Every business needs great design!
There are so many possible applications for design. It plays a huge role in all phases of your business. From raising capital and establishing your brand to supporting growth through acquisition. There is so much you will want done professionally, your logo, to social media posts, to flyers and presentations to your website design.
The problem for most businesses is the challenge of getting all types of design work done efficiently and cost effectively while still maintaining quality. If you don’t have the resources to hire an in-house design team, you’re left to find an agency, freelancer, or other type of external service.
Subscription design services have become an option over the last few years and we think they’re great (hey, that’s why Designed.co is a subscription service!). Here’s why we believe they’re the best option for nearly all sized businesses:
Cost-effective design option
First, let’s talk about cost. Honestly, that’s often the bottom line for any business when it comes to sourcing their design needs. You can expect to pay well for professional design – you’re hiring a qualified designer and the saying “you get what you pay for” rings true. However, a subscription service allows you to access that professional design for lower cost with a wider range of design skills for nearly any design need.
Let’s look more closely. Your other options are:
- Hire an in-house designer. It’s a long term commitment that will cost you the salary, software and plus associated overhead, let’s not forget vacations and sick days.
- Hire an agency. You can get quality design but agencies tend to have a lot of “fat” built in to running their operation and you will pay for that. There is always a minimum spend, you’ll find you have to pay for “extras” including perfecting your designs as you make changes, and often every phone call comes at a price. They can also be a less-flexible option in terms of having to work with their particular schedule.
- Hire a freelancer. There are so many challenges with hiring freelancers. For starters it’s a pay-to-play market, where time, quality and priority costs money. And for those looking to offshore there are a whole new set of challenges including time differences, potential language barriers and secure payments. If you strike it lucky and find a freelancer with a stellar reputation, you can still expect to pay top rates and you will always be at the mercy of their schedule. On the other hand, someone with lower rates might not produce the best-quality work, and you can expect to hop from freelancer to freelancer.
With a subscription design service like Designed.co, you’re getting high-quality design from experienced, US-based designers for a lower, fixed cost. There’s no “extra” cost for anything because it works by you prioritizing which projects you’d like completed first. It helps that the fixed cost allows you to plan your monthly marketing budget.
Subscription design services are among the most cost-effective for any size businesses
Consistent design quality
If you’re not in a position to hire a design team in-house, you can run into problems with consistency of design. This happens when you get someone different at the agency each time or when the last freelancer you contracted is unavailable.
Every designer tends to have a slightly different style, even given the same brief and style guidelines. A new designer is always starting from scratch in learning your brand so while they’ll do their best, it’s common for their designs to be noticeably different.
Designed.co’s subscription provides that consistent relationship with a team that includes a project manager and an art director who not only get to know your brand and style very well but also are a part of the QA process. We leverage unique home-grown tools to learn your brand, inspiration, competition and currently circulated designs which gives your design team an immersive brand experience. The result is high-quality, on-brand design every time.
Simple and efficient
How do you make sure you’re getting the designs that you envision? Communication is a big part of this and it’s fair to say that’s not a strength of every agency or freelancer out there. They often rely on email or phone calls to gather briefing information and communicate the same way when returning work to you. Things can get complex when you have to go back and forth to nail down what you’re looking for.
At Designed.co, we’ve created our own client dashboard that streamlines and simplifies the whole process. Here’s how it works:
- You add a project via your dashboard, including design type, details, any files for reference.
- You have the ability to organize multiple projects and prioritize them via your dashboard so that the most important are done first.
- Our designers get to work on your projects, one at a time, in the order you need them done. You can change the priorities in real-time, giving you on control to change the design schedule.
- Typically designs can be done in a day depending on the size and complexity of the project, but you always know the date we will deliver each draft of design.
- You access design proofs online and can take notes directly on the design, allowing you to work directly with the design team, no more searching for email threads or missing important messages.
- We make unlimited changes and post each revision for your review.
- Once the design is perfected you can approve the file online and the files are posted and stored in the same dashboard for easy access.
You need efficient processes so that your time is freed up to work on your business. A solution like ours does just that!
Not all subscription services are created equal
Subscription-based design services are a great option for all types of businesses, but they are not all the same. It’s important to know the differences between them and wat to look out for.
- Cost. The most important of all of the differences is the level of investment. Prices range from $300/mth to upwards of $20K per month, yes twenty thousand dollars per month! The differences between them are vastly different so it’s important to know what you are paying for, ask for a demonstration, see some of their work and make sure you know you are paying for before you decide.
- Quality. The key difference between subscription based design services is the overall quality of designs. Quality means much more than just aesthetics, use of color, typography and spacing but also includes design principles, file structure, organization of assets and, most importantly, processes. To be competitive graphic design subscriptions often use low wage, offshore, self-taught designers that have minimal, if any, formal design skills. They also use freelancers, and rotate through designers. That doesn’t mean you won’t get lucky and get a good designer on occasion but the results are often inconsistent, with overall lack of general design knowledge, experience and discipline. Designed.co only employs US-based designers on a full time basis and vets all designers with a minimum of 3-5 years of agency experience that have degrees from prestigious universities. The result is quality from process to the end product.
- Location. We love the global design community, and there are some pretty amazing designers all over the world, but when it comes to offshoring your designs there are some serious challenges. The time difference between you and your designer can add unnecessary back and forth or can have your designer working at lesser productive hours to be on your time zone. The language and localization barriers can also pose a big risk to the project and overall design. Given the challenges these design services will often give you email only access to both the company and your design team. Designed.co’s entire team is 100% US-based, most of which reside in our office in Miami Beach, FL. We don’t hire freelancers and only take on full time employees here in our office.
- Tools & tech. When it comes to subscription based design, having the right tools and technology to drive efficiency is key to getting quality design done without the complexity that drives up cost and time. More than 75% of the design subscriptions leverage 3rd party tools that include project management like Asana, Basecamp & Trello, file storage systems like Google drive and Dropbox and others use chat programs like Slack. Most of the companies take project requests via email and use various online tools to help manage the process, which comes with its own set of challenges including multitasking across multiple platforms or being reliant on email communication. Designed.co built its own set of tools and unified them in a beautifully crafted dashboard we call “the hub”. Add new projects, manage and change priorities, chat and collaborate with your teams, give visual feedback directly on the designs and approve designs with one click to get access to source and design.
- Timing and throughput. Typically most subscription services offer a 24-48 hour turnaround time for most projects and some even work after hours to complete the designs. It’s important to understand the timing around the types of projects you have to complete to get a better understanding of what can get accomplished in a month of your subscription.
What you see is what you get with a subscription design service. At Designed.co, we pride ourselves on quality, communication and simplicity.
How does unlimited design work?
A lot of people ask, how does unlimited design work? Can I really get as many design projects done as I like?
Here’s how it works: You can add unlimited projects as you like to your dashboard. Organize them in the order that you want them, but don’t worry, you can always change priorities any time you need to. Then we work on the top priority, one at a time* (*depending on your subscription level we can work on multiple project priorities) We’ll make unlimited changes and revisions until you get exactly what you want. You can add an unlimited number of team members from your company, like your marketing department, writers, photographers & developers to collaborate with your design team.Most projects will be turned around in one to two business days depending on the size and complexity of each project, but you will always know the date we will publish the designs. Once you approve the designs, we upload the final files and move on to your next project priority.
There is unlimited file storage, so you always have on-demand access to your files 24-7-365.
It’s really that simple and the results speak for themselves.
Quality design helps your brand shine. It builds your identity, makes you recognizable, memorable and tells a consistent story. Subscription design services are the perfect answer for nearly any size company with a fixed cost approach that can help deliver quality design without the cost and complexity. Want to learn more about Designed.co reach out for a demo on what we can do for your brand.