hard part of hiring logo designers online by vetting out, through a rigorous screening process, the less talented and non-professional graphic artists, then only the top 3% remain. Thus the site name toptal.com, which means Top Talent. Additionally, their workflow includes a dedicated project manager who hand selects your professional team, then manages your job to successful completion.
Just as 99designs has, they offer that you can only pay when satisfied. Their slogan is “Painless communication, Zero Risk, Superior Work”. Let’s see if this is indeed true.
- Pros of Toptal – Their concept of helping you organize the sometimes difficult process of hiring and managing online talent is positive. Also, their efforts to cull the pool of graphic designers to the best is admirable
- Cons of Toptal – However, their hard-sell tactics of site lockdown without an email subscription makes me wary. I also do not like their paltry refund policy good for only 2 weeks. Plus I could not browse designers, nor logo designs, adequately for me to decide on ordering.
- Summary – Based on my research, detailed below, I continue to highly recommend 99designs for logo design.
Graphic Design Sites Compared – 99designs vs Toptal
Money Back Guarantee – 99designs wins (60 days refund period vs 14 days)
While Toptal does offer 100% satisfaction is it ONLY offered up to 2 weeks after your project starts. That is not enough time to complete the project and evaluate your results. Compare that to 99designs 100% money back guarantee which gives you 60 days – 2 months to apply for a refund. That is zero risk. 14 days is not a risk-free offer – it seems merely like a sales technique to me.
Pricing and Packages – 99designs wins (Multiple package options starting at $299 – Toptal has no prices listed)
It was impossible to compare Toptal prices to 99designs because they do not list them and I cannot get information unless I signup with an order. I don’t know about you but I like to know the cost of services before I buy! Compared to the easy and clearly stated pricing packages at 99designs this win was a no-brainer.
UPDATE 2/28/18: Because there are no prices on the Toptal site I had to email to get this info for you. Below is the email reply I received from the Toptal help desk. The pricing structure is NOT a fixed price like 99designs but an hourly rate with various levels of engagement time periods.
You know as a budget mined entrepreneur I like a fixed price service that I can work into my lean startup budget and not be worried about cost overruns and additional bills. Also, a quick glance at their price chart below suggests that my project will cost thousands not hundreds. I think their service is good for larger, more established companies that have ongoing marketing campaigns needing graphic design.
Thanks for your inquiry about logo designs. We don’t have any logo package pricing. Instead we connect you with top talent that you pay by the hour. Usually our engagements last at least two weeks. Here are some more details.
* Engagement Types – flexible structure
– Full-time: 40+ hours per week
– Part-time: 20+ hours per week
– Hourly: Self-explanatory.
* Average Rates
– Full-time rates average $2,240 – $4,800+ per week (or Hourly at $70 – $150+ per hour)
– Rates vary primarily on the location of the designer
* “No-Risk” Trial period – per developer hired
– Varies in length up to 2 weeks, depending on the scope of your project
– Satisfaction guaranteed
– Begins after you interview and choose a designer
There is a fully-refundable $500 security deposit (prepayment to your first invoice) when we start the search for top designers for you. If you do not hire a designer or if you reject the trial period, this payment is refunded in full.
Is there anything else I can answer for you about how Toptal works?
Customer Ratings – 99designs wins (More positive review and total reviews that Toptal)
Comparing user reviews for the two online sites 99designs wins by a landslide. Over 36,634 customers posted positive reviews for a 4.8-star rating testimonial. Trust pilot reviewers rated 99designs 7.3 out of 10 with 296 reviews.
Toptal reviews look a bit fishy on Trustpilot because they show 554 reviews, double the amount of 99designs when their company is one quarter the size. It just does not make sense?
Upon closer inspection of these reviews, they look bogus, like an ad agency faked them. Because they are posted exact 48 hours apart, they are all overwhelming positive (a bit too much so), all written well with no typos (that is unrealistic) and the titles read like a press release headline. This brings me back to the negative feeling I get from this company, why are they faking reviews? Why are they hiding prices and logo design portfolios?
Site Review – 99designs wins (open browse logo designs with no email subscription)
First thing I hated about Toptal was that I could not see a single logo design without giving my name, company, phone, and email. Yikes, this is hard selling at its worst. It gave me a bad feeling. What are they hiding? Will they hound me with emails and calls by salesmen?
Only after hunting around the site did I find a small link in the footer to Logo Designers which only showed me a handful of designers with thumbnail images. Not enough for me to be satisfied they can meet my design needs for a new logo. See screenshot below comparing both sites
Compared to 99designs which are 100% transparent and open with showing thousands of logo designs by industry – even ongoing contests can be viewed. I appreciate a company who is proud of their work and do not need heavy sales tactics to make their sales quotas.
99designs designed my new logo and I love it! Read my review of 99designs.com and watch the videos of the process from order to final logo files.
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