Platforms versus Partnerships

Creating a cohesive brand identity on a budget.

Over the last decade of innovation, creativity has found new avenues for expression and design professionals have embraced the freedom afforded by the gig economy. Designers today are not just creators, but entrepreneurs steering their destinies and the emergence of platforms like 99 Designs and Fiverr has revolutionized the way creative professionals operate. These platforms connect businesses with a global pool of talented designers, offering an unprecedented level of choice and flexibility. Designers can work on diverse projects, set their own schedules, and establish a direct connection with clients, fostering a sense of independence that was once out of reach within the rigid structures of traditional agencies. These platforms have become instrumental in liberating designers from the confines of traditional agencies, allowing them to chart their own course in the vast landscape of creative entrepreneurship.

99 Designs and Fiverr, and other gig economy platforms like them, are marketplaces that facilitate collaboration between businesses and freelancers. The benefits are obvious: cost-effectiveness, quick turnaround times, a straight-forward and controlled process, and a variety of deliverables to choose from. Businesses can access a diverse range of talent, making it easy to find a designer whose style aligns with their vision. For smaller enterprises or startups with budget constraints, these platforms offer an attractive solution to obtain professional designs without breaking the bank.

Navigating the Drawbacks

However, the road to design utopia is not without its potholes. What is often lost working across these platforms is a sense of insight and cohesion. Working with individual freelancers may result in a collection of disparate designs, lacking the cohesive narrative that professional brand and creative strategists bring to the table. The absence of a guiding hand can lead to a disjointed brand experience and may compromise the overall effectiveness of the brand.

While 99 Designs and Fiverr offer valuable resources, they often fall short when it comes to strategic thinking and long-term cohesion. Professional design agencies, armed with experienced strategists, provide a more holistic approach. These agencies bring not only individual talent but a team capable of ensuring consistency across various assets. The insight provided by creative strategists elevates designs from mere aesthetics to powerful brand narratives, fostering a connection with the audience.

Perhaps the most impactful drawback is that these platforms create a race to the bottom. While the competition among designers might lower costs for the client, it shifts the focus from the quality and efficacy of the work produced to the cheapest option possible. While budget is always an important factor, you want to judge any particular investment by metrics relative to their efficacy, otherwise it may not be a worthwhile expense at all. Whatever small amount may have been saved, might be what makes the overall project ineffective. You want to be sure that by saving a few hundred dollars you haven’t wasted a few thousand.

Investing in Cohesion and Quality

For those constrained by tight budgets, 99 Designs and Fiverr serve a purpose. Yet, the money spent on these platforms is more likely to be a one-off expense with limited return, rather than a longer-term investment that pays its own dividends. For most businesses, a slightly increased budget opens the door to a more strategic approach. Investing in a partnership with a professional agency fosters a relationship that extends beyond individual projects to grow as the business does. This continuity ensures a cohesive and evolving brand presence—a benefit often sacrificed in the transactional nature of gig economy platforms.

The landscape of design offers a spectrum of choices, each with its merits and drawbacks. While gig economy platforms provide ease and simplicity, the professional touch of agencies remains unmatched in providing deeper insight, coordinated engagement, and effective quality control. Striking a balance between budget and professionalism early on ultimately defines the trajectory of a brand.

It ensures whether your brand merely survives or gets noticed and leads in the ever-evolving brand ecosystem of its market. It’s that hidden layer of consistency that makes the difference between starting a business and building a brand.

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