I’ll admit to being somewhat of a design prude when it comes to my freelancing sites. As you saw in my GetACoder review, for example, I’m turned off by a freelancing site that doesn’t look attractive, new, and easy-to-use. Why? As a reviewer, I have to put myself in the chair of someone who’s browsing a site like DesignCrowd for the first time. Their fresh eyes are my fresh eyes, and without that nice pop of a first impression, it can feel like something is missing.
Admittedly, the content often makes up for the packaging – as it did in GetACoder’s case. But it’s often rare that a site that goes through the trouble to make itself look as good as DesignCrowd…
…doesn’t put equal amounts of work into making sure their site is worth the trip. Consider it like a car principle: there are quality cars that don’t look great, but the exterior is often a good indicator of what’s going on under the hood.
Besides, freelancers have enough to worry about that they don’t need to navigate incomprehensible sites trying to figure out how they can find jobs. And if you’re someone who’s looking to hire a freelancer, then there’s a good chance you’re not in the mood for a complicated process to begin with. That’s why I like my buttons big and my sites professional.
DesignCrowd is all about that anyway: design. So let’s pop the hood in this DesignCrowd review and see if the packaging doesn’t over-promise what DesignCrowd actually delivers.
Not Your Typical Freelance Site
While DesignCrowd’s overall look and feel might match that of your typical freelancer site, it actually resembles a concept closer to a crowdSPRING. I don’t know why freelance sites built for designers are the ones that make the designers enter in their logos before they get awarded the project, but as a freelance writer, hey, I’ll take it.
Actually, the answer isn’t so difficult to figure out. The world of design lends itself to a site like DesignCrowd, where scribbling something together in PhotoShop that the rest of the world would never be able to handle in the same fifteen minutes is not exactly a major hardship for most designers.
Unfamiliar with how this works? As DesignCrowd explains it, it’s actually a pretty simple process. You post a project – including details, needs, and additional things you think a graphic designer would need to know – and watch designers pour in their work. That’s right – they’re trying to earn your approval by doing a little bit of work up front. You get to review a bunch of these logos and designs, often in the territory from 25-100 submissions, and choose which one you like best. In doing so, you choose who gets paid.
It’s one of the greatest concepts from the buyer’s standpoint: don’t you hate hiring a graphic designer before you see what they’re able to whip up for you? Sometimes their previous work is nothing like the stuff they hand you, and you’re left feeling a little disappointed. The DesignCrowd/Crowdspring rule gets rid of this effect and changes up the game entirely.
It’s clearly a system that works for designers as well as buyers, considering how many people populate sites like DesignCrowd. And speaking of DesignCrowd’s population, it had better be pretty sizeable if it’s going to be worth your while.
How Big is the DesignCrowd…Crowd?
Simply browse through one of their job boards and see for yourself. Even the smaller projects – a few hundred dollars or so – garner enough attention to provide the buyers with dozens and dozens of logos to review. The quality of the work itself? Well, this always varies on a project-to-project basis, and it’s hard to fault DesignCrowd if their own crowd isn’t up to snuff, but a quick review yielded…very little, actually. You’ll have to become part of the Crowd if you want to see more.
And what about joining DesignCrowd? Well, it’s not a problem to see why they’ve been able to attract so many submissions. Signing up is a quick breeze. You simply log in as either a customer or a designer and then you take your place amongst the two DesignCrowd classes.
Of course, if all of this work is going to be worth its weight in currency, the DesignCrowd pricing system is going to have to be generous and leave plenty for those hard-working designers.
Getting Your Logo On Ain’t Always Free
Well, it can be free, as long as you don’t end up liking your logo or graphic design work. There’s a total guarantee on your non-guaranteed projects, as odd as it sounds. To make sense of that sentence, let’s put it this way: if you don’t guarantee payment, you can always get your money back. That’s simple enough to understand and is definitely a major selling point if you’re someone who’s going to be looking to buy some artwork here.
The bad news for designers is that doing the design work does come with a fairly heft price tag. At 15% of your project’s budget, the fees that go to DesignCrowd are somewhat oppressive. Yeah, that can be a bit of a downer, but the upside is that at least you’ll have to pay taxes on all that income! Ok, sorry, I’m just full of downers.
Should Designers Flock to the Crowd?
I’m not much of a designer myself, so I’ll defer to the collective wisdom of people who have already flocked to places like Crowdspring and DesignCrowd. There’s definitely a market for this type of site and designers hungry for work are certainly hungry enough that they can put up with 15% project fees and the chance that they don’t even get paid at all. Hey, it’s hard out there for a designer; what else can you say?
Of course, this is ignoring the fact that DesignCrowd does link up designers with projects they never otherwise would have even heard about. Sometimes that extra business and income is worth the fees and the extra work. After all, why else would you be able to find a crowd of these designers online?
And, lest we forget, DesignCrowd does look good.