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The Top 11 platforms to hire a UI designer:

Based on the facts publicly available as of 01.01.2019

1. Toptal

Toptal is a curated freelance platform that matches the right designer with clients for their project needs. The engagements work well because Toptal has an easy starting point: Toptal vets and tests every applicant to the network, ensuring that every Toptal designer shows language mastery, a personality fit, and an elite skill set to perform exceptionally for clients of all sizes and project needs. Toptal’s customer service and highly selective candidate pool has earned it top marks. The site then provides a platform for managing your projects and payments. It’s a great option for small businesses, large enterprises, and startups alike.

Toptal

Pros

  • Toptal rigorously tests and vets every freelancer that joins its network, so you know you will be working with an experienced, talented, professional UI designer.
  • The platform provides you with a personal matching service that takes into account more than just a designer’s skillset. You will be matched with a UI designer who is a great culture fit for your team or company, so you can save time.
  • Because of the high expectations and accountability of Toptal UI designers for hire, along with Toptal’s no-risk trial, you don’t have to worry about the experience or outcomes.

Cons

  • Because Toptal has a high caliber of designers and a personalized matching service, it may be more expensive than other services to hire a UI designer.
  • If you don't have experience working with designers, or your project is a short-term commitment , it might be better to start with a cheaper option.
Visit Toptal

2. Upwork

Upwork is the most well known platform of the freelance universe. It provides the infrastructure to work with freelancers in the way that you decide works for you. You can pay hourly, hire full time, or hire on a project-basis. Upwork recently launched Upwork Pro and Upwork Enterprise, which provide a curated group of freelancers to bid on your project as well as additional project management amenities.

Upwork

Pros

  • The merger of two dominant competitors, Upwork has years of experience in providing freelance services of all types.
  • You can find a UI designer at any rate and experience level, and check out their portfolio before you hire.
  • With a structured payment system, you approve each project milestone before payment so you can ensure projects get accomplished the way you want.

Cons

  • Customer service is limited if disputes arise, so don’t expect quick, easy solutions.
  • UI designers on Upwork are located all over the world, so you will need to ensure you can communicate well with your hires.
  • It can be difficult and time consuming to sift through the UI designers for hire to determine which will be the best for your particular project.
Visit Upwork

3. 99designs

99designs uses a crowd-sourced contest format to get you the right design for you. Essentially, you can submit your proposal, and then dozens or even hundreds of designers can submit their ideas for the expression of your proposal. Select the one you like the best and then move forward with that designer. The site has different price levels which will give you access to designers at different skill levels.
99designs

Pros

  • 99designs only provides the visual design images. You can either provide designers with wireframes, or they will make assumptions about the underlying UI design.
  • If you enter a contest, you can check out dozens of ways different designers have interpreted your project before deciding the top design.
  • You can also hire a UI/UX designer directly instead of having a contest, choosing from the top designers on the site.

Cons

  • 99designs is very much focused on visual design, so there is not much incentive for designers to pay careful attention to research-based UX/UI needs.
  • Because designers have about a 1/100 chance of getting paid for any contest they enter, experienced, talented, best UX UI designers tend to source work elsewhere.
  • It is difficult to share all branding and values up front.
Visit 99designs

4. Dribbble

Dribbble is a platform created specifically for designers. Since its inception as an invitation-only community for designers, the platform has dropped the invitation requirement and has since blown up with designers of all kinds. They have also added a job board that includes freelance, part-time, and full-time positions. Dribbble encourages local meetups and online team creation.

Dribbble

Pros

  • Dribbble has a vast universe of designers of all types, so you should be able to find a designer with strong UI experience.
  • With a very intentional community atmosphere, designers and community members can draw from each other and advise others on their work.
  • With Dribbble Talent, you can receive pre-vetted UI design recommendations to access candidates ready to work with you.

Cons

  • There is no quality control on Dribbble because the work takes place separately from the platform.
  • Dribbble does not have a payment system, so you will have to work out contracts and payments separately.
  • Dribbble has become a great entry point for early-career designers, but may not be the best place if you are looking for the top UI designers.
Visit Dribbble

5. Working Not Working

Working Not Working (WNW) is a job board, or “UnJobBoard” for creatives. The platform encourages both long-term and freelance hires, and contracts with companies looking for talent. WNW likes to add a fun flair to hiring to help it feel less like a drab job board through including elements such as beer, flashy headlines, and silly callouts. They have begun to offer more curated matching services as well. In addition to job placement services, WNW also offers an online magazine celebrating design work.
Working Not Working

Pros

  • Working Not Working works to pull in strong design candidates looking for full time and long-term UI design work.
  • The platform structure allows you to see when UI designers are available for hire, so you can hire UI designers that meet your project timeline.
  • Save time with Human, WNW’s concierge service.

Cons

  • Working Not Working does not have a payment processing system or internal contract structure.
  • With a monthly membership fee, Working Not Working is focused on large companies that need frequent hires.
  • Because you would have to hire a UI designer independent of the site, there is no intermediary if things with your newbie do not work out.
Visit Working Not Working

6. Envato Studio

Envato Studio is a marketplace of services and pre-developed packages. You can explore pre-priced packages created by designers, and select the one that best fits your needs. These tend to be fairly out-of-the-box solutions that the designer can then tweak to fit your needs. Prices are low: anywhere from $10-$2000.
Envato Studio

Pros

  • Envato is extremely affordable and has options at different price levels.
  • Clearly laid out contract terms and support information provides you with quick information about what you should expect from the UI designer for hire.
  • In many ways, Envato Studio provides “one-stop shop” solutions–especially for WordPress and other web-builder platforms with UI concepts already incorporated.

Cons

  • For the most part, pre-made templates are available on Envato Studio, so you may not be able to design something extremely customized.
  • There are no quality controls in place, so it can be difficult to determine the integrity of the template or service you purchase.
  • Templates and solutions are fairly simple, limiting the UI services available.
Visit Envato Studio

7. DesignCrowd

DesignCrowd is a crowd-sourced contest format wherein designers compete for your proposal by submitting their ideas. DesignCrowd’s prices are extremely low, and like 99designs, provide more options at different price points that allow you to work with more designers at different levels of experience.
DesignCrowd

Pros

  • DesignCrowd provides you with an extremely low cost way to source a collection of ideas on the visual design of your site or mobile app.
  • DesignCrowd has a money back guarantee—so if you don’t like any solutions, you only lose the overhead fees.
  • Designs get turned around quickly and on your timeframe.

Cons

  • DesignCrowd is very much focused on visual design, so there is not much incentive for designers to pay careful attention to UX/UI needs.
  • Because the designers have about a 1/100 chance of getting paid for any contest they enter, experienced, talented UI designers tend to source work elsewhere.
  • The contest structure does not allow for clear communication up front to establish brand strategy and integrity.
Visit DesignCrowd

8. Behance

Behance is Adobe’s platform that allows users to showcase their Adobe-related work in portfolios. The platform hosts some incredible artists of all kinds; peering through the portfolios can be addicting. Hiring from the portfolio setting, though, can be tough for anyone not intimately familiar with design concepts and best practices.
Behance

Pros

  • Behance allows animated or video presentations of designer’s work, so you can explore the interface.
  • There are designers that specialize in UI design for web and mobile development.
  • Artists of all type and at all levels use Behance, so you can find the right designer.

Cons

  • If you don’t know much about design work, then trying to hire UI designers through galleries/portfolios may not yield the level of expertise you are looking for.
  • Finding the right website designer for you can be time consuming.
  • Behance can be a bit overwhelming and unfocused, with designs of all types.
Visit Behance

9. People Per Hour

PeoplePerHour, or PPH, is a freelance hiring platform that is geared towards small businesses and the European marketplace. PPH’s project management tool, Workstream, allows you to track progress online and interact closely. With “hourlies,” you can save time on the job posting, and hire someone directly for set price hourly packages. If you are planning to hire freelance UI designers, this is definitely a good option.
People Per Hour

Pros

  • You can hire a UI designer at any rate and experience level, and check out their portfolio before you hire.
  • PPH is focused on serving small businesses, so if that describes you, it’s a strong fit.
  • With Hourlies, you can select pre-priced projects, so you don’t have to work up a job description to hire a UI designer.

Cons

  • PPH is known for its lack of customer service.
  • Be wary of hidden charges.
  • UI designers on People Per Hour are located all over the world, so you will need to ensure you control for time zones in hiring or at least ensure that you can communicate effectively with your hires.
Visit People Per Hour

10. Freelancer

Freelancer's 30 million registered users have posted over 13 million projects and contests--perhaps even more by now! Freelancer is focused on the hire-er posting jobs for members to then bid on. Payment is not released until you are completely satisfied. Like 99designs and DesignCrowd, Freelancer also has an option to run contests where you select the winning design. With ten Webby awards under its belt, Freelancer is the largest freelance marketplace.
Freelancer

Pros

  • Choose between a contest, posting a job, or just finding a UI freelancer through a search.
  • Find UI designers for hire at any price point.
  • Creating milestones allows for longer more complex projects to be implemented with less risk.

Cons

  • It can be time-consuming to determine the best UI designer for your particular project.
  • Freelancer receives very low marks when it comes to customer service, and you must place money in escrow to even access dispute resolution.
  • Unfortunately there are many scams on the site, so it is important to take proper precautions when you hire a UI designer.
Visit Freelancer
honorable mention

Fiverr

Originally started as the marketplace to buy a “gig” for just $5, Fiverr continues to have a reputation for very low cost services, with a maximum custom price of $10,000. Rather than posting a job, Fiverr is geared towards getting you set up with freelancer-created packages and add-ons, although there is an option to request custom proposal for more complex “gigs.” Fiverr Pro provides access to vetted freelancers and 24/7 customer service.

Fiverr

Pros

  • Upgrading to Fiverr Pro provides access to a more select group of UI designers for hire.
  • With “gigs” posted by freelancers, you do not have to develop a job description.
  • Hire UI designers quickly by selecting pre-created packages.

Cons

  • High fees mean that the sellers earn less than their already-low prices, raising concern about quality.
  • Rather than freelancers coming to you, you have to sort through “gigs” to find one that is a good fit.
  • Fiverr is not known for top quality customer service.
Visit Fiverr
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