Is cheap graphic design worth it?

If you only pay a little for design work, what’s the harm? If you don’t like it, you’re only out a little money. You can just try again, right?

That’s what I was thinking, anyway.

I’ll be honest, though. Even though I ended up trying, I’ve never been a fan of low-end marketplaces like theirs.

How low can you go?

In case you’re not familiar, the idea is that you can get a valuable service at a super-cheap price. Design work, for example.

From what I’ve seen, you get what you pay for. But (I reasoned) I was struggling with and wasting time on something I really should have delegated.

Since the project hadn’t yet made significant money (I further reasoned), I shouldn’t incur significant expenses.

And, I figured that I needed to market the project. An infographic would help.

I chose someone on Fiverr who had excellent reviews. Her portfolio looked great. I hedged my bet by not completely cheaping out.

Like, $25+ instead of $5. Still disgustingly cheap for graphic design, if you’re wondering.

You pay for what you get

Everyone’s experience is likely to be a little different, but in this instance the designer’s incomplete grasp of the English language turned a shoulda-been quickie job (for which I supplied all text and some graphics) into a genuine ordeal.

2.5 weeks and four revisions later, I finally received an acceptable graphic with no mistakes.

For the last two revisions, I marked up the graphic to indicate exactly what needed to change. It worked only marginally better.

I wondered how the woman had such stellar reviews. After struggling through four rounds of back-and-forth with her, I was sure my issues couldn’t be isolated incidents.

I felt bad, but I left her this two-star review so others would be aware before deciding to work with her:

The end result was good, but my requests were repeatedly misunderstood. I’d request changes, and in a couple of days receive a graphic that had only some of the changes I requested, along with new mistakes or misinterpretations. It took about two weeks of back & forth to finish. Frustrating.

So that’s how she does it

Soon after leaving that review, I discovered how the designer maintained her positive review status: I received an e-mail from her asking me to please delete my review and offering me a full refund.

If I deleted that review some other person would see only glowing reviews and hire her, and go through the same ordeal I did. Good thing I didn’t have a hard deadline.

I did not delete the review, BTW.

Still interested in cheap graphic design?

If you are ever in a situation where you need inexpensive design work, it’s fine to try Fiverr, 99Designs, etc. – if you don’t expect much.

The designer I chose left telltale signs in her service description that she wasn’t proficient in English. I mistakenly gave them a whole lot less weight than the glowing reviews of her work and her service.

Pro tip: Don’t believe reviews.

Finally, assume the less you pay the worse the quality.

When you add up what I paid the designer, plus the number of hours I spent going back and forth with her, my “cheap” infographic cost me over $500.


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