Website & App Design – DIY, Hire or Templates?

One major challenge in creating online business is setting up a face for your company’s online presence. Especially for startups, where operational budgets are fairly limited and executive tends to be most cautious in spending management (which is a good thing), founders tends to question himself whether or not hiring or sourcing designer dedicated to inventing a unique face for company’s website are required. Good designers aren’t cheap. In fact, it can be one of your highest expense if you are looking at the wrong place. I happened to be on the same shoes, when my company just started it’s operation, the needs of a good design that can bring in customers is of highest importance, but our operational budget are nowhere near to enough for hiring a decent artist. Luckily, internet is a vast and gorgeous place, there are options that I could chose which is both affordable and the results are pretty good!

1. Partially Unique Design (Cost: avg. $50/template)

What I meant by partial unique design is that the designs are based on heavily configurable templates, that could create a uniqueness without requiring further artist works and code development. Such themes/templates can be acquired rather easily on Design/Template Marketplace such as ThemeForest. With Partially Unique Design, the only sourced design works that you needs are mostly banners, header images and logo.

Pros: It has a much faster turnaround then creating a unique design on your own, usually have a lot of value-added features such as responsive design and retina ready. It’s the most affordable way to create your business identity.

Cons: It’s not entirely unique, usually not the most performing because of the added features, and not really exposing your corporate identity.

Recommended for: Startup

2. Crowdsourced Design (Cost: Ranging from $300 to $2000+, depending on the prize you set)

A new hype in design industry. This works pretty much like a contests, you set the prize, and then a lot of designers will chime in and submit their design for you to review. The best design that you chose is given the prize money. The higher the prize you set, more of the designers that are joining the contest. My favorite platform that allows you to do this is 99designs.com

Pros: It is unique design you get on a pretty decent cost. Short and guaranteed turnaround time as there are time limit for submission.

Cons: While experienced designer are usually participates in the platform, the best one usually did not as they maintain a their own clientele and prices. There’s also no guarantee that the design quality would be as good as what you expected. (Although some of these crowdsourcing platform offers money back guarantee if that’s the case)

Recommended for: Small-medium business

3. Hiring Dedicated (or a Team of) Designer (Cost: Usually $2000+ for a quality design)

The traditional means. You do your research on some designer’s portfolio website, or looking around at meta portfolio’s website such as dribbble and then contacting and hiring them personally.

Pros: Since you have looked at their portfolio, the quality of the works are usually up to what you expected.

Cons: There is no telling about the designer’s work ethic, if you’re unlucky, missing deadline is the least of your problem. Usually cost premium.

Recommended for : Experienced Entrepreneur