Excellent Summer Camp Design at a Reasonable Price

[Travis’ Note: This is a guest post from Laura “Twigs” Johnson from Leadership Academy in Nashville, TN. I love conversations with Laura because she is so SMART about setting up great business systems to support the work they do in their camps. Check out this episode of the Day Camp Podcast with Twigs on it.

Laura wrote up all this information for a client of ours and it was so awesome that I asked her if I could post it here. I’ve done some light edits but most of this is straight from Laura.]

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Camp Pros:

I am happy to share some feedback with you about Design Pickle.  I have been a Design Pickle client since late 2015 and have been very happy with their work.  I started as a monthly subscriber and switched to annual subscription in Spring of 2016.  This was more cost effective, and less stressful than having a "mental" time limit to the subscription.  I have had a string of different designers since I started with them, but the transitions have been pretty seamless. 

Things I am most happy with (It's a long list, because I am so happy!):

  • Unlimited requests and revisions...this is all included in the flat rate price, I can ask for as many designs as I want, all different file formats, and send it back and forth for revisions as much as I want until I am 100% happy with it.  

  • FAST turn arounds, I typically get my design request back in 1-2 days, and revisions after that within 24 hours, this is completely dependent on my queue, if I request 10 things in two days, the first thing is back in 1 day, while the tenth thing my take 4-5 days, but you can tell them your priority

  • Direct feedback and clean communication are really appreciated by the designers.  The designers like when you say exactly what you like and don't like about their work.  They are aiming to get it right and match your vision for it, so you can directly say to them when you don't like something but be sure to include what you do like, if anything, so they keep that part in.  They are trying to learn your brand, so the first few items they make for you are about learning what you like and don't like

  • Using google drive to share digital assets. I sent them links to all my logos, approved photos and anything I want to include in designs...they just access this every-time.  I don't need to upload or decide photos when asking for designs. However, I did take time to organize my photos in a way that is easy to communicate what I am looking for (Folders by subject or camp or activity ...)

  • Storing all the files in the Pickle Jar, no downloading big files.  I can send to others by copy and paste the link. 

  • Multiple brands, I have 6 camps, each with unique branding (although all similar) plus 3 nonprofit groups that I use the one Design Pickle account for.  I have only the one user in the account, but I share it with my colleagues in my company and the organizations I work with so we can all make requests from the Jar (the design Pickle user portal is called the Jar.) (PS, you could share your account too, split the cost with another Org.)

  • Crazy low price-point. I am not sure the monthly rate now, but when I started it was around $370/month.  To put into perspective how cheap this is....The freelance designer I was using at this time was charging $35/hour, so I was going to get 10-11 hours a month out of them for the same price as Design Pickle...I figured I could get  maybe 2-5 projects out of the freelancer for that, if there were very few revisions, but Design Pickle was unlimited requests and revisions, so it had potential for far more projects, I think I got 12 projects that first month.   Now I pay for the annual up front plan, which is 40% off in the spring (mid May). So it's $2,664 for a year of unlimited design requests, which is less than 2 weeks salary at the freelancers rate if they worked full time..... PLUS, every time I have an idea for a sticker, branded photo with quote, meme, poster, shirt, I simply put my idea into design pickle and see what I get, really helps to bring your creativity full circle.  

  • Design Pickle is Zapier integrated… so I can make my requests from Asana, which is super easy, fast and effective.  

Challenges to expect:

  • You need to "train" your designer.  There is a guide for this on the Design Pickle website that I suggest you watch.  Basically your designer only knows what he sees and what you tell him, so you need to train them about what you like and what you are looking for.  Be clear in your feedback.  Make you first couple requests simple.. likely you need a designer because you have a big, complex project going on, but hold back and send a couple simpler things first, just for training purposes.  You will be much happier in the long run taking this time.

  • Be specific in your requests...this detail can be annoying, but it is SO WORTH IT, take your time to put the details in the requests.  My typical request includes the following

    • Style of item, audience... is this a social share, a print ad, a banner, a email, what is the item for?

    • Logos and branding look I want, this includes fonts, colors and such

    • Photos to include...I say things like "A group of happy kids at fort building" or "a staff and a camper" or a "mix of boys and girls on sail boats" this helps them find the photos I want.  I use all my own images, but Design Pickle has Getty Images, so you can get anything you want. 

    • Exact copy, and proof this before sending.  

    • Suggested layout, you want you logo at the top, text in the middle...you can decide this too

  • Setting up your digital assets so the designer can get to what they need.  I recommend using google drive, it is simple and easy. You will be a lot happier using this file sharing with your designer... they work in the Philippines, so they are working while you are sleeping....like design elves!

Samples of work, all from this marketing year

I hope this helps.  If you sign up, please use my referral link, https://mbsy.co/designpickle/20530924.  [Also from Travis: if you use Laura’s link you get $100 off!]

Best wishes to a super awesome camp season!

Travis Allison