MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino freelance graphic designer is making as much as $3,000 (around P127,000) a month from winning design contests and doing work for clients he found on the website 99designs.com.
In an interview with reporters on Monday, 99designs community director Jason Aiken said there are around 35,000 Filipino designers registered on the website, which is said to be the world's largest graphic design marketplace
Some Filipino designers have even gotten enough income from their 99designs work that they have even quit their regular jobs.
Aiken said a Filipino designer told him he quit his day job, where he earns just $300 a month, since he now earns $3,000 a month, thanks to 99designs.
"There are people who start by testing it out and then they quit their jobs to do this full time... The two people who met us yesterday, they have quit their jobs and work through 99designs exclusively," he said.
Aiken was in town to meet some of the Filipino designers in Manila and Davao City, as part of a regional design community tour. The Philippines is actually one of the top five designer communities for 99designs.
"(The Philippines) is a top 5 designer community for us. We paid around $1.5 million to them last year," he said. The website's top five designer communities also includes US, Serbia, Indonesia and Croatia.
99designs connects businesses looking for design work with more than 220,000 graphic designers from 192 countries around the world. Businesses can launch design contests to the community, buy design templates from 99designs' logo store or work 1-on-1 with individual designers.
"If you need a logo or any graphic design, you can open a project (on 99designs) and the community of designers competes to create a design for you. It allows you to get a wide range of styles so you can find the right design," Aiken said.
A graphic design marketplace
Aiken said the 99designs community is open - anyone can sign up and register. "We wanted to level the playing field. Design could be quite a hard thing to get your foot in the door in... It's a great way for beginning designer to start working on real projects with real clients and getting feedback," he said.
There are around 8,000 new projects on 99designs every month. While the biggest number of jobs on 99designs is for logos, Aiken noted that there is also a demand for designs for apps, websites and book covers.
For a freelancer who is trying to generate client leads, Aiken noted that having these opportunities to do work anytime and to do whatever interests them is "quite appealing."
Plus the pay is quite good, especially for Philippine standards. On the average, the contests on 99designs can pay anywhere from $300 (around P12,700) to as much as $1,500 (around P63,500).
"I think with the Philippines or Indonesia or Serbia, these are places where the differences in economies work out... From a designer's point of view, if I were entering a logo contest, the lowest amount I can get is $200. And $200 in a place like Jakarta or Manila is a different equation than San Francisco," he noted.
To keep up with the growth in the region, 99designs recently hired a staff of three design consultants based in the Philippines. The support staff will help ensure 24/7 customer support for the Asia-Pacific markets and will be available to help customers write design briefs and facilitate their contests.
Since its launch in 2008, 99designs has paid out more than $10 million to graphic designers in the Philippines and Indonesia, more than any other design marketplace has paid out to their entire global design community.