Today, if you’re looking for a graphic designer…beware!
The field is highly saturated and there is no shortage of options… but finding the one that best suits you can be tricky.
The designer you end up selecting should ultimately depend on the difficulty of your design and your branding goals.
If you are looking for a high-quality design and a long-term relationship with a designer, you may want to pay big bucks and opt for a well-established graphic design firm. If on the other hand, you need a one-off job, such as a personal logo for an online portfolio or CV, then you might want to try to put something together yourself by using a free graphic design software.
This article will give you a comprehensive overview of graphic design companies who offer help to companies whose graphic design needs range from long term and short term tasks and relationships. Each of these companies offers excellent graphic design services at a reasonable price.
So…let’s get started.
99designs is a unique company that offers affordable graphic design services.
What do they cover?
They help you with almost everything…including designs for:
- Book Covers
- And… more
- And… even a design package for a combination of the above services
So, how does it work?
- First, you fill out some basic information telling the design community at 99designs details about your business and what you wish to get designed.A logo, for example, requires your business name, what you do, your ideas for design, and more.The more details you give them, the higher your chances are of getting your design right the first time.
- Next, 99designs will present you with a list of designs for the logo.
- From the list of designs, you can select which ones you like best to give designers a better idea of what style you have in mind
- After you have finished filling out your information and selecting styles, you will pick a design package. 99designs offers 4 packages with varying pricing:
- Bronze – For $299, you get the creative design on a budget. This includes 30 logos to choose from, help from good designers, and a money back guarantee.
- Silver – For $499, you are getting the most bang for your buck. This package includes 60 designs from the best designers, a money back guarantee, and a larger designer prize.
- Gold – For $799, you can attract expert designers. This package includes 90 designs from expert designers, a money back guarantees, a larger designer prize, and prioritized support from the 99designs team.
- Platinum – For $1,299, you can rest assured you will only work with the best designers. This package includes 60 premium designs, everything the Gold package includes, a dedicated manager, and handpicked designs.
As you can see, there are several options at 99designs to fit your design and branding needs.
- Once you have selected your package, you launch your contest to allow designers to see what you want and attempt to make your vision come true.When you launch your contest, 99designs will send your design to their community of designers.
- Various designers will send you a spec and you get to select the designs you like best, and offer feedback.
- Finally, when someone perfects your vision, you will select that design and your task is complete.
99designs uses a crowdsourcing model to make sure you get a wide scope of variety from creative professionals around the globe.
What makes this company great is that once you have found a designer you like, you can keep working with them through the “Projects” section of 99designs. This makes the search for the perfect graphic designer again, a bit easier. If they truly understand your vision and your brand, you can skip most of the earlier steps and continue to work with them in future projects.
Time is money and talent can be hard to find. 99designs is especially great for building long-term relationships with graphic designers.
DesignCrowd is another great resource if you are interested in crowdsourcing your design efforts and getting lots of ideas with little risk.
DesignCrowd allows you to create a free account as soon as you land on their website
What do they cover?
DesignCrowd can be used for:
- Business cards
- And 40+ more design categories
How does it work?
DesignCrowd works much like 99designs.
- Once you login to your account, you create a creative brief where you leave detailed instructions for your project.This only takes a few minutes and you set the budget for your project.
- Then, more than 550,000 designers from around the world will read your brief and start working on your project.The average project at DesignCrowd usually gets 100 responses, and you can expect your first designs to start coming in within 3 hours.
- Next, you can share the designs you like with friends and colleagues and ask for their feedback, eliminate designs you don’t like, and request changes from designers who almost hit the mark.
- Once you select the design you like, you will receive all necessary files and copyright information needed to make the design yours, and DesignCrowd will send payment to the designer you selected.
- If you don’t like any of the designs, there is no need to worry. DesignCrowd offers a full refund if you don’t end up selecting a design. It’s literally risk-free.
DesignCrowd is a great way to get a top-quality design, set your own budget, and only select a design if it truly speaks to you.
The main difference between DesignCrowd and 99designs is pricing. With 99designs, pricing is pre-determined. With DesignCrowd, you set your own budget for a project.
CrowdSpring is yet another crowdsourced design firm with some interesting differentiators from 99designs and DesignCrowd.
CrowdSpring is a great option if you have very detailed guidelines about how much you can spend and when you need your project completed.
What do they cover?
CrowdSpring offers help within 44 creative categories.
These categories include anything from design and writing.
This is awesome because often design and copywriting go hand-in-hand.
With CrowdSpring, you can make sure that you are addressing your design and copywriting needs simultaneously.
One popular category that entrepreneurs and small businesses may find really helpful with CrowdSpring is the Company and Product Naming. In addition to that, they have massive focus on Intellectual Property protection which is a really big plus.
How does it work?
At CrowdSpring, you will:
- Choose among the 44 creative categories,
- Select your budget
- Create a deadline
- After you have set the parameters of your project, you can either crowdsource your project to several talented writers and designersOR you can opt to work 1-on-1 with the creative professional of your choice.You will choose this professional based on a list of requirements you pre-select and based on the list of professionals CrowdSpring suggests to you.
With CrowdSpring, again, you can select your favorite logo, and the designer gets paid as soon as you are happy with the project.
Another cool thing about CrowdSpring is that they feature some of their top projects on their homepage to give you an idea of the kind of work their freelancers are turning out for you.
Overall, CrowdSpring allows you to create your own deadlines and gives you much agency in choosing to work with someone one-on-one or test the crowdsourcing option. If you have a detailed plan and a strong direction, CrowdSpring can be a cheaper and quicker option for you.
Now, let’s shift gears from the world of crowdsourcing to freelancing by talking about Upwork.
What is it?
With a company like Upwork, rather than writing a brief about your project and selecting a design, you will create a write-up of your project, and select a freelancer you like to work on your project.
How does it work?
With Upwork, you:
- Create a free account
- Post details about your project
- Based on an algorithm, Upwork will highlight freelancers that it thinks will be a good fit for you. It is up for you to decide which freelancer you would like to work with.
- As soon as you select a freelancer, you can begin working on your project. You can start working with the freelancer you choose within just a couple of hours.You can easily communicate with the freelancer you select by contacting them online or via Upwork’s mobile app.
- Once your project is completed, the payment will be processed through Upwork.Like other graphic design companies, you only pay for the work if you approve of the project.
Upwork doesn’t crowdsource your project, but they do provide you with a wide list of freelance graphic designers to choose from, to help you with your graphic design.
With the ease and speed of interacting with potential freelancers that you want to work with, Upwork makes design projects quicker and cheaper than many alternative graphic design firms.
Additionally, going this route is often much cheaper than hiring an expensive graphic design firm.
Freelancer is a competitive mashup of crowdsourcing design and Upwork.
What is it?
Freelancer allows you to create an account and then choose whether you want to browse profiles and select a designer or create a brief, crowdsource your project out, and pick a winning design.
How does it work?
- With Freelancer, the first thing you do will be to select a budget for your project.
- Then, you will decide if you want to post it as a project and have freelancers bid on your projectOR you can post it as a contest, have freelancers submit work, and then you can select a winner.
Freelancer is as easy as that. The system is intuitive, flexible, and provides you with a lot of freedom to run your project exactly how you want.
Want a logo design for just 5 bucks?
Then let’s shift gears once again, and talk about Fiverr for a minute.
What is it?
Fiverr is a company all small to midsize business should know about. Why? Because they offer several business services at $5 a pop. One of these services is, of course, graphic design.
How does it work?
Fiverr works a little bit differently than freelance companies and crowdsourcing design companies.
Rather than posting your project, you will:
- Select the category of your choice (graphic design, illustration, etc.).
- Then browse projects to see what Fiverr freelancers have to offer you.Usually, freelancers will tell you what they will do for you for $5.Fiverr freelancers are responsible for being explicit in their descriptions and letting you know exactly what is and what is not included when you request their gig.
- As you browse through Fiverr gigs, you’ll also notice there are options for add-ons.For example, a graphic designer may be willing to design a logo for $5, but they will require another $5 for all types of files and another $5 for copyright information.While they do have the option to charge more in add-ons, $15 for a logo is still unheard of in the graphic design world.
Beware: Not all Fiverr graphic designers charge 5 bucks.
As Fiverr graphic designers continue to get gigs and high ratings, they also have the option of charging more over time by offering packages.
If you come across a designer who is charging more than the typical $5 for a design project, chances are they have been working on Fiverr long enough to establish a real business, and that they have received several positive ratings.
If you opt to get help from a designer on Fiverr, remember not all gigs are created equal and you often get what you pay for on Fiverr.
Take the time to browse the portfolios of Fiverr freelancers, scour their profiles to see what is included, and make sure you are bidding on a project that will help you grow your business.
When used correctly, Fiverr can be a great way to brand your business for a killer deal…not to mention they offer several other necessary business services.
Hiring Top Graphic Design Firms
Unhappy with these options?
No interest in hiring a freelancer, crowdsourcing your project, or browsing Fiverr?
Maybe graphic design is one of your highest market priorities and you are nervous about all of these options. If you have the money, there is no shame in hiring either a local or a nationally acclaimed graphic design firm if that’s what you would prefer to do.
You can still contract their work out, but you can also rest assured that you are getting work from top-notch professionals that know the ins and outs of the design world.
Going this route will usually, and understandably, cost your firm more, but you will certainly get what you pay for in terms of professionalism, creativity, and creating a solid brand for your company.
According to a review in TopDesignFirms.com, the best design firms in 2017 is as follows:
- Blue Fountain Media in New York, New York
- Deluxe in Shoreview, Minnesota
- Lounge Lizard in New York, New York
- Maxburst Inc. in Farmingdale, New York
- Hudson Integrated in Saddle Brook, New Jersey
- Dotlogics in East Northport, New York
- Brockton in Leawood, Kansas
- Logoworks in New York, New York
- Makespace in Louisville, Kentucky
- Typework Studio in Buffalo, New York
There are several top options for hiring a graphic designer or a graphic design company to help you with your branding.
The route you ultimately decide to go will depend on your budget, your needs, and your branding desires.
It also depends on whether or not you want to build short term or long term relationships with a graphic designer.
Regardless, there are several great options when it comes to hiring a freelancer, crowdsourcing your design needs, or hiring a nationally recognized firm to help you with your design.
Have you tried any of these options? What are your experiences with them? Comment and let us know!
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