Being fairly new to the creative design game as a professional in the Raleigh-Durham area, there’s some tough competition! Now, I have a few years of experience in the fields I love (namely, branding and illustration). But designers who are professionally trained and educated, and embrace a one-on-one personal relationship with their clientele, their work is being outsourced.

By who? Folks who have less qualified experience but far less overhead pricing. Look at sites like Fiverr, Tailor Brands, and Wix. You pay for what you get: fast returns and less magic, or a creative-client relationship with flexibility and personality. The latter is a result of quality freelancers and agencies, such as Blenny.

Why Cheap Labor, Well, Cheapens Your Brand

There have been good friends of mine, and strangers alike, who have approached me for work, only to leave the flexibility and personal touch that comes with the relationships for outsourced designers that charge $5.00 for a simple, unrealized design. (Don’t get me wrong, however. A lot of designers on these particular sites are good. But they dilute the marketplace.)

“When we looked at what was out there, we realized that there were options for people that were willing to work for as little as one cent or if you are a very professional freelancer, you probably have some options. But in between, there is a huge gap.”

Founder of Fiverr, Micah Kaufman, to Yahoo.

Do note, not all outsourcing freelance websites are evil. And I get it, both for the clients and for the creatives. Business owners need to save a buck, and designers hit slow periods and need to pay rent. But, I want to challenge anyone dipping their toes into the ocean of good design: know your value. Business owners, your brand is worth investing in. Designers, your work is worth more than you think, so long as you put the work and communication into it.

Designers are people, too. And we can often struggle to estimate our work’s worth. When Fiverr and others advertise logos for $5, that devalues the training and expertise of a professional creative mind. Nearly every business with some semblance of marketing has creative people, designers. Branding matters.

Marketing is responsible for leading revenue growth at 38.4% of companies. Reportedly, major companies spend anywhere between 10 to even 30% of their annual budgets on marketing. Your looks do matter in business. Why spend just $5 on a huge investment?

An actual ad from Fiverr on Facebook.
An advertisement from Fiverr on Facebook. Ouch.

Listen. Money is not easy to come by. That’s understood. You need to work hard and charge reasonable prices. But $100 is already an amazing deal, especially if you’re working with a professional.

99designs suggests if you’re a small business or startup looking for quality design, a good logo design should cost between $300 and $1,300.

Kauffman has also said, “The grand vision of Fiverr is really to create a marketplace where people can start small but take this hobby and create a business out of it.”

The instances of creating a business to support oneself on the website is rare. Yet, one girl has made up to $9,000 on Fiverr doing dozens of jobs. But how much more could she have made if she was charging her real time value, also factoring in her overhead (such as paying for the software she uses)?

Let’s be clear, it’s not about the money. When you work with a professional designer that has training and experience, you get a lot more than just a design.

When I work with my clients, who often become friends, I don’t just talk about color schemes and send them a final file without directions. We talk. We talk about their target audience, their objectives, even their families. I can offer suggestions and practical advice. Working with a client, it’s never just a job but also a chance to learn and to consult one another.

Do you want a logo mark that is recognizable and stands out, one like Disney or Starbucks? There’s value in good design, one that comes from a professional creative working alongside and for their clients.

If you own a business, be strategic – network, negotiate, budget. If you’re a designer, stop selling yourself short and devaluing our industry. Outsourcing websites are not evil, but $5 doesn’t quite get you what you actually dream.

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