Cimpress, the Dutch parent company of Waltham, Massachusetts-based distributor Vistaprint (PPAI 565755, D4) and San Diego, California-based distributor National Pen Co. LLC (PPAI 107176, D12), has acquired 99designs, a global creative platform that brings together designers and clients to work together. 99designs, which is headquartered in Sydney, Australia, with offices in Oakland, California, and Berlin, Germany, will operate both as part of Vistaprint and as a standalone brand.

“The driving force behind Vistaprint’s future with 99designs is our passion to help small businesses,” says Robert Keane, founder and CEO of Cimpress and Vistaprint. “We know how critical great design is for entrepreneurs on their journey. 99designs and Vistaprint have shared values and vision to be a trusted partner to business owners and creators, which lay the foundation for something bigger and more valuable than either of our teams could create alone.”

The combination of 99designs’ large network of talented freelance designers and Vistaprint’s more than 20 million customers will create a global platform that will allow small businesses to access both professional design services and marketing products in one place, and will provide freelance designers on the 99designs network the opportunity to work with Vistaprint customers.

Patrick Llewellyn, 99designs’ CEO, says, “In a year when the whole world has had to work together online, 99designs’ mission of championing creativity to bring opportunities to people around the world has never been more relevant. We’ve been enabling remote creative connections for more than a decade and have seen firsthand how these fuel the success of small businesses and creators. Vistaprint’s belief and investment in both our team and technology is testament to the enormous potential in human-powered creativity, as well as the profound impact that great design has on a small business.”

Vistaprint says its customers are increasingly leveraging its design services, accessing real-time graphic layout assistance. This program has become popular with small-business owners who turn to Vistaprint’s customer service team members for tasks that range from modifying an eye-catching banner to creating basic flyers or business cards. During the pandemic, the company says customers have also flocked to its "we design it for you" offering quick and easy layout of custom face masks. With the acquisition of 99designs, Vistaprint will expand to serve additional customer design needs.

“In order to become a more complete marketing partner to our customers, we are augmenting our internal teams with 99designs’ wide-reaching community of talented freelance professional designers who are experts for more sophisticated design projects,” says Vistaprint Chief Marketing Officer Ricky Engelberg. “As businesses grow, the complexity and importance of their design needs also grow. To meet these needs as professionally and seamlessly as possible, we sought a partner that not only brings a scalable network of high-quality talent for design services, but who shares our vision for providing best-in-class solutions to business owners throughout their entrepreneurial journey.”

Llewellyn will report to Keane and will continue to lead 99designs, and its large community of freelance designers will serve customers of both 99designs and Vistaprint. Vistaprint plans for significant post-acquisition investment to expand the 99designs team and to accelerate the pace of technology and product development for a large range of freelancer-powered design services to help small businesses.