Design Pickle Review: Quality Graphic Design Just Got More Affordable

As a business owner, I’m sure you will agree that design is an important for branding.

First impressions matter, and your logo and other graphic elements can actually make a difference in how your potential customers view you right away.

So having visually appealing graphics on your site and other assets will help you stand out.

Design Pickle Review

Last updated: July 13, 2019
Initially published on: July 13, 2019
Product rating: 4.6 / 5.0

tl;dr Summary
If you need to get design and graphics done on a consistent basis, Design Pickle is a quality service at a reasonable price.

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But if you don’t have a design background, then knowing how to get good graphics created for you is hard!

If it’s not the hours of frustration spent inside Photoshop trying to do it all yourself, then it’s the thousands of dollars spent trying to outsource it to professional freelancers, with mixed results.

Services like Design Pickle aim to solve this problem by offering unlimited design on an affordable monthly subscription.

Sounds too good to be true? Let’s find out.

I spent a bit of time using Design Pickle, so I wanted to share my experiences with the service.

Design Pickle Logo

Here’s what I’m going to cover in this Design Pickle review.


What Is Design Pickle?

Design Pickle was founded by Russ Perry in 2015 and it has evolved into a platform that offers unlimited graphic design work for a fixed monthly fee.

It works by assigning you to a specific graphic designer who will then work through your graphic design requests in a queue-like system. While there is no limit to the number of requests you can make, there is a practical limit on how many requests are processed each day.

Requests can be anything from simple social media thumbnails and featured images for your blog posts to more complex designs such as web page designs and advanced infographics.

The volume of and complexity of your requests depends on the type of plan you have, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Who Is Design Pickle Targeted To?

Design Pickle is targeted for businesses who have a consistent need to produce between 10 to 30 visuals a month, but don’t have:

  1. The time to create those graphics themselves or teach new team members how to do it on their behalf.
  2. The skillset to create quality, consistent graphics that compliment their website and content.
  3. The budget to hire a full-time designer, whether that be in-house staff or a professional freelancer.

If you can safely place yourself in one (or multiple) of these buckets, Design Pickle is probably the answer you’re looking for.

What Are Some Of My Favorite Things About Design Pickle?

Best thing #1: You don’t have to interview a bunch of different designers

If you don’t have the budget for dedicated designer, then you’re probably stuck hiring freelancers for every individual job you have.

Interviewing is a pain in the butt, especially if you lack design skills like I do.

Personally, I know what looks good when I see it, but I’m not always great at communicating what I want beforehand.

And while you might eventually find a freelancer you like, there’s no guarantee they will be available for your next project.

What I like about Design Pickle is that you get a designer that’s already been vetted by Design Pickle themselves. That saves me a lot of potential headache.

Best thing #2: Designers *actually* follow instructions

If you’ve ever worked with designers freelancers before, you’ll know that communication is often the biggest challenge.

While you can’t expect anyone to read your mind, you can expect basic instructions to be followed. Unfortunately, as someone who has hired their fair share of freelancers over the years, that doesn’t always happen.

Now, I don’t know what Design Pickle’s hiring process is but if there’s one thing I took away from my experience with them, it’s this:

They follow instructions. Period.

It doesn’t matter if you want specific dimensions, an exact color palette or a specific font, no detail will go unmissed with these guys. If you put in the brief, you’ll see it implemented in the result.

Best thing #3: Very reasonable monthly cost

The price is one of the biggest selling points of this service, so let’s dive into that aspect a little more.

Until recently, Design Pickle only offered a $370/month plan. Today, they (very slightly) raised the price to $399/month and added a “Pro” plan with more perks.

Design Pickle plans

The Standard plan is the original Design Pickle experience, including a dedicated designer, unlimited requests and revisions, and next-day turnaround on requests and revisions.

At $399/month, you just can’t argue with that value, as long as you have the demand to keep your designer busy.

The Pro plan has all the same benefits as the Standard, but also includes real-time communication with your designer (via Slack), same-day delivery, and the ability to request more advanced designs.

Given the additional perks, $995 is still incredible value.

It’s also worth noting that the Pro plan includes access to Getty Images, while the Standard plan will cost you an additional $25/month. Not a necessary expense, but a nice inclusion.

stock photos

What I don’t like about Design Pickle

Annoying thing #1: It’s not really “unlimited”

One of Design Pickle’s biggest selling points is the fact that it offers unlimited designs on a subscription model.

Of course, without some kind of pacing system or fair-use policy behind this, you can imagine how the service might be prone to abuse.

That’s why Design Pickle uses a “request queue”. Whenever you need a design, you submit a brief that enters this queue system, and a designer will continuously work through the queue.

unlimited faq

In that sense, yes… you could argue that requests are “unlimited”. The catch—which, in fairness, is stated on the website—is that the designer will only work on one request per day on the regular plan.

It’s also important to note that revisions count as new requests, so being picky will significantly reduce the number of deliverables you get back each month.

turnaround time faq

Annoying thing #2: Design limits on Standard Plan

You will find that the Basic Plan has limits on the types of designs you are able to request. This includes logo design, light website design, and infographics are not in scope. If you want to be able to make these types of requests, then you’ll need to upgrade yourself to the Pro plan.

I actually did find that my designer on the Standard plan was willing to do some logo design and website design when I asked him to. But the quality of the work I got back was not great, and I probably wouldn’t request this in the future.

Getting Started with Design Pickle

Signing up to Design Pickle is pretty straightforward.

You choose your package, have a quick read through the features and limitations, enter your credit card information…. And boom, you’re in.

Now, you can submit a request right away, but Design Pickle will prompt you to give some background information on yourself and your company.

initial questions

You’ll be asked for details such as your website URL and industry, as well as your experience using design services.

I imagine this helps them better understand how to serve you so it could be beneficial to do this before submitting requests.

initial questions 2

Again, it’s very straightforward and only takes about 5 minutes.

During this time, you’ll also be matched with a Design Pickle designer who will work with you long-term (assuming everything goes well).

This is so your designer can learn about your specific requirements over time and eventually deliver more accurate results. In fact, you’ll get a nice email from your designer to kick things off.

designer welcome message

Overall, I really like this human approach from Design Pickle. Building a relationship with a single designer is both smart and efficient for both parties involved.

Submitting Your Design Request

Okay, so you’ve got your account set up and your designer ready to go, but what happens next?

From here, you’ll need to head to the “Make a Request” page in your account, at which point you’ll see a form like this:

submit request

This form is used for every request you make, regardless of the type of graphic you’re looking to have created.

There are little requirements in terms of how much information you need to give, but the more you put down, the better the result is likely to be.

Fields include:

  • The name of your request (for internal reference)
  • File dimensions (with an option to see common dimensions)
  • Target audience
  • Design inspiration (styles you like)
  • Description of what you need
  • Images to use (if applicable)
  • Priority (top or bottom of the queue)

Once you submit a request, it will go into a queue for review. This review stage is to ensure the designer has enough information to work with.

my requests

Don’t worry, you’d have to submit a pretty bad brief to have any issues here.

I submitted a bunch of requests for this article ranging from detailed to vague, not one of them was rejected during this review stage.

Once approved, it will go into the design queue. Your designer will work through this queue in the order of priority you set.

Overall, while the form may seem overwhelming at first, the submission process was actually fast and intuitive, especially as I got used to filling it out.

My Experience with Design Pickle

This wouldn’t be a complete Design Pickle review without actually seeing what the designers are capable of, would it?

So I decided to make several requests covering various types of designs.

#1. Blog Post Featured Image

Most bloggers these days seem to be using stock photos as featured images for their content, but as a Design Pickle subscriber, I wanted something custom.

For this request, I decided to get a featured image made for my “Make Money on Fiverr” blog post.

This was my request to the designer:

blog featured brief

Here are the two variations I got back the following day:

blog featured 1

blog featured 2

Not too bad!

The main instruction was to create a flat, minimal design and I felt the designer followed those specifications to a tee. This style fits perfectly with the rest of my website.

#2. (Another) Blog Post Featured Image

I wasn’t going to run the same design request twice, but I wanted to test the design consistency with similar types of graphics.

This time, I asked for a featured image for a different blog post, but still using the exact same style specifications as the previous.

Here was my request to the designer:

blog featured brief 2

The only changes I asked for were to use a different graphic (related to the blog post) and to remove the date.

Here’s what I got back the following day:

blog featured 3

blog featured 4

As I’d hoped, the design style was very similar to the last featured image request and consistency was clearly maintained.

I’m not sure if these graphics were designed from scratch or if they’re part of a larger library (the latter is more likely), but either way I can’t complain about the finished product.

#3. In-Content Graphic

Featured images add a nice bit of visual flavor to your post, but in-content graphics enhance your content in a way that written words can’t pull off alone.

I decided I wanted to illustrate “a long email vs a short email”, which would complement a section in one of my blog posts.

This time, however, I also gave the designer some visual direction by providing a mockup I threw together in Photoshop.

Here’s the mockup:

in-content graphic mockup

Remember, I’m anything but a designer. This was just meant to give a rough idea of the direction to take.

Here was my request to the designer:

in-content graphic brief

Notice how I switched things up by asking for a more “cartoon-y” feel this time, which isn’t necessarily the same as a flat/minimal design.

Here’s what I got back from the designer the following day:

in-content graphic 2

As you can see, aside from the rounded corners and dashed divider, it’s essentially a replica of the mockup I made.

It’s hard to argue that the designer didn’t follow my instructions, he clearly did. The problem is that he’s rigidly following instructions and not applying any originality or creativity outside of that.

So, following this, I requested a revision with the intention of providing as little detail as possible.

in-content graphic revision

Here’s what I got back the following day:

in-content graphic 3

This time, he added a welcome splash of color and an interesting “fold” effect in the corner of each graphic. A definite improvement in my books.

#4. Mini Infographic

This was the big one.

Looking at Design Pickle’s plans, they do list “Advanced Infographics” as a premium perk, and since I wasn’t on a premium plan, I wasn’t sure if I could request an infographic.

So, to play fair, I requested a “mini-infographic” instead.

Here was my request to the designer:

infographic brief

The infographic was based on a short section of one of my articles which lists 3 tips on building credibility on Upwork.

As per my instructions, I wanted each tip in its own section with a relevant graphic to illustrate.

And here’s what I got back the following day:

infographic 1

First impressions were mixed.

Once again, instructions were followed correctly and everything matched up in terms of concept and general layout. I particularly liked the style and relevancy of the graphics beside each point.

Spacing was a little off in some areas but my biggest issue was the color. It felt very monotone and was actually somewhat hard to read due to the minimal contrast between the sections and text.

Still, after taking some time to process the design and considering that this was a first attempt, I knew it was something I could use after requesting a few small changes.

So that’s what I did.

infographic revision

Here’s what I got back the following day:

infographic 2

Just as I thought, adding color was a big step up for this design. It went from “meh” to “yeah” after this one revision.

Some More Design Pickle Examples

Chris also has some experience with the Design Pickle Pro account.  So he shared with me a few examples of graphics he had done.

Here’s the design that he had done for his Facebook page which serves as a call-to-action for his Facebook group.

Facebook CTA

Here’s the graphic that he had created for his free training course, 6 Figure Affiliate Profits.

6 Figure Affiliate Profits

He also had this blog post graphic created for his Best Affiliate Programs article.

Best Affiliate Programs

All in all, I thought these were some pretty impressive examples, and a good demonstration of what you can get with a Design Pickle Pro account.

Design Pickle Pricing

As mentioned a little earlier in this review, Design Pickle has two pricing plans.

The Standard plan is $399 a month.  You’ll get one dedicated professional designer, along with unlimited requests and unlimited revisions.  And you’ll get next business day turnaround for each revision you get back.

Then there’s the Pro plan for $995 a month.  It comes with everything on the Standard plan, but also includes real-time collaboration with your designer via Slack, same day delivery and the ability to request more complex designs like:

  • Advanced infographics & illustrations
  • Animated GIFS
  • Powerpoint and Google Slide decks
  • Logo designs
  • Light website designs

The Standard plan comes with a 14-day 100% satisfaction guarantee, while the Pro plan extends the guarantee out an extra 7 days on top of that.

Final Thoughts

I’ve always been fascinated by services that offer a flat-rate for unlimited requests, and Design Pickle has been on my radar for many years.

Having finally had the chance to test it, I can absolutely see why it’s so popular. If you want quality, reliable and affordable design, there are few better places online to get it.

While you might not get the very best quality that you might from a great, dedicated designer, you also aren’t spending an arm and a leg paying for that design either.

Design Pickle hits that sweet spot, of good quality for an affordable price.  And that’s perfect for many types of businesses, including myself.

In any case, I highly recommend giving Design Pickle a try to see if it makes sense for you.  Especially since the 100% satisfaction guarantee takes away all the risk from doing so.

Try Design Pickle Today

Design Pickle Pros

  • Next-day or same-day turnaround (based on plan)
  • Unlimited requests and revisions (sort of)
  • The backend (UI) is easy to navigate and manage
  • Designers are very good at following instructions
  • You get to build a relationship with your designer
  • Inclusive access to Getty Images
  • Real-time communication via Slack (Pro plan)
  • 14 or 21-day satisfaction guarantee (based on plan)

Design Pickle Cons

  • Processing speed is capped depending on your plan (not really “unlimited”)
  • Designers don’t seem to respond well to vague/creative requests
Affiliate Disclaimer: I hope you enjoyed this Design Pickle review. Please note that any links inside this article may be affiliate links for Design Pickle’s services. That means that if you click on one of the links and sign up, I may be compensated for it. If you do happen to click, thanks! Any money we make keeps this site running and allows us to keep producing high-quality reviews.
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