If you’re in the Print on Demand business then unless you’re a designer yourself and have plenty of time available you’re going to need someone to create designs for you. There are plenty of different options out there from finding freelancers to employing design students from the local college, but in this article we are going to do a deep dive Design Pickle review and check out the services they provide.
What is Design Pickle?
Design Pickle is a company who have a pool of creative resources who you can hire on a monthly or annual basis to work on a range of design briefs that you provide them. Just think of it as if you are employing an extra member of staff, without having the hassle of recruitment, screening, payroll, HR issues etc etc
Basically Design Pickle have snapped up a lot of the creative talent from the Philippines and they can now become part of your team.
How Does Design Pickle Work?
The basic concept is that you are assigned a designer to work on your account and they are given a certain amount of time each day to work on your deliverables.
You simply need to create a design brief for each deliverable and submit this via Design Pickle’s online system, which then goes into a queue for your allocated designer to work on.
What Kind of Designs can I Expect?
I mainly use Design Pickle for my Merch by Amazon designs and KDP covers but you can ask your designer to work on pretty much anything, apart from custom illustrations.
Typically the scope of their work is limited to manipulating source assets to create new unique versions based on your concept, rather than creating unique illustrations and artwork from scratch. For me this is perfect for Merch by Amazon where my strategy is more about having good ideas than spending lots of money on custom illustrations and perfect deliverables.
As you’ll see below, there is also a really cool integration with Getty Images for a small monthly fee, which means you can choose from an awesome range of source assets that a lot of your competitors won’t have access to, which gives you unique designs.
How Many Designs will I Receive a Day?
This question is really hard to answer because it depends on the complexity of the design that you are submitting.
However, as a guide I would say I typically get 1 – 2 completed design requests a day from my designer.
For each design request my designer usually provides 2 – 3 options, and a lot of the time I can then scale these designs out across multiple niches, so the value of these design requests increases.
To make it clearer lets take a look at what a typical design request would look like for me and how I would send that to my designer:
Design Pickle Workflow
Submitting a Design Request
This is what the design request form looks like and it’s as simple as adding the dimensions of the assets that you want, a description of the deliverable, any source assets you want to reference and the file type that you would like the asset delivered in (Usually I get .png files and the source Adobe Illustrator files)
Getty Images Integration
One great option that the team at Design Pickle have added on to this service is an integration with Getty Images.
When you are submitting your design requests you’ll see the ‘Photos’ option which you can use to search for source assets for your designer to use.
I also find this a really useful place to find new ideas when I’m scrolling through the different images available and is a key part of my creative process.
Lets take the example below, where I’m doing a St Patricks Day design and have done a search for ‘leprechaun’ you’ll see that it brings a wide ragne of vectors that I can use for my design request:
The one thing to note with this, however, is that although you are allowed to use these designs for commercial use the license is limited to a single use. That means you are allowed to use it only for this design concept, so you can’t take the source file and use it for other designs that you want to create, unless that is done as part of a separate design request.
Completed Design Requests
Each day your designer will work on the design requests at the top of their queue and when they have finished the request you’ll receive an email and a link to the files with any feedback from the designer which looks like this:
You can either submit feedback to your designer and ask them to make further tweaks and revisions or if you’re happy just download the final source files and give your designer the thumbs up or any feedback they should take into the next design request.
Allright, so that’s all pretty simple, right, so lets looks at the pros and cons of the Design Pickle Service.
Design Pickle’s Bad Points
Well, this is a weird one because it’s both a pro and a con of the Design Pickle service and that’s the fact that you are allocated a single designer on your account and that can have a massive impact on the quality of your deliverables.
If you end up with a designer that you don’t get on with, doesn’t quite understand your style or requirements or just simply isn’t good enough then you’re not going to receive the standard of work you’re looking for.
The good thing with Design Pickle is if this does happen, then they will quite happily let you request to swap out your designer.
I’ve used Design Pickle for over 2 and a hald years and initially had an awesome designer who understood everything that I wanted and was a kick ass designer…. in fact he was so good that he got promoted into the illustrations department, which meant he left my account and was replaced by another designer who wasn’t up to scratch.
I gave him a few months grace and then asked for him to be replaced and now I’ve got another kick ass designer instead!
No Custom Illustrations
Yes, unfortunately the designers are limited to manipulating images, adding text and creating their own versions of images and if you want custom illustrations done you’ll have to use their other services.
Occassionally I’ve snuck in a few simple illustrations to my designers but generally their line manager will stop these from going ahead.
Limited Getty License
As I mentioned before the Getty Image license is restricted to Single Use License, which means you can’t use this to create other designs from unless you send in another design request.
I think you can get away with scaling out the design to different niches, but that’s probably a bit of a grey area as well.
Design Pickle’s Good Points
Because you’ve bought a subscription with Design Pickle this means that it;s up to you to make sure your designer has enough briefs to work through, otherwise you’re paying them to do nothing!
If you’re a tight ass like me then this keeps you super motivated to make sure they never get to a point where their queue is empty, which in turn means you’ve always got a steady stream of new designs for you to upload.
This was a massive factor in me being able to get up to Tier 8000 in Merch by Amazon relatively quickly and I now have over 4000 unique designs created.
Getty Integration Rocks
For me this is a killer feature as you have such a huge range of top quality vectors that you can choose from for pretty much any niche that it will really help your designs stand out from your competitors.
It’s also a way for you to get top level illustrations for really minimal prices… just search the image library, choose some awesome illustrations, add those to your design request, your designer makes a few amends then you have your own awesome graphic!
Because you are allocated a single designer to your account it means that you get time to develop a working relationship with them.
If you give them constructive feedback on your design requests then it won’t be long before they really understand they style of design that you are looking for and will need less instruction on future design requests.
After a few months of working with my designers I could give them a very minimal design brief and usually they would hit the mark with it, which saves lots of time.
It’s also worth noting that their level of English is pretty good so mis-communication is not generally an issue.
Ok, so that’s my review of the Design Pickle for you, so lets have a look at how much this is going to cost you…
How Much Does Design Pickle Cost?
If you buy an annual subscription it works out at about $319 per month with another $25 on top for the Getty Image subscription.
Now, that might sound like a lot, however, lets break this down a little to see the true cost:
- 21.62 = average number of working days per month
- 4 Unique Designs per day minimum (2 design requests with 2 variations)
- 83 Unique designs per month
- $4.14 Cost per design (344/83)
If you take into consideration the fact that a lot of these designs can be scaled out into other niches as well, then your per design cost is really, really low.
To me it’s a no brainer, and will really help you grow your Print on Demand Business.
Design Pickle Review Summary
Like I say, I ‘ve been using this service for more that 2 years now and have for most of the time been extremely happy with the service.
For platforms such as Merch by Amazon I think Design Pickle is the perfect partner for creating low cost, good quality designs.
However, if you’re looking for top quality illustrations then I’d recommend a service like Penji instead of Design Pickle’s Illustration service (which I personally haven’t used yet).
Design Pickle Review Video
If you’d like to see Design Pickle in action, here’s a little video I put together of the platform: