Cost-effective design firm options

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Get creative in meeting design needs

You know your job. You have to in order to be in the world of entrepreneurship.

Small-business ownership demands that you also learn a few things outside of your specialty like accounting, marketing and a healthy dose of law.

Of course, you can’t be an expert on everything. For many people in the small business world, creative or artistic pursuits can be a black hole. Personally dipping your toe in the worlds of graphic design, video production, or even professional photography is an endeavor you may waste weeks, if not months, of your time on and come out the other end less than satisfied with the result. Thankfully, some people do live in this world and are only a few keyboard taps away from covering your creative needs.

Here in central Iowa, a number of local freelance graphic designers and creative shops are certainly eager to take you on as a client. But if your time is truly precious, you may not be willing to put in the hours to hunt for the right fit for your firm. One day you may develop an outside creative team relationship, but for logos, banners and marketing materials on the fly, you may benefit from something more immediate. Thankfully, some forward-thinking creatives have foreseen your predicament and turned design shopping into a plug-and-play affair.

Design marketplaces such as 99 designs, Design Contests, Design Crowd, Crowdspring, 48 Hours Logos and others connect companies to a hive of eager designers looking to whip up marketing materials in mere hours. The benefits of these sites is literally hundreds of designers are available to commission work from. The pricing is generally a sliding scale based on your needs.

If you’d prefer to fight for the lowest bid, sites like 48 Hour Logos or Design Contests may be your solution. They allow you to post a project wherein you detail the materials, design style, and/or file types you need, and interested designers bid on the job. On the other end, if you’d like to retain a designer for a specific time, sites like 99 Designs offer fees starting at $299 per month to work with a specific designer that you pick out.

Finally, another option is to simply grab stock design materials through sites like Graphic River or others. Here you can purchase generic logos, website designs, letterheads and other creative templates until you can build a relationship with a local design shop. ♦

Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.

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