We’ve said it many times before, but here at 99designs there’s nothing we love more than discovering awesome friendships forged between our clients and designers.
Following a roundup we did in the past, we’ve collected another 6 stories of client-designer relationships that were first formed on 99designs. Each designer in these stories perfectly showcases the work ethics that would help their design career thrive – great communication skills, ability to take on board constructive feedback and talent.
Likewise, the customers have shown their exceptional ability to work as a team, demonstrate passion in their products and services, and provide constructive feedback. One designer put it simply: “My customer is a dream to work with!” And so they should be.
Let’s check out the client-designer stories started on 99designs.
1. Nick Fish Blues Band album cover design
When drummer Nick Fishman was looking to have the cover of his debut album designed, he went to 99designs with a pretty clear idea of what he wanted, though he was curious to see what the designers would come up with.
“My experience with 99designs was awesome. It was fun watching all the submissions come in and being able to pick. It took all the stress out of making an album cover and I saved time and money,” Nick said.
It didn’t take long before Karis (aka subsiststudios) came through with a professional, monochromatic look for the cover – blowing his competition right out of the water!
Nick was impressed: “The quality and professionalism of the designs Karis submitted, along with just the ability to [turn] the amateur photos I had [into] something awesome, were what made me decide to go with him. Karis is obviously a stone-cold pro. He was super easy to work with, understood what I was going for and knocked it out of the park. I would definitely consider working with him for a project in the future.”
2. Biscuit Life Companion logo design
Amanda Olafsson launched her personal blog Biscuit Life Companion in April 2015, which focuses on life planning and productivity geared towards dog lovers. But she really started her journey back in January when she held a contest with us to find the blog logo.
“It was really great, but also a little emotional and stressful due to all the talent!” Amanda admitted. “After I launched my contest, the designs started flowing in pretty quickly. I think it’s both a blessing and a curse for designers – they can put lots of work in and get nothing, but this platform also gives them the ability to hone their skills, the freedom to freelance, the ability to follow their dreams, and find clients around the world. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
Amanda recalled the moment when she found the eventual winner Diana, or Creative HArt.
“I felt really confident that I could trust her when after my exclamations about how much I loved the logo, she insisted I don’t make any quick decisions and wait until the end of the contest. She said that if I decided to pick her logo, it should be done after seeing all the submissions with no regrets.”
In fact, Amanda was so impressed by Diana that they kept talking after the contest had long wrapped up. In June 2015, Amanda came to visit Diana in Romania!
“We had such an amazing time together when I visited. Diana is a wonderful person who’s great to spend time with on a personal and professional level. Meeting her at the airport was more like meeting an old friend than meeting for the first time. Regardless of what I end up doing with my blog, I think one of its purposes was for me to meet a new friend.”
3. Awash Ethiopian Restaurant logo design
Awash Ethiopian Restaurant was founded in 1994 in New York by Bogalech Marrero, who strived to give her clients an authentic taste of Ethiopian cuisine and culture. Twenty-one years and three restaurants later, her daughter Milka Adera decided that the restaurant needed to become a brand. She met Sheri (Just Designs) when she launched a logo design contest.
“As soon as I saw Sheri’s work, I knew that [the] logo would come to represent Awash. Her designs are fun, simple and modern but they still communicated the ethnic vibe that we were looking for,” Milka said.
Sheri had just as many good things to say about Milka. “She has been a great pleasure to work with from the very beginning, both professionally and personally. Her brief was very well written and she gave…nice examples of Ethiopian art that enhanced her brief even more, helping me visualise what she wanted her logo to feel like.”
The equally important thing, according to Sheri, is to listen to what the client wants: “Milka asked for a modern and ethnic logo, [so I took] the time to research until I felt I was on the same wavelength as Milka. I think that by slowing myself down and researching Ethiopian art was what helped me win her vote.”
And thanks to this, the working relationship is still going strong! Sheri said: “Personally, I feel that the close working relationship that Milka and I have developed makes the nearly 3,000 miles that separate us in distance seem as if she is right next door!”
Sheri sees professionalism and kindness are two qualities that are hard to come by these days, and she thinks Milka is the rare client who exemplifies both these qualities.
Milka reciprocated the feeling: “Sheri is attentive, professional and most importantly, she listens to what I need and delivers an amazing product. She is a pleasure to work with!”
The two of them have since continued to work together on several 1-to-1 Projects.
4. Sugarlock logo and website design
Business relationships formed on-site are extra special when the people involved are from all over the globe. This next story is no exception. Mark Allen of Sugarlock who is based in the US met his trusted designer Zaid (aka ZS.99) who lives in Baghdad, Iraq.
“We are developing a consumer electronics product that includes a TV set-top box with a GUI displayed on an HDTV, and a connected mobile app,” Mark explained. “We worked with Zaid on separate projects for, one, the design of the case for the set-top box; two, the design of the mobile app, which will run in iOS and Android; and three, the design of the GUI for app displayed on HDTV.”
“All but the 3rd are currently completed, with beautiful results! The 3rd is work in progress as we speak, and I can see already that the results will be equally remarkable.”
Zaid explained that the business relationship started from a humble logo and website design contest. “Shortly after I submitted my first few designs to the contest, Mark left his first feedback. His clear and enthusiastic feedback showed he knew what he wanted from the beginning, so I did my best to work on refinements based on those feedback. I followed through with his requests for other colors, fonts, etc. I tried submitting some creative ideas and turned out he liked my design.”
“Not only has he produced beautiful work, but Zaid has been challenged to learn and grow in the process,” Mark said. “He was always clear about what he already knew, and what he still needed to learn, and worked with us to come up to speed quickly.”
And judging from Zaid’s words, it seemed Mark is equally encouraging to let him develop. “Mark is my favorite client so far. I hope every client learn from him on how to deal with designers; he is not just a favourite client, he is now a friend.”
“Overall,” Mark interjected, “we’ve built a lot of trust and friendship in working together. How remarkable that we can work together so harmoniously on opposite sites of our planet. A special thanks to 99designs for the incredible platform to make this happen!”
5. Binary Challenge app design
Yes, we always encourage designers to listen to what clients want, but other times, it is just as important to trust what the designer has to say!
Thomas Tieke of Binary Challenge is a strong advocate of this. “I came to trust Kosta fully when he responded very professionally to our questions and feedback, sometimes rejecting our ideas – for good reasons!” he said. “Instead of just providing some visuals, Kosta helped us improve the usability of our app.”
Thomas worked with Kosta (kosta-xd) on the design of the app’s first few screens in Binary Challenge’s design contest. They then used 1-to-1 Projects to work on the remaining screens’ designs and marketing material.
The client said the contest process allowed him and his team to explore a broad range of drafts, and learned a lot about an app’s user experience optimisation and functionality. Where some clients fear tight contest timeline may result in hasty decisions, Thomas thinks the contest duration helped his team avoid procrastination.
For Kosta, the working process was a little challenging: “The contest was blind, therefore I had no clue what others were doing compared to me – not even in the final round!”
But the fact that Thomas was so involved in refining the designs and provided very specific feedback certainly helped. “Basically, Thomas is a dream client – and manager – by any standards, making myself as a designer feel like I’m part of his team and having a voice that actually counts. His briefs are the the best I’ve seen so far on the platform, either through contests or 1-to-1 Projects, and everything shows he really cares about and passionately stands behind his product.”
6. Analytics software icon / button design for Gravity Investments
Sometimes when a designer makes such an impression, the client doesn’t hesitate to make them part of the team!
That’s exactly what happened to James Damschroder of Gravity Investments and designer Nishant / The Dreamer Designs. The company was looking for icon designs for a web application they were developing, so they held a contest.
“Some designers have talent. Some designers are easy to work with. Nishant has both,” James said. “By providing feedback to the contestants in our contest we could see who was really listening and who was a match to the sort of corporate identity we have. By the end of our contest we had so much natural interaction with Nishant that it already felt like he was on the team!”
So they didn’t hesitate to include him in the team bio page!
“Being featured on the team page [is definitely] a memorable moment!” Nishant said. “James is one of the finest clients I’ve ever had, very cooperative and clear with his requirements,” Nishant said. “I was able to understand his preference of colours and style. [While he] precisely knows what he wants, [he also] accepts thoughts and suggestions to get the best results. He is creative and practical, a combination that is hard to find.”
Nishant was especially touched that James and the Gravity Investments team gave him a bonus on top of his payment for the projects they worked on together. James insisted that it was to recognise the fact that Nishant didn’t hesitate to stay in the middle of the night to help the team make their deadlines and for being able to jump into projects with little or no notice.
And it clearly shows in James’ message for Nishant: “We are happy you are on the team! Looking forward to more and more successful projects together!”