Every seasoned business owner can tell you that graphic design is essential for growth. However, the same people will also tell you that getting the best graphic designer is quite a challenge. Fortunately for us, on-demand graphic design services have come up. They are revolutionizing the industry, and businesses are now shifting towards them.
With many companies promising high quality and affordable design, how can you choose? Today, we're going to take a close look at Penji, the unlimited graphic design service from Camden, NJ. You've probably seen good reviews about it, but this time, we'll see if these are justified or not.
On-demand graphic design service
From $399 per month
Penji Discount: Use the code CyberCash15 to receive 15% OFF at the checkout!
In 2017, founders Johnathan Grzybowski and Khai Tran saw the need for graphic design that's affordable, quick, and high quality. Being from agencies themselves, they wanted to change the design landscape while giving back to the community. The initial plan was to find design students within the area, offer them internships and jobs. Today, they have branched out to hire designers from overseas.
Thus, Penji had been born and with a unique selling proposition - unlimited graphic design. At first, it sounded too good to be true, but three years on, the company is thriving more than ever. Their pledge of 10% of their monthly revenues to nonprofits and startups is paying off a hundredfold.
Penji's Unlimited Graphic Design
Penji's business model uses the flat monthly subscription rate for unlimited graphic design and revisions. This means that you'll pay a flat rate, which allows you to send as many design requests as you can in a month. They promise a 24 to 48 hour turnaround time, which, of course, can get longer depending on the complexity of your project.
How Does Penji Work?
First, you'll create your project on their dashboard, which you'll get access to once you sign up. You'll fill in forms to let the designers know what you want them to create. The system automatically assigns your project based on the design category you selected. They have designers who specialize in various genres so you can submit any graphic design type you need.
Once the project is completed, you'll get your first draft. You can send revision requests if you're not fully satisfied with the work. This comes with your subscription plan, so you won't have to pay for changes. And again, you can request as many revisions as you like.
After this, you can download your design and move on to your next project. You don't have to wait for emails to get your design, all the actions happen on their dashboard. Just download the finished work and use it wherever you like. You get full ownership of your designs, so no copyright infringements there.
What Can I Request?
Penji designers are a group of professionals that can create the following design types for you:
There are more, but if what you need isn't on the list, they can custom create them for you.
Who Is Penji For?
According to their website, their client list includes Kohl's, Best Buy, Reebok, UPS, and Lyft, among many others. It shows how varied the designs they can do. Here are a few examples of who the Penji business model is for:
If you're a business owner who needs a steady supply of marketing and advertising materials, Penji is perfect for you. You won't have to waste your time with the recruitment process when hiring graphic designers. Penji will do it for you. With an in-house designer, you only get one set of skills, with Penji you can have them all.
Design agencies that have a lot on their plate can get a design push from Penji. You won't have to hire additional people if the workload gets impossible to cope with. With Penji, you can cancel your subscription anytime your company goes on low seasons and get back on when you get busy again.
Social Media Influencers
You'll never run out of social media graphic designs to post when you sign up for Penji. Make your posts more interesting and engaging with images that are customized for you and you alone.
For bloggers who are in need of images to accompany their blog articles, Penji is the answer. You'll never have to use stock photos again. Check out their works, and you'll see they create some killer infographics.
Plans and Pricing
Penji has three plans, Pro, Team, and Agency. Below is a breakdown of each plan and what they include:
Pro: $399 per month, 1 dedicated designer, 1 user
Team: $499 per month, 1 dedicated designer, 5 users, web and app design, custom illustrations, infographics, 24/7 customer support
Agency: $899 per month, 2 dedicated designers, 10 users, web and app design, custom illustrations, infographics, 24/7 customer support, prioritized support
Note that on their Team and Agency plans, custom illustrations are included. I've looked at other companies with the same business model, and they all have separate plans for illustrations.
All three plans include the following:
- Unlimited design projects
- Unlimited brands
- Unlimited revisions
- Unlimited stock photography
Penji offers a 15-day, 100% money-back guarantee, and discounts if you pay quarterly or yearly. You'll save 10% for the quarterly, while the yearly payment plan will take 15% off your bill. For an even better deal, use code CyberCash15 to get an exclusive discount.
And as promised, no contracts. You won't get bound by any agreement, which means you can opt out anytime you like. You don't have to pay for a service that you aren't using.
Penji Pros and Cons
Reading through all these means you already have a picture of how Penji can work for you. To make it clear, I made a list of all the pros and cons to help you make your decision.
A simple logo can cost anywhere from $100 to thousands. Sure, you can get a $5 one, but more often than not, what you pay for is what you get—cheap design. With Penji, you spend $399, and you get not only beautiful logos but a variety of graphic design types. Plus, you won't find any hidden fees. Your monthly subscription fee is what you'll be charged with, whether you requested one design or dozens.
They say that they only hire the top 2% of all prospective designers. This may be true, judging from the featured image that they made for us, as you can see above. This is probably what sets them apart and makes using templates a waste of your time.
From the account managers to the designers themselves, everyone seems happy to serve you. What's more surprising is that they are easy to reach out to. You send your message on the dashboard and they'll get back to you in no time.
Since they don't believe in contracts, you can stop your subscription any time you need to. This is perfect if you need to take a hiatus. You won't have to pay for graphic design that you didn't use.
Not for Those with Few Design Needs
If you only need a few designs every now and then, Penji may not be for you. The monthly subscription will only become worth it if you're in constant need of designs. Otherwise, if you only need one logo, $399 would be too much for it.
Email Communication Only
Communication with your designers only takes place in emails. If you want to speak to them via phone or chat, you'd be disappointed as there are no other available options. So, if you find it hard to put your ideas in writing, it can be a challenge. The project needs a well-written description, otherwise, they may need to contact you to ask additional questions to clarify. This, in turn, will lengthen the turnaround time.
Penji Review: The Verdict
Hiring a freelance or in-house graphic designer comes with ups and downs. Finding one can be a tedious task, not to mention vetting them. If you do find one, chances are, they won't be adept at creating a multitude of designs. A great logo designer may not understand web design well, or an app designer may have a hard time with illustrations.
Additionally, graphic design can be expensive. It's not something that you scrimp on, but if you can find a more affordable alternative, why not? As of July 2020, Salary.com estimates the average yearly salary of a graphic designer is $75,140. That's around $6,261 a month!
So it's no surprise that when you hear about Penji, your initial reaction may be skepticism. After all, unlimited graphic design may be too good to be true. All your visual design needs for a low flat monthly rate? But it is true.
Working with Penji is a breeze. The graphic designers are very accommodating. It's evident that English isn't their native tongue, but does it really matter? The designs always come out amazingly good. They go out of their way to ask questions if they don't understand something. The unlimited revisions assure you that the end result is perfect to your liking.
Also, the turnaround time is relatively quick. Of course, the more complex projects such as mobile app designs or custom illustrations can take longer. I've heard of people getting a freelancer who disappears out of thin air without completing the project. This, after you've waited for a long time to get the work done.
With Penji, you won't have to worry about designers abandoning your work. Their team is topnotch and reliable. You also have the option to replace a designer if you find that their work doesn't suit you.
Overall, my experience with Penji has been fulfilling. Sure I've read some poor reviews as well, but the advantages definitely outweigh all of them. Affordable, quick, and friendly service, what's not to like?
Tips for First-Time Penji Users
If you do decide to try Penji's unlimited graphic design services, here are a few pointers to get the most out of your subscription.
Line up your projects in the queue
While waiting for your project to be completed, load the others in the queue. So once one gets done, you won't waste time creating the new projects. It's already there waiting for their turn. You can forget about them until you get a notification that a project is finished.
Write brief yet thorough project descriptions
As I mentioned earlier, make sure that your project descriptions are clear. This will save you time as well as lessen the need for revisions. Details such as the target audience may seem insignificant, but they will greatly help the designer with your project. If you can, attach examples that the designers can use as references. They won't copy them, but use them as guides to help them understand what exactly you're looking for.
It won't hurt to be courteous to your designers
Your designers will try their best to make you happy. It won't hurt to give them feedback as they thrive on good ones. A little respect will go a long way in making them comfortable working and sharing their talents with you. On the other hand, if you do find something you dislike, constructive criticism will surely help improve the entire process.
Check the dashboard regularly
When you create a project, you'll instantly get notifications about its progress. But regularly checking the dashboard is also recommended. You'll see your project's progress in real-time.
Give the designers a chance to incorporate their ideas
Penji's graphic designers have the expertise and experience in their field. You can try to give them free rein or ask about their ideas on what would work best for the project. What you have in mind may be good, but a pro's perspective may just be the ticket. What they come up with may even surprise you.