Failory’s Unlimited Design Services: 2020 Guide & The Top +25
I’ve hired lots of design freelancers in the past but in my recent attempt to redesign this website, I had such a bad experience that I decided to try something new (for me): unlimited design services.
I spent a whole day going through the alternatives and comparing them on my notes app. It was super stressful!
They all offer different things, with specific limits. I had no clue where to focus when analyzing them and how much should I pay for something like that.
I eventually decided to hire one and the experience was amazing (and everything at a really low cost).
Based on my notes and experience, I decided to write this +10,000-word guide.
In the first section, I cover what are unlimited design services, what are their benefits, who can benefit from them, what to consider when subscribing to one and how to take the biggest advantage of them.
In the second section, I analyze +25 services in terms of pricing, how they work, tasks accepted, turnaround times and previous work done by them as well as share my thoughts about each of these. Along with some of them, you will find huge and unique discounts 😉
Go on reading to learn how to save thousands of $$$ per month in design freelancers, agencies and employees, while still getting high-quality work done…
What’s an Unlimited Design Service?
If you’re an online business, such as a SaaS, e-commerce, app or whatever, you probably need lots of design tasks done every month, such as a new landing page, weekly social media posts or high-ROI ADs.
However, if you’re not a huge business making 6-7 figures/year, chances are that you don’t have any in-house designers. According to Indeed, the average salary of a designer in the US is $66,297 so most bootstrapped businesses can’t afford paying this.
The old solution would be to hire a freelancer and get specific design tasks done. But if you have done that in the past, you probably know that the quality can be really bad, it takes a lot of time to both look and manage freelancers and that there isn’t much consistency between the work delivered by each of them.
That’s where unlimited design services arise; a middle point between hiring a freelancer and having an in-house designer (particularly if it’s not just one task that you need to get done).
An unlimited design service is a sort of design agency to whom you pay every month and you can request them to do unlimited designs of all the things you need.
Unlimited!? How Can That Be Possible?
That’s the question everyone asks. Can I just go, pick the membership for one month, ask them to do a thousand design jobs for the whole year and then just cancel the plan?
Well, you could do all the requests for those designs but you wouldn’t get them done in one month.
What most unlimited design services do is to limit the number of concurrent designs that they work in.
You can request a thousand designs, but the service will work on them one by one. The amount of time it takes them to finish each of them (which depends on how complex the task is) is what will define how many designs you can get every month.
You will see that most services do one concurrent task, but some offer more (even 6, which can be super useful for agencies!) depending on which plan you get.
Pros and Cons of Unlimited Design Services
The best way to understand the benefits and disadvantages of unlimited design services is to compare them with three other ways of getting design work done: hiring in-house, hiring a design agency and hiring a freelancer.
Unlimited Design Service vs. Hiring in House
As I said before, the costs of hiring an in-house designer are enormous so no new, small, medium or bootstrapped business can afford it.
Most design services, for example, are 95-80% cheaper than hiring an average-salary in-house designer, without even considering the costs of recruiting, health insurance, training, etc.
This is also related to the benefit of how simple (and free!) is to move from one unlimited design service to another, in comparison to the time and costs involved in looking, recruiting and firing an employee.
However, the big disadvantages of hiring a designer come with the benefits of him working part or full time in your business which brings faster turnarounds than design services, as well as the possibility of having a design view that’s super aligned with your business’ strategy and objectives.
Unlimited Design Service vs. Hiring a Design Agency
When hiring a design agency, a strict agreement is signed which states what will be done, what’s not included, for when, how many revisions are accepted, etc.
On many occasions, design projects vary as they move one. The direction may change, many revisions might be needed and sub-projects might be added. All that, when hiring a design agency, involves extra costs.
When getting a design done by an unlimited service, unlimited changes can be done as well. For example, when this site was being re-designed by the service I hired, we moved from a blue background to a white one, which required changes in our logo (we haven’t launched the new site yet). That was done without any extra cost.
On the side, design agencies tend to be more expensive than unlimited services (although there are of all forms and types). Failory’s website redesign was quoted at +$2,000 by 3 agencies I reached out to and I was able to get it done for less than half.
However, design agencies do also have some benefits. The first one is the kind of trait you receive. It can be more personalized (as prices are higher) and they might be willing to interiorize more with the business.
The second one is the deadlines. Agencies can get any urgent work with tight deadlines done super fast (at higher costs), while unlimited design services will take more to deliver.
Finally, the unlimited design service world is just beginning and there aren’t as many as design agencies. This means that there aren’t any unlimited services focused on a specific niche or industry as many design agencies are.
Unlimited Design Service vs. Hiring a Freelancer
Finally, and as I had anticipated, unlimited design services have some benefits over hiring a freelancer.
In the first place, the quality of the work is always the same. When hiring design freelancers in the past, I’ve come with disgusting surprises. No matter how well you check their portfolios, there are always chances that the work doesn’t fit what you were expecting. With unlimited design services, you can simply ask for another designer to take care of the task you need.
Secondly, it takes much less time to hire an unlimited service than posting a freelancing gig, talking with candidates, shortlisting the best ones and selecting one.
Lastly, it’s sometimes really hard to achieve consistency between your design work when working with many different freelancers. They might have different styles, leading to social posts that don’t fit with the branding colors and layout, for example. In an unlimited design service, the same designers will be caring of your project in all design aspects needed.
What’s important to consider is that hiring freelancers is still a really great method for businesses that don’t need many design tasks done. If you just need a logo, there’s no big sense in hiring a month of unlimited design done.
How to Know When to Go With an Unlimited Design Service
Unlimited design services aren’t a great fit for anyone who needs to get done some design work, but they are really useful in a lot of different cases:
- Side hustlers: If you have a side-project (as Failory is for me) you probably have few time to work on it. Delegating design tasks is a great way to make space in your calendar to focus on other aspects of the business. If it is a side hustle it also probably means it isn’t making much $/month, so a cheap unlimited design service can be a perfect fit.
- Bootstrappers: If your side-project becomes your full-time business (especially if it is an online one), there’re big chances you will need even more design tasks, but still have a small budget to spend on them. A graphic-only design service can be a perfect way to limit your time spent in design tasks, while still having great designs on your ADs, blog articles, social media posts, etc.
- Startup: Unlimited design services provide flexibility to startups, which is all they want. They also scale along with the business and can adjust to the needs of the startup throughout time.
- Medium/Large Businesses: I think the best fit here is when the business has some monthly design tasks to be done, but not enough to hire an in-house designer to work on them. There are some services that specialize on medium and large businesses, adapting them to their way of communication and working.
- Agencies: Marketing and development agencies can benefit a lot from design services. They can adjust to the client’s needs and offer them wider solutions without adding the risks and costs of hiring an in-house designer and then having no tasks for him.
- Freelancers: They can benefit from these services in a similar way agencies can do. In the cases where they get too much work to be done, on the side, they can delegate part of it to such a service.
I mention all cases in which the user needs many design tasks per month, but what if I just need a new branding or website?
That’s actually what I used a design service for. I just got this website completely re-design and the logo updated. I just paid for one month of subscription and was able to get it done at a cheaper price than what other freelancers and agencies quoted it.
That’s why I also believe that in some cases where only one or few tasks are needed, a great alternative to agencies, freelancers and, of course, hiring in-house, is getting unlimited design services for 1-2 months.
How to Take the Biggest Advantage from your Subscription
Unlimited design services aren’t a SaaS you pay $15/month to have access to and that if you don’t use them, nothing happens.
Their prices tend to go from $200-$1,500/month so you must make use of your subscription to get the value back.
That’s why I wanted to share some tips that can help you take the biggest advantage from your monthly payment:
- Tell them (and your dedicated designer, if you have) about your business, objectives and vision so that you are all on the same page.
- Share them your logos (in any file you have), colors and any other brand asset that can ease the designer’s work.
- Explain the designer about your preferences and share him/her some designs you like.
- Before getting the membership, think about some big tasks you need to get solved (if you have), some simpler ones and some others that will repeat every month.
- Once you purchase the membership, make sure to set up all the communication methods that fit you and your business the best.
- Write detailed descriptions on what you need for each task. If you are clear with your instructions, the faster the turnaround will be, the less the revisions you will have to make and the more advantage you will get from your plan.
What to Look When Deciding on an Unlimited Design Service
This is something I struggled with when deciding which design service to go with. They have really complex plans with lots of features and limits, so it’s hard to decide which one fit the best with one’s needs.
After analyzing +100 plans of these design services, I came with 6 points that I consider important when comparing them, which also are the ones I will be talking about for each design service I analyze below:
- Pricing: There are services with prices going from $200 to $1500 per month. Make sure to choose one that you know you can afford paying to even in months when things don’t go well.
- Tasks included: Some of these services only focus on graphic tasks, others in web ones, some others accept both of them and some even accept other services like development, video editing and marketing. Make sure to go to their FAQs or “Scope of Services” pages and check whether the tasks you need are included or not and in which plans, as in some occasions they accept them but only in their most expensive plans.
- Concurrent tasks: This is the amount of tasks they can work in at the same time, which defines how fast you can get work done as well. Many services have one concurrent task for their cheapest plans and 1 or 2 for their expensive ones. Some others offer many more and allow you to customize this.
- Turnarounds: The delivery times vary between each service and each of their plans. Most of them offer turnarounds of 1-3 business days (depending on the type of task), although there are some who offer same day delivery in their superior plans.
- Communication: They also have different ways of doing work. A high percentage have a dashboard where you can manage requests. Some others only offer communication through email. The best ones also offer collaboration through Slack or phone.
- Previous work: It’s key to check their portfolios and the quality of the work they have recently done. It’s super easy to differentiate good from bad design. It’s also easy to see which service fits with your design tastes.
Having said this, let’s move to the top +25 design services.
On The List Of The Top +25 Unlimited Design Services – Kimp!
Kimp is a service with its HQ in Ontario, Canada and a team of full-time designers. Their promise is not to outsource work or hire freelancers, in order to provide consistently high-quality designs to clients. Their brand and site looks really professional and polished. They play with the concepts of monkeys and bananas.
Pricing: They only have one plan: $389/mo (though you can contact them if you have special needs). You get unlimited designs and revisions. They do all types of designs except to motion graphics, 3D rendering and website or app design. They have a 7-day trial when you’re not billed.
Discount: Use this link to get a 20% discount on your 2 first months with Kimp.
Web/app design: It isn’t included in their site, but if you contact them for this or any other kind of task that’s not represented in the site; they’re willing to work on something customized to your needs.
Turnaround: They claim to deliver 2-3 designs per business day, which is much faster than many other services out there. Of course this applies to simple tasks. If it is more complex, such as a presentation or brochure, the turnaround is longer.
How they work: They work with two methods: the old and classic email and a system they have created within Trello that connects with Zapier, in case you want to connect it with any other tool, like Slack. They have a 7-minute video on how this system works.
Thoughts: I haven’t tried it myself but the site and brand already show that they are designers who know what they do. They have also done a great job in terms of business strategy, which gives me the trust they are business-oriented when designing. At the end, they have a free trial so there isn’t much to lose.
With 9 reviews in Clutch, they have a rating of 4.9/5. All are 5 stars except for one person who put 4.5 as he believes there’s “room for improvement” in terms of quality.
Previous Work: I’ve gone through their client work and they show a great talent for illustration and social media work, though I don’t like their landing pages and some other formats. You can judge it yourself here.
To check out Failory’s full guide to Unlimited Design Services click here.