I call this logo from Fiverr, "Parental Advisory".
They say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. This adage guided me when I recently set out to use Fiverr for graphic design work. Not sure what Fiverr is? In short, it's a web-based service offering graphic design and other freelance work starting at $5 per project. I had heard a lot of confusing chatter about Fiverr in my *broke* entrepreneurial circles - people starting their own businesses typically need lots of low-cost work done by professionals from various fields (e.g. social media, marketing, graphic design, content writing). Fiverr promotes itself as a marketplace that makes these services much more accessible and affordable. But is the $5 promise too good to be true?
I went to Fiverr because I needed a(n affordable) logo for Moneybites. I wanted a more professional looking homepage, and also a clean/modern image for business cards and labels. Full disclosure: I also thought the experience would be blog-worthy.
I knew it wouldn’t necessarily be a simple task. At an SBA workshop I’d heard that I should expect to spend about $200 in order to find a good designer. This doesn’t necessarily mean I would have to hire 40 different freelancers, just that I might have to pay more than $5 to a handful of different people. I was hoping I’d get lucky and only have to hire a carefully selected 1 or 2. Here’s what actually happened...
Note my baller budget.
Requesting a "Gig"
I started by posting my very self-flattering “gig request” around midnight. I also attached the header image from my homepage. By the next morning I had received about ten responses. Each of them offered to create a logo for me within 24 hours, with unlimited editing rounds, at a fee ranging between $5 - $15. I was tempted to just hire one of the 2 women who had responded to my request (because go women designers!) but instead I looked for the designers with the best sample work in their profile.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Before we could begin, Guy #1 wanted me to answer A LOT of questions about my logo. Most of it was info I’d already provided in my gig request... but whatever. I told him that I liked saturated, dark lime/green colors with grey accents, and I reiterated that I’d like images incorporating money and a bite or a mouth. The next day Guy #1 sent me his first sample.
Introducing my new blog: Moneyshotz
Perhaps it goes without saying that I disliked his work. I don't know much about graphic design but it looked like a photoshop job to me. I started to doubt that I’d find a designer who could do both modern and professional level work via Fiverr. I encouraged him to make a few edits, but round two didn’t go much better. I began wondering if it was worth it for me to really dive into my “unlimited” rounds or just start over with someone new.
Then the seller started pushing me to "Accept" his work (as opposed to the other option on Fiverr, which is to "Request More Changes"). I got a form message from him for a second time stating, “If you are satisfied with my work then please mark this order as complete. Drop me 5 stars recommendation. Tip will be highly appreciated.” Hey Guy #1, here’s a tip: Unlimited is not the same thing as three.
I decided to try one more go. I asked him to make the two different parts of the design (the mouth and the money) look like they were designed in the same style, rather than just photoshopped together. I felt kinda rude for making that implication… until I did a Google Image search and found some of the images he'd swiped from online. Unfortunately I hadn't yet done my research and didn't know that this was common practice for designers on Fiverr.
All together the cost for Guy #1 was $17. It was $10 for the service, $5 for the tip (maybe I shouldn't have?), and a $1 charge from Fiverr for the processing of both the original payment and then the tip.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
While fumbling through my first order, I decided to hire a second graphic designer. I was in a bit of a hurry to get my logo so I wanted to expedite the process. I thought that providing additional samples would help. I quickly learned that one should not use Fiverr when in a hurry. It takes a lot of time to get through all of the various editing rounds and awkward communications.
I also quickly learned that having two of these gigs going at the same time is too much work. Some of the designers are very anxious to stay within their promised time frame for a job, and they get upset if you don’t respond to them right away. Guy #2 was really serious about the timeline - he went straight to work and sent me this little nightmare within about 20 minutes:
I would have responded immediately had I not been speechless…
I don't think I need to elaborate on how awful this sample is. Instead I'll focus on a hard fact: this designer either didn't read or didn't understand my instructions. Part of that was to be expected. Everyone I hired through Fiverr likely spoke English as a second or third language (Guy #2 was German). Nonetheless, a simple application of Google Translate's services (and eye glasses?) probably could have prevented this.
Once again I was wondering if I should just jump ship to a new designer or dig into my editing rounds. Regrettably I tried the latter option. I told Guy #2 the following:
Unfortunately this is not really what I am looking for. I would like a very simple logo using symbols related to what I suggested - a mouth and money. I would also like for you to use the color I mentioned - a saturated lime or bright green color. Thank you!
About 20 minutes later I got another sample. I gotta hand it to the guy, he was fast. But his speed was undoubtedly enhanced by the fact that he too was swiping images that I later found via Google Image search.
After 7 editing rounds with Guy #2 in which I continued to ask for something simpler, and provided him with 5 more sample images that I liked, I ended up with this:
Side note: Please message me if you'd like to see the others - they're all insane!
Zombie Bling logo was the end of my engagement with Guy #2. We both agreed that we weren't going to find common ground. All together his work cost me $17 - the $10 fee, plus a $5 tip (what can I say, I have tipper's guilt), and the two dollars for Fiverr's processing fees.
The experience with Guy #2 (who said I was his only unhappy customer, ever) left me wondering if I was a difficult person to work with, or if I was lacking some special skills required to communicate with graphic designers.
Rating: 5 Stars
Guy #3’s main appeal was his promise of “minimalist logo design.” After the last guy, it was exactly what I needed. I had also gotten a lot clearer about what I wanted. I realized that if I had a particular image in mind, I had to describe that image in detail, using visual examples if possible, so I sent some additional images.
This was Guy #3's first attempt:
While it wasn’t what I was looking for, I was hopeful that we might be able to get somewhere after a few rounds. He certainly tried, and his work was much better than #2 (double entendre intended), but I still couldn’t see using it on my website. All together we went three rounds and I spent $9.
Back to the Drawing Board
At this point I was ready to give up. Communicating with the designers had become a full time job and it wasn’t paying off. I’d spent about three days and $43 and had nothing to show for my time and effort.
I started asking friends for referrals. Then remembered why I had come to Fiverr in the first place - because I couldn't afford a regularly priced graphic designer. I was back at square one. Despite my frustration, I decided it was time to honor my initial intuition...
My Sample Images
Rating: 5 Stars
I went into this fourth arrangement certain that it would be my last effort with Fiverr. A deadline was rapidly approaching for one of my projects, and I really wanted to have to logo ready so I could print up some Moneybites swag.
Woman #1 and I got off to a rough start. She put me off for a day or so, and was defensive when I asked her about her timeline. In the meantime I sent her a battery of sample images (see above), hoping she would have a clear idea about was I was looking for.
...And then God's light shone upon me. She finally responded with a host of legitimately viable options. She was also quick to incorporate each one of my nit-picky, follow-up suggestions. In the course of 3 days she sent me over twenty different options. Her only complaint was that she was greatly exceeding her timeline.
After that point I still didn't have a logo I loved, but there were a few that I really liked. Acknowledging that she had already done a massive amount of work, we agreed that I would "accept" her logo, and that we would start a new "gig" to continue perfecting the image. This first gig with her cost a total of $27 after tip and fee.
My second gig with Woman #1, who shall henceforth be known by her Fiverr pseudonym mhhdesigns (go hire her!), was a lightning round. Within a matter of a few hours she had turned a good design into something I really loved.
In all honesty I got a little verklempt when she sent me the final logo. It had a few different elements that I could use separately or together - potentially even subbing some of the images in for the "o" or the "b" in "Moneybites". It felt great to have something really functional that I could be proud of. This second and final round was $20, but came out to $32 with tax and tip.
Without further ado, the new Moneybites logo:
Check out the website next week to see my beloved new logo in action, without the Fiverr watermark of course.
Fiverr's Grade: B-
All together this process took me about 9 days from start to finish. It cost a total of $102, plus a little bit of my sanity. While it's great to have this freelance service available at a more affordable price point, you've got to have a ton of free time in order to make this work. Plus, you basically have to be on call. Otherwise you'll have some very angry freelancers on your hands.
With good referrals this service could be a lot more time and cost effective. Of course now you have a great referral for a graphic designer! Here she is again: mhhdesigns.
Is there a freelancer on Fiverr who you love? Share the knowledge, or just share your tips for using the service, in the comments down below!