How does 99designs’ warning system work?

99designs’ vision is to be the world’s most-trusted platform to find and do creative work online. To achieve this, we must ensure all freelancers on our platform are delivering quality work and a great experience to our clients. We must also protect our creator community from copycats, bullying, and other unprofessional behavior.

In order for 99designs to remain competitive globally, we can only afford to work with creators we can trust to uphold our company’s reputation and quality standards. We reserve the right to demote, suspend, and/or remove any creators that are not delivering work that is up to our quality standards or are in violation of our code of conduct or terms of use at any time and without warning. 99designs wants to work with creators who learn from their mistakes and are very honest with themselves about the categories of work they can and cannot deliver.

99designs' Warning & Penalty System

For minor infractions, we use a warning system to help creators understand and learn from their mistakes. 

  • First Warning: 24-hour temporary suspension, you will be reminded of our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct.
  • Second Warning (for the same violation): Your account will be temporarily or permanently suspended, depending on the severity of the violation. Mid and Top Level designers may be demoted one designer level.
  • Second Warning (for a different violation): Your account will be temporarily or permanently suspended, depending on the severity of the violation. Mid and Top Level designers may be demoted one designer level, depending on the severity of the violation.
  • Third Warning (of any type): Your account will be suspended permanently.

More severe violations will result in immediate permanent suspension without warning. 

Behaviors to avoid on 99designs

We want you to find success and enjoy working with clients on our platform for years to come. Understanding all the rules and policies before you begin working on 99designs is critical to your success here.

Here are some of the actions and behaviors that can result in being demoted a level, suspended, or removed from 99designs:

  • Blatant stealing or copying another designer’s original concept. Our designer community deserves to be protected from having their ideas stolen. We have no patience for thieves! Copying is the quickest way to be banned from our platform, so be original. We highly recommend reading "A Graphic Designer's Guide to Copyright" published by AIGA. You can also read 99designs' Concept Originality policy here.
  • Taking payments outside of 99designs. Accepting off-site payment from a client you met on 99designs is called circumvention and is a serious violation of our Terms of Use (section 4). You can read our Circumvention Policy here
  • Submitting proprietary or copied material from any source. This could result in legal action against you, your client, and/or 99designs so we cannot afford to tolerate this behavior. This usually results in immediate account suspension.
  • Use of any 3rd-party materials or stock in a logo, illustration, icon or button. The use of 3rd-party materials or stock is not allowed in these categories. If it’s in a contest entry, you will be eliminated from the contest.
  • Undeclared stock. In categories where stock is allowed, you must declare any/all stock or 3rd-party elements.
  • An NDA Violation. When you enter a private contest, you are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) stating that you will not publicly share any details or designs from the contest. Some clients may also require an NDA for a 1-to-1 Project. Clients depend on 99designs and our designer community to protect their privacy, so this is considered a serious violation of our terms.
  • Unprofessional conduct. Any behavior that is not representative of the 99designs’ brand or in violation of our Code of Conduct can be considered unprofessional. This includes, but is not limited to:
    • rude, abusive, or harassing behavior toward clients, designers or staff
    • spamming clients with messages or entries to a contest
    • offering free work or other bribes to clients in order to win a contest
    • bullying a client into leaving a positive review
    • bullying other designers to withdraw from a contest
    • abusing the report system
    • taking payment outside of 99designs
    • misrepresenting your skills and experience on your profile
    • entering contests in which you are unable to deliver final files that meet the client’s requirements and/or 99designs’ quality standards. This is also considered misrepresentation.
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