Recently when talking to a prospective client for my fledgling design agency, the topic of fiverr was bought up.
fiverr, if you have never heard of it, is a site that has a huge number of designers selling their skills for the amazingly cheap sum of just five dollars. From logo design, web design, flyers, brochures, and pretty much anything related to the old art of graphic design, is sold on the site in the way that an old market trader would hawk knocked-off versions of designer handbags and fake RayBan sunglasses. It isn’t just design though, there are video services, photography, writing, animation, music, jingles, some hip hop offerings, marketing research and legal advice (for $5, seriously, not sure I would rely on that).
There is even a pet model section, where someone will take a picture of their pet with your logo for your marketing use? Extremely cute, obviously, and enterprising.
Now I may be extremely biased with my views towards this site as I consider myself a highly experienced professional in my field, with too many years of experience than I care to admit lest I let slip my real age. During that time I have worked with companies ranging from global enterprises to small start-ups, and on every occasion I have worked closely with them to produce the desired work that reflects their business properly.
For me, naively, that is what it is about really. After all, how can a design truly reflect your product if the designer knows nothing about it, or it’s market.
As I mentioned fiverr was brought up in a conversation by someone who I was looking to bring on board as a client, and one that I felt I could work well with. We were discussing the impact they want to have, the market they wanted to reach out to, and the overall ethos behind their company. I suggested some ideas, sketched a few basic outlines on a notepad which we discussed and it was all very positive until that old thing called a budget was mentioned. Not that it shouldn’t be mentioned of course, everyone has a budget to adhere too; unless you are Google of course, with unlimited funds earned by mining the data of pretty much every computer user on the planet, like some evil search engine overlord.
Anyway I gave the client a rough guesstimate of the pricing, as is fairly normal, saying that I would work on a more fully formed pitch and quote to send to them after the meeting.
“Ah, isn’t that quite expensive?” they said, after hearing my rough pricing.
Before I could inform them that, while it seems expensive, it is favourably comparable to most design agencies and the quality of service and dedication that they would get is high, the prospective client continued on to say : “on fiverr it is very cheap, just $5, so we could just go to there to get a logo. Why should we use you instead when it costs so much more?”
Rather than try to extoll the virtues of my services, rather than launch into a string of reasons why this site is offering poor design which is why it’s so cheap, I just merely said that if they want to use that site then go ahead. And I meant it. Off you toddle dear people, because if you are not passionate about your company then how can I be?
The reason why I said that is that I want to work with people that value their business, that value their marketing, and who realise that their logo and branding offers an instant insight into their company and products.
For an example of the companies on fiverr there is one called ei8htz (the poor name should be a warning but hey, they have 4.9 stars and are featured on the site…), who are a “small team of professional logo designers from Indonesia. We have over 9 years of experience in designing logos, icons, business cards, and other graphics. We joined fiverr to focus on graphic design for small businesses and startups. :)”
So they design brochures, business cards, logos and essentially branding it seems. I looked at the logo design most as this first on their list and was the most relevant to my situation. What do they offer in terms of logo design? Well, it is this:
- For $5 I’ll (not we it seems, despite being a team) design instant LOGO for your business, company, website, etc in 9 days turnaround time. You’ll get hi-res of JPG and transparency PNG (300dpi)
- ONLY 1 TIME REVISION IS ACCEPTABLE (if needed). Just add another order in case you need more concepts or revisions
So I am going to break it down just a little bit. Firstly for a hi-res logo it should not be a jpg or png file. It should be a vector eps so that it can be scaled to any size without any loss of quality (for large format banners for example), and if you only have a jpg then it really isn’t going to be good enough. Also, when you have a logo properly designed you normally get at least two versions to use, depending on where it is going to be used. A white version, for example, for use on a dark background. If you want this, which should be standard, you will have to pay more as one of their “Gig Extras”. Ok, it is only an extra $40 so it is still very cheap, but that should be standard.
Secondly, “ONLY 1 TIME REVISION IS ACCEPTABLE”, well, that is quite harsh. Please don’t misunderstand me no designer offers unlimited revisions of a job, however you do normally offer three initial logo designs based on a full brief and conversation about it, and 2/3 revisions after that to get the logo that you really need.
There is something else that worried me, also, in their gig extras.
“I will Deliver FULL SERVICE, TOP PRIORITY, BETTER DESIGN and UNLIMITED REVISIONS <Satisfaction Guaranteed>”
This costs just $100 extra. So they will offer you “better design” for an extra bit of cash. Something I have never really said to any of my clients.
“Yeah, I could design a logo and some branding material for you, but it is going to be pretty rubbish and you cannot complain or get it revised. However, if you pay me a hell of a lot more cash, I will give you a decent design… is that a deal?”
I know that it is all about upselling, and every business indulges in this to a certain extent. If you come to me for a logo design, I am going to offer you full branding services. Do you need stationary, marketing material, a website? This is normal, but to offer a substandard service until you pay more?
And let’s face it you are not going to get original designs from these sites. These logo’s, websites, brochures are also just templated designs with name changes etc. Nothing is designed just for your good selfs.
I looked through many more services being offered and there does seem to be an extremely high number from countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Indolesia. Is it not enough that people are able to buy their latest fashions from high street chains that outsource all production to sweat shops in third world countries, we are now going to outsource our designs there too?
I mentioned at the start about the old market trader with fake RayBan sunglasses, and this is pretty much the same. I have in my mind some women and kids are sitting in a large warehouse (one in a third world country, not a fashionable one in Shoreditch) working with torrented versions of Photoshop on a slow, low-specced PC, knocking out designs at the flick of a whip which are then sold on by Del Boy style characters in an online marketplace.
Is this really what we want? Well seeing as ei8htz have over 8000 customers, it seems it is. (I still cannot get pass the awfulness of that name though. Only kids (and Prince) really put numbers in words in that fashion, and even they generally don’t indulge in that level of crapness anymore…).
I don’t imagine that these companies will go on to achieve real success in their field really, though, as they will probably take that “cheapness over quality“ attitude with them all the way and won’t have the vision to build something great.
Why do I think that? Well, when looking at all the examples on the site I was unable to find any of the companies that relate to them. If you go to any design agency they have examples of their work and the companies that they have worked for. Usually you can then click through to, say, the website that you designed for example. You can then see it in a real world setting rather than just looking at a low-res image on a site. I personally think that is quite important.
However, the choice is all yours. Who should you use, the site that offers cheap design services with no proof of any success with anyone that they have worked with? with an impersonal service that doesn’t care about your business? Or a professional designer who will work with you to get the best design for your product or project, because they get to know you and spend time discussing the brief so that they understand it completely.
To paraphrase Del Boy, “he who dares wins. He who uses fiverr… doesn’t…”