Having a great web design is vital to catching (and keeping) users’ attention online. But most companies don’t have the resources to hire a full in-house design team. The good news is that as demand for web designers surges, so too has the supply of online tools to help you find the right designer for your project. These ten sites will give you a major boost in the right direction when it comes to finding the right designer for your next project.
Toptal Designers launched this October. It’s a marketplace for digital designers like the rest of the sites on this lists, but it operates very differently. Toptal is a global network of freelance developers and designers, all of whom have passed a rigorous screening process including language and personality tests, portfolio reviews, live skills tests with senior Toptalers, and test projects. Only the top 3% of candidates are accepted into the network. When you come to Toptal with a project, they hand-match you with a designer who can start work immediately. If you’re looking for high quality assurance and want to hit the ground running, this is the site for you.
As an added bonus, even if you don’t hire through them, Toptal has produced great job resources like web designer guides that you can use when you hire, regardless of your level of design expertise. They’ve got hiring guides for every design role, job description templates, and sample interview questions. Check them out so you can be confident you’re asking all the right questions of your next design candidate.
Behance was founded in 2006 as a platform to showcase and discover great design work. Now part of the Adobe Talent suite, it’s grown into the world’s largest creative network with over 5 million creative professionals and more than 8 million projects posted to the site. You can follow designers, peruse its many curated galleries and collections, and of course, post your jobs. When you start liking designers and projects, Behance will instantly generate lists of similar designs so you can easily discover new candidates.
If you’ve used oDesk or Elance in the past to find freelancers, welcome back. Upwork launched in 2015 as the combination of both sites, and it now functions as a single marketplace connecting companies with over 10 million independent contractors. Upwork isn’t limited to designers alone – it’s also a marketplace for developers, writers, virtual assistants, marketing experts, and the list goes on. So if you like what you find in terms of designers, Upwork can become your one-stop shop for every contractor you need.
If you have a specific task you need accomplished like designing your logo or banner, check out 99 Designs. You fill out an online brief about what you need, decide on a payment package, and then the 99 Designs team launches your project as a design contest in its marketplace. Over a million designers from across the globe then have the opportunity to submit designs for a week. During that time, you can provide designers with as much or as little feedback as they’d like. After seven days, you pick the winner, download the design, and use it however you like. It’s a pretty neat and fun way to source the global talent pool and get fast results.
Dribbble is “show and tell for designers.” It lets designers broadcast their projects, promote themselves, and exchange ideas about what they’re working on through screenshots. When you post a job, you can search its network of designers by location, skills, and availability. It’s also just a great place to find inspiration and samples of designs you like.
Sortfolio is a 37Signals project, so if you’ve ever come across Basecamp, Campfire, or Backpack, you should know you’re in good hands. It’s a really good resource for companies that are tied to a specific budget or intent on hiring a designer in a specific geographical location because it lets you search designers by city or by pricepoint. If you’re in between projects or just browsing their featured collections for more inspiration, you can add designers whose work you like to shortlist.
Guru is a marketplace that lets you view designers’ work samples, finished projects, and read client feedback. It lets you search by rating, location, budget, and tested skills. You can also specify that you only want to see candidates with a certain number of reviews and a full portfolio. Once you’ve hired your “guru,” you can set milestones, keep track of their work, and collaborate easily all on the site’s Work Room, so it’s a great place for keeping you organized.
Carbonmade was created back in 2005 when a group of designers and developers decided to make themselves an online portfolio site. It’s now home to 875,000+ design portfolios. Carbonmade’s website layout makes it super easy to browse projects and designers by rating, skillset, and design medium.
Krop began in 2000 as a private e-mailing list of designers helping each other find compelling jobs. By 2006, it had grown from a mailing list, to an exclusive job board, to the major marketplace Krop.com is today. Krop now doubles as a job posting site and as a search tool for portfolios and résumés. Major brands such as Gucci, Forbes, and Facebook, as well as Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign have all used Krop for their design projects.
With over 4 million monthly users, Smashing Magazine is one of the most popular publications for creative professionals. Since 2008, it has also been running this job board (and featuring it on its main site). You can post jobs for both freelancers and full time candidates. Tons of big name companies like Amazon, Lonely Planet, and Tesla have turned to Smashing Jobs to find the right candidate to take their designs to the next level.