So I was just finishing up a meeting with a client recently when she asked me "Have you ever used Fiverr? I'm considering trying it out for a small flyer we're developing."
Now, coming from a largely corporate marketing background, I've always been passionate about establishing strong, long term relationships with trusted creative suppliers. I've always felt that the more a designer or developer gets to know your business, the more likely they are to be in tune with what you want and need from creative work. You learn to trust their gut and, in my experience, they rarely get it wrong.
Having turned my hand to the consultancy game of late, though, I'm often working with small businesses who simply can't afford to stump up for professional local designers. At least not regularly, anyway. So, where do businesses in this situation turn? More often than not, they do it themselves or they use a friend, a relative or the teenage child of a colleague, because they did a good job of little Johnny's birthday invite.
Many small business owners are just as time poor as they are cash poor, so the DIY approach rarely provides dividends. As for the other options, well, let's just say that Fiverr certainly has a place in the market.
So, rather than simply dismissing the idea to my client, without having ever used it, I suggested that "No, I hadn't, but maybe it was worth testing". It's been intriguing me ever since and, rather than let my client be the guinea pig, I've decided to put it to the test myself, and have a logo designed to give my photographer alter ego an identity of sorts. All in the name of research, of course.
Here's how it went down...
SELECTING A DESIGNER
The first step in the process was to select a designer. This is rather like closing your eyes and throwing darts at a dartboard. While there are a number of filters available to help you narrow down your search, as well as reviews and a few different 'levels' of seller, in the end, you still end up with thousands of potential matches, which means there's a fair degree of luck involved in picking a winner.
A lot of the examples provided by the designers are pretty similar, too, so I really didn't spend too long on this. I simply sorted by best selling, flicked through a few portfolios, read a few reviews and through my dart.
I ended up selecting a 'Level 2' seller from Romania by the name of @cristiansticea (Cristian), who had received over 7,000 reviews, at an average of 4.8 out of 5. Cristian offered three different package options, ranging from the Basic at $12.88 to the Premium at $154.57, with inclusions such as number of concepts, social media kits, stationery options and source files all tacked on as you move up the scale.
PAYMENT UP FRONT
Having never used Fiverr before (or any online freelance marketplace for that matter), I was surprised that the next step in the process was payment. I had expected to receive some low resolution or watermarked options to approve before making payment, followed by the delivery of high resolution source files after payment had been made.
In hindsight, though, when you consider the ridiculously low investment you're making compared to a local design agency, you can understand the need to protect freelancers from time wasters and clients who simply can't be satisfied. The business model for these freelancers is very much volume, volume, volume. To make any sort of decent revenue from the minuscule fees, they need to churn through A LOT of jobs. There's simply no time for tedious back and forth before a financial commitment is made.
With payment out of the way, I was promptly redirected to a standard briefing form, in which Cristian asked for the following information.
- What is the name of your company/brand?
- Do you have a tagline/slogan?
- How would you describe your services?
- Do you have any colour preferences?
- Do you have any specific imagery in mind?
- How would you like the typography to appear? (script, bold, italic, hand drawn)
- Please give me a few logo examples that you like. They do not have to be related to your field of work as I just want to see what style you prefer.
All pretty basic stuff and lacking in a lot of the important strategic content you'd like to see in a brief for any kind of creative, but probably on par with my expectations given the circumstances. To be honest, you'd probably be hard pressed getting any sort of professional local design agency to commence work with only this information to go on.
In fairness, though, I dare say a lot of small businesses, without experienced in-house marketing resources would struggle to provide a proper brief anyway, and the information requested here would be in line with what the vast majority of them would expect to provide.
In keeping with the theme then, my brief was deliberately kept very simple and quite broad, providing few limitations on the designer's creativity. So my brief looked something like this.
- What is the name of your company/brand? Peninsula Pixels
- Do you have a tagline/slogan? No
- How would you describe your services? Multidisciplinary photographic services, both aerial (drone) and ground photography.
- Do you have any colour preferences? Not really, but something modern that will also stand the test of time.
- Do you have any specific imagery in mind? I’d like it to include some reference to a lens and/or a drone, but I want to steer away from the obvious in this regard. Something a bit more subtle or abstract.
- How would you like the typography to appear? (script, bold, italic, hand drawn). Not script or italics. I’m after something clean from a typography point of view.
I also uploaded a small selection of logos that I liked, all from the portfolios of Fiverr designers, including Cristian.
Firstly, the turnaround time... wow. Having submitted the order on a Friday afternoon, I had the initial concepts in my inbox by Sunday morning. The two concepts I was promised included a number of different colour suggestions for each and included PNG, JPG, EPS and AI file types.
I was also promised unlimited revisions as part of the package, but given this was largely a research exercise, I didn't want to go overboard here, so I simply requested for the two words to be made the same size (the initial concepts had 'pixels' a lot larger). True to form, the revisions (see below) were back to me inside a couple of hours, again with all file types included.
I'll leave it up to you decide whether or not you like the logos that were created. For me, based on the cost, the brief I provided, the turnaround time and the communication from the designer, I was pleasantly surprised.
Would I use this service if I worked for company with decent in-house marketing resources? No, I don't think so. I'd prefer the process to be much more involved, collaborating with the designer/s in person with a greater eye towards the overall strategy.
So it's not for everyone, however, for smaller businesses with really limited marketing budgets, Fiverr definitely has a place in the market, particularly if you find a designer with whom you're comfortable dealing with regularly.
So, next time such a client asks me the same question, I'll be much better placed to provide an objective opinion.