If you’ve ever been too busy to design social media images, YouTube thumbnails or any visual media for your business chances are you’ve considered outsourcing a Graphic Designer.
Maybe you feel you have too much work to afford outsourcing, well maybe you could consider a monthly graphic design service like Penji.
Penji basically allows you to get designs created for you, throughout the month for one fixed fee.
But is it any good? Is it worth the money?
Well the team at Penji have granted me access to their service so I’ve submitted a few design jobs to test out this service.
Let’s get to it!
You can also watch this video of my experience, but i have also written a post detailing it all underneath.
I cannot let you know how much work you can expect to get done within a month, I only had approval to submit 3 jobs. But I can let you know about the overall experience and importantly – the quality of the work.
So I submitted the following:
- A character/illustration for a mascot style logo
- A social media post which was an Instagram Carousel for me
- A logo for a Fitness Website
To start off, let’s check out the results, or skip ahead to my final thoughts.
Job 1. Electrosheep Dojo – Character Illustration
This job is simple.
The name already existed and belongs to a YouTube channel for a lofi beat creator (check out Electrosheep Dojo here).
We had the idea of a cross between Raiden and a sheep. Sp I sent the following examples below:
The gorilla is a drawing style, with the hat and pictures of Mortal Kombat’s Raiden for reference (and for the pose). The team asked a couple of simple questions, and sent through this rough sketch:
This I liked. I sent it to Michael at Electrosheep Dojo, and he loved it but instead wanted a Samurai style helmet. So the first vector came through:
This was heading in the right direction, so we asked for some color changes. After another proof, I asked for some more shading and to give it a bit more life. This was what they sent through.
I thought this was alright, bot spectacular. But Mike (being the client) okayed it. I personally would have liked to see a bit more finer detail added but overall it was good.
To cure my satisfaction, I created an image with a little more depth using the illustration, which Mike has used:
Overall, I felt this was a good job that would satisfy most people. With more communication you could steer it even further. But nonetheless, a win.
Job 2. Instagram Carousel – Social Media Post
So this job was simple, I wanted to turn this blog post into an Instagram Carousel. So I refined the text and sent a document covering the content and described my fonts and brand to the team. They sent me back this:
So this is clean, crisp and follow my brand guidelines exactly. I don’t think you could do any better with the info given – unless you really got creative with it. I did intentionally leave a few typos in there as a test, which they didn’t pick up. So I communicated the corrections.
I did also want the front cover to be solid photo, so they sent an update. I then asked for a solid box behind the text, with a fade either side. There were some communication issue sbut they sent throguh some options:
The first image is exactly what I was asking for, so I ran with it. You can see the post here on Instagram.
Job 3. Fitness for Humans – Logo
OK, i wasn’t expecting the full corporate logo design experience here. You pay thousands for that kind of thing. But as far as a logo for a website or a small business goes, I figured Penji would be perfect.
So I asked them to ‘go nuts’ with their creativity on this one. But sent through some ideas I liked:
They got to work, but I was expecting 3 or 4 concepts to start with but I got two. I wasn’t a huge fan of what I got but it’s not necessarily bad work. Here’s what was sent…
I didn’t like this one at all, nor do I think it matched the style I sent. But it’s not bad and many people would like a logo like this. So, I looked at the second one…
This isn’t bad as it combines the F & H in a funny way to make a human (who looks like he’s doing a Naruto run). So I asked for some adjustments in color and fonts and to simplify.
After a few minor back and forths, I got this below, which I approved.
So the next step, getting the logo files.
Most Logo designers will send each variation of the file in a number of formats for you to use, but when I downloaded them what I got was quite incomplete, and they supplied the incorrect font.
This isn’t a big deal.
All you need to do here is make sure you ask for a version of each logo variation in the following formats: Jpg, Transparent PNG, PDF & AI file. What was supplied by default was pretty lousy, but it’s a simple fix – just ask for the files you need.
My final thoughts on Penji.
It’s a great service for the right people.
Like anything, there’s people this service is going to suit and people it won’t. I am came at it from the perspective of a professional, indemand graphic designer – but I considered all angles when using this.
The chat function and commenting tool seen in my video are fantastic. You get a nice simple overview of your jobs and the system itself works great.
Who is this for?
You’re not going to want to be computer illiterate to use this service, but if you’re busy or not good at visual design, it could be for you.
If you run a small business (online or offline) it can be a great way to get things done with a decent level of design.
Based on my experience, Penji is great for:
- Basic/decent designs (not high end)
- Social Media posts and adhering to brand guidelines
- YouTube thumbnails
- Flyers and basic print material
- Basic logo design (but be specific about what files you want).
The more you communicate what you’re after, the better result you’ll get. But be patient, as it can take a day for revisions to come back to you, so each job will take time.
Penji isn’t good for…
…high level design and branding.
Don’t get me wrong, 95% of people will find this useful. But I found certain areas of Penji’s design weren’t as refined as some of the top tier stuff out there – and that’s ok, most people can’t afford that level of work.
If you’re looking for a high level brand creation and top tier design you’f be paying thousands of dollars. If you really want your Brand to go to international levels, Penji may or may not be able to do that for you.
But it is great for pumping out clean, professional work that can do the job for most people starting out or running local businesses.
Penji is a great budget solution which I believe offers incredible value beyond it’s price.
If you’re keen to see for yourself, check out Penji here.
I am personally considering whether or not I use Penji for outsourcing basic work of my own. However, I would be using them to start the process while I fine tuned the final result as I didn’t quite receive the level of work I personally believe I produce. But I have been designing professionally for almost 20 years.
But tell me, what did you think of the designs presented? Have you used Penji? Let me know you thoughts in the comments below.
Otherwise, have a great day and see you again soon!