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Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
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Malone Away
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Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
A little bit of bitching, a little bit of info dump and hopefully some feedback from the members.

I've got a side business that requires some web design. I can do it myself with a lot of effort, but the opportunity cost is high. So, the plan is that I don't, even if it's painful. I basically just need some custom design with the resulting html/css. Of course, I don't want to spend a fortune on this new biz which might never earn a cent, so I need it to be cheap(ish).

In the past, I've had some good web designers but the one I used for my last project has since got a day job and isn't available.

So, some things I have learned in this process and in the past:

Upwork/oDesk
  • You will get flooded with hundreds of Indian design company spam proposals.
  • Never hire those! The ones with good front men will talk a good game. I have tried it several times in the past, and even last month, but I have never had a good experience with an Indian outsourcing firm. This seems to be accepted wisdom with friends that also have occasion to hire these guys.
  • Eastern Europeans can be good, but they're also either quite a bit more money or seriously overbooked. My last job I invited a bunch of promising looking designers to interview from EE, they all declined.
  • Put a little sentence in somewhere asking them to tell you something specific in their proposal, like "Tell me what your favorite motorcycle is." - You can filter everyone that fails to do it, as they didn't even read your job description.

99Designs
  • I had my logo designed on this site. It cost $500, but it was well worth it. It gets you a bunch of designers competing on your sort of rough idea of what you want, and iterating on your feedback until you get what you want. It's fantastic for guys like me who have a rough idea of what they want but don't want to supply reference and design specs and such.
  • The guys doing the designs seem to be working this system hard - they're pretty good at it. The guy who did my logo in the end had a lot of completed jobs on his profile - all logos.
  • Might be a lot more expensive than just finding a good freelancer.

At this moment I am tempted to go to 99designs to try to find a designer, as the process of finding someone is dragging on quite a lot. I'd really like some other options though.

Where did you guys find a good designer?
(This post was last modified: 01-01-2016 07:11 AM by Malone.)
01-01-2016 07:09 AM
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CleanSlate Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
Personally I designed my website, which is based on a free Wordpress theme with some html/css styling tweaks of my own. You're right about Indian designers/developers, basically you get what you pay for.

However, I hired a graphic designer to do my logos.

PM me if you need to talk more in depth.
01-01-2016 07:21 AM
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darktranquility Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
Some thoughts from someone who runs the digital department at a successful design agency...

Good design, and particularly good websites, are expensive. They are labour-intensive projects that require multiple disciplines such as designer, front-end developer, back-end developer, marketing, analytics, etc., etc.

This is also why, more often than not, you won't get anything resembling a great website from a freelancer. Especially an affordable one. You will need to find someone who is good at all these things. The best people will be working in agencies. Agencies are (necessarily) expensive.

Don't bother trying to learn front-end languages. You are on a hiding to nowhere with this. Use an out-the-box solution like Squarespace. If you can't do what you need to do with that, use Wordpress with a good quality, highly-rated theme from Themeforest.
(This post was last modified: 01-01-2016 10:04 AM by darktranquility.)
01-01-2016 09:59 AM
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456 Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
^^ agreed re: most freelancers. Or find a freelancer that actually can do it all, or has his own team (subcontractors), and expect to pay ~$100/hr for at least 50 hours of work.

So yeah, if you want quality, you're going to pay on the order of ~$5k rather than on the order of $500. Agencies are more like $50k.

It's a good test of confidence in your business plan -- will you spend more than a few G's on a good design?

If you're in the proof-of-concept phase, design might not be as crucial if you can display your offering properly and have a first crop of users.
01-01-2016 11:44 AM
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Malone Away
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Post: #5
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
Here's the thing guys - I'm a professional developer. I can do everything those guys do, but the opportunity cost is astronomical (my rate is way higher than any web devs and my time is more than fully booked.)

I also know what I need, and it's front end design only. Not backend coding, no AngularJS, no jQuery, no PHP - just design, and converting that design to responsive HTML/CSS so I don't have to.

I'm well aware of the out of the box alternatives, I know exactly what I need. I appreciate the "educate the noob" sentiment, but just because I'm having a bitch of a time finding a new designer doesn't mean I am one.
(This post was last modified: 01-01-2016 11:57 AM by Malone.)
01-01-2016 11:54 AM
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Peregrine Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
I get the feeling that you don't think good design work should be expensive.
01-01-2016 12:26 PM
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Vaun Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
There are a lot of Wordpress devs out there. Not all of them are graphic designers though. You need to have a good graphic designer design your logo/branding/etc, and then use a Wordpress dev build your site. I have never had a problem with this, keep looking where you are, and extensively reviewing peoples work before you hire them. Ask the dev if they designed the look and feel, i.e. graphics. Task Rabbit is full of Wordpress devs and designers. With all of the templates out there its not rocket science these days.
(This post was last modified: 01-01-2016 12:48 PM by Vaun.)
01-01-2016 12:47 PM
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Post: #8
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
I'm in the process of using Designcrowd.com right now, It seems good so far but it's not over yet.
01-01-2016 01:09 PM
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Fast Eddie Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
(01-01-2016 07:09 AM)Malone Wrote:  Upwork/oDesk
  • You will get flooded with hundreds of Indian design company spam proposals.
  • Never hire those! The ones with good front men will talk a good game. I have tried it several times in the past, and even last month, but I have never had a good experience with an Indian outsourcing firm. This seems to be accepted wisdom with friends that also have occasion to hire these guys.
  • Eastern Europeans can be good, but they're also either quite a bit more money or seriously overbooked. My last job I invited a bunch of promising looking designers to interview from EE, they all declined.


Well, as they say, you get what you pay for. You already said the Indians suck and the EEs are better, so why do you expect the EEs to work for the same shit pay that the Indians charge?Dodgy Shit in shit out.
01-01-2016 01:42 PM
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Malone Away
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Post: #10
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
I don't and never said that. Thanks for the help Vaun and Sidney.
01-01-2016 01:56 PM
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Fast Eddie Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
^^ Sure you did, and I'm not sure how you can possibly deny it when the relevant quote is right above you. Here, I'll do you a favor and post it again:

(01-01-2016 07:09 AM)Malone Wrote:  Upwork/oDesk
  • You will get flooded with hundreds of Indian design company spam proposals.
  • Never hire those! The ones with good front men will talk a good game. I have tried it several times in the past, and even last month, but I have never had a good experience with an Indian outsourcing firm. This seems to be accepted wisdom with friends that also have occasion to hire these guys.
  • Eastern Europeans can be good, but they're also either quite a bit more money or seriously overbooked. My last job I invited a bunch of promising looking designers to interview from EE, they all declined.


You say don't hire Indians because you've never had a good experience with them. Which is exactly the same as saying they suck, no?

Then you say that Eastern Europeans can be good, which in context of your verdict about Indians means they're better than the Indians. But you complain that they cost "quite a bit more money".

So please enlighten me. Which part of my assertion that you complain about good devs costing more than bad devs did I get wrong?
01-01-2016 02:05 PM
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Malone Away
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Post: #12
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
That whole section is my advice to others, is the point you are missing. I am not complaining that they cost more, I am stating that. I am also stating that I have had trouble hiring them recently since they seem to be overbooked. To expand on that, I went through a lot of EE designers portfolios and invited them. Their prices were all over the map, and none of them accepted the invitation to interview. So either they didn't like my job posting, or they are very busy indeed.

I can see your comeback now, you think I offered them Indian money. Learn how oDesk works.

What I didn't say was "so why do you expect the EEs to work for the same shit pay that the Indians charge?" - you implied that from what I wrote. Learn to read.
(This post was last modified: 01-01-2016 03:04 PM by Malone.)
01-01-2016 03:01 PM
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Shimmy Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
I do it for a living and after dealing with a bunch of idiots on odesk I hired people to work in my office full time. I got some really good college kids at a decent rate. If you take a really good responsive web template and get someone who can edit it to make it unique you will save lots of time and money and still come out with a great design. Even doing that should take 25-30 hours so at $100/hr that you would pay someone for contract work you're looking for a minimum of $2500-3000. I think finding someone to do a good job for $500 will end up costing you the same amount if you factor in wasted time/money from someone screwing it up and wasted time from searching for them.
01-02-2016 06:03 PM
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Sidney Crosby Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
Get some Filipinos to do it, that pricing is in their currency.

Here is a place that I was considering before using designcrowd.com

http://halcyonwebdesign.com.ph/pricing
01-02-2016 06:39 PM
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Off The Reservation Away
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Post: #15
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
(01-01-2016 07:09 AM)Malone Wrote:  Upwork/oDesk
  • You will get flooded with hundreds of Indian design company spam proposals.
  • Never hire those! The ones with good front men will talk a good game. I have tried it several times in the past, and even last month, but I have never had a good experience with an Indian outsourcing firm. This seems to be accepted wisdom with friends that also have occasion to hire these guys.
  • Eastern Europeans can be good, but they're also either quite a bit more money or seriously overbooked. My last job I invited a bunch of promising looking designers to interview from EE, they all declined.
  • Put a little sentence in somewhere asking them to tell you something specific in their proposal, like "Tell me what your favorite motorcycle is." - You can filter everyone that fails to do it, as they didn't even read your job description.

Where did you guys find a good designer?

This last point is absolutely essential. I have posted this elsewhere before on another upwork thread. When it comes to web designers you have to take it a step further. In the job ad put something in addition to the hidden question of what is your favorite motorcycle or color within the job description:

"In your application send three links to sites you have designed. Send three and three only that represent your best work. Either on the page itself or in the source code it must say design by ___ your info. If this is not shown please do not apply."

That being said maybe you can make it less of a pain in the ass by also writing a clear requirement doc.
(This post was last modified: 01-02-2016 09:22 PM by Off The Reservation.)
01-02-2016 09:19 PM
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WanderingSoul Offline
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Post: #16
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
Unless you need something with a lot of custom features the best way to go is to use Wordpress, find a good theme that is close enough to what you want, and hire an Eastern European from UpWork.com to edit it for you. Should be able to get it done fairly inexpensively, depending on how much work they need to do.

Most people don't need a website designed from the ground up.
01-02-2016 09:31 PM
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Post: #17
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
(01-01-2016 11:54 AM)Malone Wrote:  Here's the thing guys - I'm a professional developer. I can do everything those guys do, but the opportunity cost is astronomical (my rate is way higher than any web devs and my time is more than fully booked.)

I also know what I need, and it's front end design only. Not backend coding, no AngularJS, no jQuery, no PHP - just design, and converting that design to responsive HTML/CSS so I don't have to.

I'm well aware of the out of the box alternatives, I know exactly what I need. I appreciate the "educate the noob" sentiment, but just because I'm having a bitch of a time finding a new designer doesn't mean I am one.

I agree with Peregrine, I don't understand this attitude. The price of web dev is the price of web dev. If decent web dev isn't cheap, there is nothing you or we can do about it.

Since you claim your rate is way higher than that of the devs, what's the problem? Just pay the money and stop stalling. Does an eye surgeon repair his own car, just because he can? No, he just pays the mechanic and doesn't blink about it. He can spend 4 hours on fixing his car, or 30 minutes on fixing an eye, with the same payoff.

It sounds pretty obvious why you're having a 'bitch of a time finding a new designer'. What you actually mean is "I'm having a bitch of a time finding a sap who will take less than market price".

Don't fight reality man, let the money flow.
01-03-2016 01:12 AM
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username Offline
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Post: #18
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
I tried finding coders (PHP) and web designers but it is a completely disaster. So I just do everything myself. With web designs, I just start with Bootstrap and it does 99% of what I want. Lots of people talk shit about Bootstrap but it works and it is responsive. If your project doesn't have a big budget just start with Bootstrap (or Wordpress) and once your are bringing in some $$$ then you can redesign with something better.
(This post was last modified: 01-03-2016 01:05 PM by username.)
01-03-2016 12:58 PM
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Post: #19
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
I have a guy who does great work and is from Serbia. Usually charges around 500- 800. Pm me and I'll give you his FB.
01-08-2016 10:56 PM
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monster Offline
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Post: #20
RE: Finding a decent web designer is a giant pain in the ass
(01-01-2016 12:26 PM)Peregrine Wrote:  I get the feeling that you don't think good design work should be expensive.

I'm not sure you've actually hired designers. You find that they're all expensive, even the not-so-great (read:non-creative ones). The bad thing is that you don't find out their not so great until they're already paid.
01-09-2016 12:30 AM
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