The votes are in and our minds were blown this year. From logos to books, packaging to products, you created some of the best designs we’ve seen yet. They were so good, we knew we had to create these awards.

We asked you to nominate your favorite designs from 2016 and then vote on the best. Now it’s our privilege to announce the winners of the first-ever 99awards!

1. Logo & Identity

Flytanium logo by ludibes

And the winner is… ludibes‘ for his pirate-themed logo for Flytanium!

The Flytanium logo came about when a client reached out via 1-to-1 Projects for a logo rebrand. The company was already known on Instagram by the #deadflysociety hashtag and had a realistic image of a dead fly for their logo that needed reworking.

I had seen a couple logos Branko had done, and loved his design sense and style.

“I had seen a couple logos Branko had done, and loved his design sense and style,” explains the owner of Flytanium, Jacob Knudson. “My experience from our first interaction until our last was great. He was more than accommodating when I asked for different concepts or changes. The end was result was a logo that we are both proud of. After a few iterations ranging from realistic to abstract, this design was chosen – and the response from followers has been great!”

We asked Ludibes how he was feeling once learning about his win. He remarked, “I was blown away and (for sure) a happy dance was included. After six years on 99designs I still vividly remember my first days: insecurities, hopes, ups and downs… But I honestly never dreamed of getting this far. I guess persistence pays off and I’m proud of this achievement, as well as grateful to all the awesome designers whom I need to thank for guidance, inspiration and support.”

2. Web & app design

2016 99awards winner
Primabase homepage by Fernandos

Fernandos won for his bold and modern take on this landing page for Italian sneaker company, Primabase. The dual colors and playful details (like the dangling shoe laces) make this site especially eye-catching – and won the hearts of our community!

“It’s like a dream. I didn’t expect it at all!” Fernandos said, when we told him he was the winner, “I didn’t even publish my designs to my online portfolio. I’m such a perfectionist that I forget about other people’s perspectives. Thank you 99designs for teaching me how to respect my own work.

“To all of you: please don’t give up on your passion. You have to work hard for it – and don’t be disappointed with your work. If you haven’t won a contest, it doesn’t mean you have bad designs. Every person has many stories of failure, myself included. Thank you!”

3. Business & Advertising

2016 99awards
Hidden Hunger Global Powerpoint by Awesome Designing

And the winner is… Awesome Designing for their compelling PowerPoint design for Hidden Hunger Global! The template was created for a great cause – providing clean water to those in need and where water is limited.

Pleased to hear about their win, Awesome Designing said, “We all know a lot of presentations out there are boring and plain. By using creativity, we were able to present the message in a way that would engage and excite the viewer. It felt awesome to receive the email saying ‘Congrats!’ I feel honored to know that my creative work has impacted people in some way and encouraged them to vote for this design.

“I started my freelance career with the help of 99designs and now my business has blossomed astronomically due to the connections and clients I have made over the years. To receive this award from 99designs—the place where it all started—is awesome.”

4. Clothing & merchandise

2016 99awards
Children’s fabric pattern by Ivona Kisić

And the winner is… Ivona Kisić for her charming seamless bear pattern. We can’t wait to see this design all over baby bibs and leggings!

Ivona is a mom herself, and often struggles to find clothes with cute patterns for her toddler boy (or unisex for that matter!). This contest was the perfect excuse to add the aesthetic she’s been looking for to the market.

“I’ve read the email three times… the news was mind blowing!” exclaimed Ivona Kisić, “Being the nominee was a privilege for me, but winning an award was really unexpected and overwhelming. It is always an invigorating feeling when you have feedback about your work and clarification that the effort you put into the project is appreciated by someone.

“I want to give a big thank you to everyone who voted and a huge hug to the 99designs team! For me, working at 99designs is like running my own studio. This is my home, now even more than before.”

5. Art & illustration

2016 99awards
Book cover by kuziola

And the winner is… kuziola for their haunting fantasy novel illustration!

Asked to describe his illustration, Kuziola explains, “The illustration is about a girl locked in a mental hospital. She suffers from sleep disorders. Every time she falls asleep, horrifying nightmares wake her up. She has hallucinations caused by the lack of sleep. Nightmares come to the real world and she can’t differentiate between reality and dreams anymore.”

So how does he feel about his big win? “There are so many great illustrators on the 99designs,” says Kuziola, “So I felt really honored and happy that my artwork was awarded. This encourages me to create more. I would like to thank the 99designs team for selecting my artwork and everyone who voted for the illustration.”

6. Packaging & label

2016 99awards
Wine label by vepar

And the winner is… vepar for their edgy take on Legs Up wine! This design was vepar’s first entry to the contest.

“The client wanted a retro design, but was also open to other suggestions,” explains vepar, when we asked them about their design. “So I made this version, which doesn’t have a typical retro layout. Rather I used an engraved type of illustration and also the grainy texture to get that vintage feeling.”

I find a great satisfaction in pushing my own limits to make the best of my abilities.
- vepar

“I want to thank 99designs and everyone who voted for me,” says vepar. “This was an unexpected recognition of my work and it gives me the strength to redouble my efforts in designing. I enjoy my work and I find a great satisfaction in pushing my own limits to make the best of my abilities. The last year working for 99designs has been a wonderful experience for me and I’m looking forward to do even more in 2016.”

7. Books & magazine

2016 99awards
Book cover by ilustreishon

And the winner is… ilustreishon for his illustrative book cover.

The book is set 150 years in the future—complete with space travel, FTL ships and planetary colonies. For this cover, ilustreishon crafted a wispy woman (evoking one of the book’s protagonists) that dissolves into outer space. The style is perfect for a sequel!

When asked about his winning book cover design ilustreishon says, “I love that design! It came out super quick. I had watched Jodorowski’s Dune and wanted to create something beautiful, uplifting and with a broader sense of humanity and us as part of the universe. The client was super easy and we connected from the get-go. It always feels nice to get some recognition based on one’s work. There is a lot of good stuff in all the categories, good designers, good illustrators. I can recognize some names, old rivalries and new friendships on the list.”

ilustreishon went on to add, “I also have some advice:

  1. If you do what you love, sometimes clients will change their minds and see the real potential of their covers. I rarely limit myself to their brief.
  2. Try not to do stuff you’d be embarrased to show. You can get the money, but your dignity and self-esteem will take a toll. Trust me.
  3. Before doing anything, drop the client a message and discuss some ideas before starting. If they don’t answer, you can tell it’s gonna be a hard ride working with them. Weed them out and know when to withdraw.

Congrats to you all. Now I want my 99designs statuette to show off to my clients!”

8. Most versatile designer

2016 99awards
Designs by Martis Lupus

And the winner is… Martis Lupus!

Martis Lupus has been an all-star on 99designs for a while now. Her whimsical style translates perfectly across packaging, book covers, logos and more.

“Yay, I won!” exclaimed Martis Lupus, “If you love what you do you can’t go wrong. Thank you!”

9. Most improved designer

2016 99awards
Designs by Ghitea

And the winner is… Ghitea_fd!

When Ghitea was asked how they were able to improve so much over the past year they remarked, “Some of the primary reasons I continued to rise on 99designs are the following: I tried to improve my skills continuously, I had more time to work as a freelance designer after I graduated, I set a goal to reach Top Level status last year and I worked constantly even when I had difficult moments.

There’s not a universal secret for how to improve yourself as a designer, but if you do what you love you’ll have a good chance at reaching your goals.
- Ghitea_fd

Overall, I’m not sure if there’s a universal secret for how to improve yourself as a designer, but if you do what you love (and if you try to improve your abilities constantly), you’ll have a good chance at reaching your goals.

“When I found out that I won, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Wow, this is really cool.” I was already happy when I was nominated for this category and to win, for me, was the cherry on top.

“I want to thank 99designs for the efforts of building such a great community, and to congratulate everyone who was nominated for the 99awards. Special thanks for those who voted for me. Thank you very much!”

Thank you

And that concludes this year’s 99awards! A big thanks to everyone that participated in this year’s 99awards. We can’t wait to do it again next year!