Running your own business is a dream. But it is incredibly challenging too. More than half of all startups fail within five years. Of those, one in seven fail because of poor marketing. And a significant part of effective marketing is using quality graphic design.
Finding a freelance who can provide you with quality work you need at a reasonable price can be incredibly challenging.
Another one of these sites is DesignCrowd. Founded in Sydney Australia in 2008, DesignCrowd has built a community of more than 800,000 graphic designers.
DesignCrowd has many strengths, but like any other service, they have imperfections as well. Read along to learn the features, strengths, and weaknesses of DesignCrowd to make an educated buying decision.
DesignCrowd offers an extensive array of services, including custom logos, website designs, t-shirts, cartoon characters, and much more. If you need a design of any kind, DesignCrowd likely has a freelancer who can create it for you.
The process is relatively simple. At the most basic level, you create a project, designers compete to fulfill it, and you choose the design that best fits what you’re looking for. There is a wide array of paid packages of different costs and features available from which to choose.
You will typically start receiving submissions within 24 hours of creating your project. Depending on the package and settings you choose, you can set a deadline of three, five, or ten days. The later the deadline, the more submissions you will be able to choose from.
On average, you can expect to receive more than 50 submissions per project. If you give detailed feedback on the submissions you receive, you’re likely to get even better responses. If you find a submission that you like but is off in a few crucial ways, you can request specific revisions before finalizing the project, and the designer will refine their design for you.
Once you choose the winning design and complete the project, you will receive full copyright on the design, as well as any design files. A logo, for example, would land you:
It’s certainly an option to skip this process altogether and simply get a template design. But the freelance workers at DesignCrowd give your design a personal touch, and the customization helps your brand stand out from those standard templates.
DesignCrowd certainly has several distinguishing factors that make it a solid option for those of us looking for custom designs at a reasonable rate. Let’s take a look at them now:
Right away, the feature that stands out the most is the size and depth of the DesignCrowd freelance community. While it isn’t necessarily the number one largest community of freelance designers, the 800,000 members is undoubtedly an impressive number. And the quality and responsiveness of the community are excellent as well.
You can view the quality of competing freelancers according to the ratings and reviews of past DesignCrowd users. For an added fee, you can ensure your project is only available to freelancers with a certain degree of experience and a minimum rating.
As a community-driven crowdsourcing service, it’s essential that DesignCrowd doesn’t only have a large community, but an active one. After all, it doesn’t matter how many users have accounts with a service if large swaths of them are inactive at any given time. At DesignCrowd, that doesn’t appear to be a problem.
DesignCrowd doesn’t only host jobs, but they feature regular contests for the designers. The contests are very popular and help to keep the users active and engaged with the site. That added level of activity helps maintain a high level of activity in the community. That means you are likely to have the full strength of the DesignCrowd community at your disposal.
DesignCrowd offers many different packages, and customizations within those packages, to give you maximum control over your projects. The first, least expensive option is the “one designer service project.” As opposed to the trademark DesignCrowd contests, you choose one designer from a sample of possibilities.
You can also purchase an add-on that ensures you will be choosing only from highly-rated options. That means only the best of the best of the freelancers on DesignCrowd will be able to compete on your project.
The other four options are all contests. The least expensive is a “mini-contest” where you narrow the pool down to three designers after a day, provide feedback, and then have a week from there to finalize the project.
The other three options are all more traditional open contests; you choose your budget based on how much you’re willing to pay. The more you pay, the higher the quality of freelancers that will apply for your contest.
You also have the ability to control the amount of time during which people can make submissions, the number of submissions you’re looking for, and so on. The degree of control that you have over your projects and the work you receive is excellent on DesignCrowd.
For many design projects, it can take a considerable amount of time from your decision to contract a design and your reception of the final product. Sometimes that’s not necessarily an inconvenience, but other times you might need results quickly.
With DesignCrowd, you can go from the creation of a product to full copyright on a new design in just a matter of days. And you’ll have plenty of designs to choose from. The speed and volume DesignCrowd provides to clients is certainly an excellent feature.
As we mentioned earlier, the budget you allocate to your project can vary dramatically. But with DesignCrowd, there is no risk in losing your budget and not getting your money’s worth. If your contest expires and you haven’t found a submission that satisfies you, DesignCrowd will refund your money. Simply contact customer service and explain that you were dissatisfied.
With some services, you have to pay up and are unsure whether you will get your money’s worth. But with DesignCrowd, you’ll never have to pay for something that doesn’t meet your standards.
As mentioned, DesignCrowd’s packages include several available add-ons that allow you to customize your project. Amongst those potential add-ons are two that are perfect for clients for whom privacy is a priority.
One add-on simply keeps the project out of view of search engines, freelancers other than those you’ve selected, and other clients. Further, you can protect your project with a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), preventing the freelancer with whom you collaborate from discussing the details of your work.
These add-ons can really come in handy if you’re working on something confidential, or simply want to keep a new logo under wraps until you’re ready to re-brand.
DesignCrowd certainly has its strengths, but like any service, it isn’t perfect. Let’s work through the weaknesses now as well.
We’ll start off with an issue that may not be that big of a deal to you, or could be a major turn-off, depending on how much you value simplicity and ease of use. Some clients have indicated that the user interface can be confusing, and honestly, a bit overwhelming at times.
There are loads of buttons on every screen, and it’s not always intuitive where you need to click at any given time to get to where you want to go. You’ll get used to it after a time, but it takes some poking around at first to figure out what to click to move forward.
That isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, and for some of you, it may not be of any issue at all. But many competing sites have a much more intuitive interface and better ease of use overall.
The large community of freelancers on DesignCrowd is certainly a positive overall. But that also means that they aren’t able to screen potential freelancers to ensure that they are professional and courteous.
Typically, the less professional designers will be gradually filtered out through poor ratings and reviews from other clients. Still, DesignCrowd cannot guarantee a positive or pleasant working relationship with every freelancer on the site.
Where some services screen applicants so that only the best of the best can work there, DesignCrowd takes a volume-driven approach and uses the philosophy that competition will cause the cream to rise to the top. Typically that results in positive outcomes, but there are certainly drawbacks to that approach as well.
Don’t get me wrong—the pricing options at DesignCrowd (which I’ll dive into in more detail momentarily) aren’t exactly exorbitant or unreasonable. Many of the middle and higher-tier packages are right in line with industry-standard, if not a bit lower.
The issue here comes for clients looking for a quick, inexpensive project. Where some sites like Fiverr offer low-end design projects for under $10, the least expensive package at DesignCrowd comes in at over $100.
For growing small businesses, that may not be an obstacle. But if you’re just looking for a quick, one-off design, DesignCrowd might not be the right site for you.
DesignCrowd has a variant fee structure that ranges from a mere $99 for a project, up as high as $699. That is based on the package you choose and the budget you’re willing to invest in attracting top-level talent to your project.
On top of these prices, there is a posting fee for each project, ranging from $29 for the least expensive package to $129 for the most expensive. Additionally, there is a 4% fee for each new project.
Essentially, each of the four contest packages is a similar set-up, but the more you pay, the more submissions and benefits you receive. The mini-contest, for example, brings in 6+ designs and costs $99, whereas the top package brings in 150+ designs for $699 and big discounts on add-ons.
DesignCrowd offers a few perks in this area as well. There are various discount codes for new and returning clients that provide your account with credit you can use to fund a project.
As previously stated, your project budget, aside from the posting fee, is refundable. If you aren’t satisfied with any of the submissions, simply contact DesignCrowd customer service, and they will refund your project budget in full. Customer service typically responds quickly. However, the posting fee (which ranges from $29 to $129) is non-refundable.
One of the leading causes of failure for small businesses is poor marketing. And one of the best ways to grow is to present a professional image with quality graphic design work.
A great way to do that is to hire a freelance graphic designer through a crowdsourcing website like DesignCrowd.
DesignCrowd has a number of excellent characteristics. The number of active designers along with the competitive nature of the contests means you’ll have a variety of quality work to choose from.
Other benefits include their privacy add-ons. Their guarantee can help you feel secure that none of your money aside from the posting fee is at risk.
DesignCrowd isn’t necessarily for everyone. You might prefer a service that screens freelancers, like DesignBro or Toptal does. But overall, DesignCrowd is a very solid service for clients seeking quick freelance design work.