We are visual creatures, there is no way around it. Most animals are. We are attracted to what we see, how it connects with us and how it draws us in. Most everything we like and hold dear, including relationships, we find visually appealing- whether in a traditional sense or abstract. This is why it is so important to put a priority on top-quality artwork and graphics for your projects. Without something to catch the eye or break up content or brand your product, it doesn’t matter how good you are because no one will ever see it.
But what if you aren’t a graphic designer? Thankfully for you, this planet just happens to be chock full of graphic designers and artists that are chomping at the bit to sell you their work. And thankfully there are several websites that put these artists in front of you. Here is a break-down of a few of my personal favorites.
99 Designs is a graphic design and artwork specific site that really puts the power in the buyers hands. It features a very intuitive user interface for placing bids and asks a lot of the questions that designers need to know, but you don’t know to tell them. It really takes the guesswork out of describing your project. You can set it up so submissions are blind or public, and it even tells you an estimate of how many submissions to expect based on your project. You can take bids or set your own price for their project, however, there are minimums based on category. This ensures only the highest level artists and a fair marketplace for all. For lesser budgets you can also shop their $99 pre-made logo store
Fiverr is a huge marketplace that markets itself as the home of the $5 gig. Meaning for as low as $5 you can get any number of things and projects. You can purchase original songs, material goods, voiceovers, web design as well as graphics and artwork. The thing to remember is, if you order a $5 logo, you are going to get a $5 logo. That means mostly font-based and you can pretty much guarantee any graphics used are stock graphics and not exclusive to you. However you can order multiple gigs, and a good designer will listen to what you need and let you know how many gigs your project is worth. You can see all of the seller’s previous work on their page and you can fully communicate beforehand to make sure you have the right fit. Something sites like 99 Designs doesn’t let you do.
PeoplePerHour is much like 99 Designs, in that you place your project online with a budget and accept bids and submissions. A UK based company, PPH has a very eclectic network of designers, developers, and artists to draw from. Additional payments are secured through Escrow and their own wallet system to protect your money and avoid a designer cutting and running. PPH has come under fire for having some subpar freelancers cutting corners like crazy and undercutting prices on quality workers. So be aware, that unbelievable price you get quoted probably is unbelievable- you won’t be happy with what you get. So choose carefully.
Elance is considered the authority in freelance job matching, and easily the oldest website out there. They boast 9 million freelancers who do about $1 billion dollars of work annually spread over 3 million jobs. Elance matches you with specific freelancers who are right for your project and helps you to get the ball rolling quicker. In many cases you can get a project started within hours, not days. And you can be sure you money is protected through their payment system to make sure the freelancer gets paid and you get your work. And unlike other services like oDesk, they guarantee both hourly and fixed price work. And Elance offers great communication tools to keep you connected during your project.
Zillions is a freelance company that runs a little different. Essentially you are starting a contest at a fixed rate and then you will get submissions from designers. You start off by selecting one of their services like logo, monogram, etc and then name your price ($200 minimum). Write your creative brief and you are ready to start receiving submissions. You will have the opportunity to give feedback based on what you get from submitters, and from there you will choose the winner. You will then be charged for the prize for your contest plus a 20% fee that goes to Zillions. For example a $200 prize would run you $200 for the prize plus $39.80 for the processing fee giving you a total of $239.80 for your contest.
These are just five of the sites that are out there to help you get the graphics you need for your project. Personally, I’ve had good luck with Fiverr, People Per Hour and 99 Designs- but your mileage may vary. Just remember, graphics and artwork cost more than you probably think they do. But they are worth it. Artists have put in years of training and practice to create exactly what you need, so be smart and throw a few bucks down to get high-quality work.