As part of my search for automation and outsourcing, I'm giving a second thought to the idea of Design Pickle.
In case you don't know, Design Pickle is a service that offers unlimited graphic designs for a fixed monthly fee. Yes, you read that right. If you have an idea that you're normally hire a designer for, you can instead send it to Design Pickle.
Now I'll be the first to admit that I don't do much graphic design currently. But maybe I should do more. For instance, my blog posts contains images like the ones above and below, but all I do for that is go to DepositPhotos or Unsplash and find a cool picture that somewhat relates to the topic. No editing. Just download and upload.
But what if the blog posts have proper headers? Cropped with branding and text on them? Would I get more views?
Certainly I would not pay $370 per month just to have my 10 blog posts per month have proper graphics. But that'd just be the start.
Could I get course images made? Book covers done? Infographics for my courses? Explanational graphics for inside these posts? Ads? Consistent branding across everything I create?
It might be worth trying.
So let's do a test. 30 days of using a design service, and see how it goes. Can I keep them busy? Do they save me a lot of time? Do they significantly raise the quality of my work?
Which design service to choose?
1. Design Pickle
Design Pickle was the company that made this space famous. I'm not sure if they were first, but they have established themselves where all the other companies compare themselves to them. It might be easy to just go with the market leader.
Their pricing is the most expensive, obviously. When everyone is trying to compete with you, everyone undercuts you. But I'm surprised that they don't undercut by much.
They used to be a lot cheaper. I was listening to a podcast that interviewed the founder, and he said “unlimited designs for $197 per month.” Sounds good, I thought. Then I went to the website and saw the service is $370 per month. They've doubled their price over the last couple of years. I guess $197 was a steal, but for $370 you're approaching the actual cost of a full-time VA overseas. I could get 50% of a good VA for that price.
I should mention, that they claim they prefer to do jobs that are not too complex. No 3D animation, no logos, nothing complex. But blog graphics, FB ads, banners, brochures, etc seem right up their alley.
Option 2 is called Kapa99. They're charging $399 per month, but claim to offer more complex project types. They will do logos, infographics, large projects, and original illustrations. That does sound like a better deal actually. But how many times do you need a logo done?
But the original illustrations sounds fun. Imagine having a mascot for your brand, and having someone who can draw him/her in many different poses or styles. That's a fun, unique brand element and having a designer on call who can help you with that would be interesting. Being told “no” to a design project would not be a good experience.
But for $399 per month, I don't want to set my expectations too high. They also offer a true 15-day free trial, instead of a money back guarantee.
OK, next up is Flocksy. $349 per month. 1 project at a time. They also offer copywriting, email templates, and web development. The addition of copywriting sounds great. Now I can imagine using them to create full ads, including images, titles and body text.
Or landing pages. Some custom graphics, some custom copy, and I add a form to my email list that delivers the lead magnet.
Or email templates.
Now I'm starting to see the real difference between these services. It's very interesting how they set themselves apart. But do they work? Do they do what they say they can do.
I wonder if anyone does video editing? 🙂
BrandStrong put themselves up against DesignPickle using the “we do bigger projects” comparison. Only $260 per month at current exchange rates. So it's much cheaper.
All of these services handle “one job at a time”, so BrandStrong is no exception there. Their turnaround is “3 business days” so it takes a bit longer than the others. You don't really know until you try it.
I love bees. I really hope that we humans don't kill them off. And I love a fun brand. So I'm partial to the DesignBees brand name right off the bat.
Their pricing is $360 per month, so just $10 under DesignPickle. And they seem to offer the same types of service (no complex design) as them as well. It's probably the closest to DesignPickle than all the other services and just $10 cheaper.
The thing that scares me about this is the caveats around “if the project requires strategic thinking, we are not the service to use.”
I can guess what that means, but I wish they'd be clearer. I want a designer who I can assign a task to without having to be exactly specific. I want a designer who has creative style and design sense. If I have to be so exact with my instructions, it would be faster to do it myself right?
I mean, technically I can do it myself. I have an Adobe subscription. But I don't want to do it myself. I want to say “create me a Facebook Group banner” with some thoughts around it, and have them come up with something cool.
But I do get unlimited revisions I guess.
In searching around, I found something new. A new contender.
Growmodo costs more but claims to offer more. $495 per month gets you design tasks and tech tasks. Design tasks including branding, graphic design and social media. Tech tasks include web analytics, website optimization, and website maintenance. For $795 per month, they add “on page marketing” to the mix. This includes SEO, email marketing and marketing funnels.
I was not expecting to find a service that included design, tech and marketing. That's interesting for sure.
Sadly, there is no conclusion yet. I'm going to choose one of these today and get them to work on my brand. Let's see in a month how that works out. I'll make another post!