Do you have a marketing project on deck but don’t know where to start looking for the right creative team?
We’ve got you covered. As you search, you’re likely to run into creative agencies, design subscription services, and the ever-popular freelance marketplaces. While there isn’t anything wrong with choosing any of these options, making your decision might be tougher than you bargained for.
In the end, choosing the right creative service for your needs depends entirely on you and how you prefer to collaborate and work with a creative team. In this blog, we’re going to explore Upwork, a freelance marketplace, and Designity, an innovative creative service.
Here is Upwork vs. Designity.
What is Upwork?
Founded in 2013 in New Jersey, Upwork is a freelance marketplace that caters to all types of businesses, from small to enterprise. They specialize primarily in writing services, graphic design, and website development, but do offer a wide variety of offerings.
Where Fiverr promotes short-term relationships and “gigs”, Upwork promotes building lasting relationships with freelancers.
As Upwork is a freelance marketplace, marketers must be very hands-on in the sourcing and vetting process.
What is Designity?
Designity is a US-based creative platform for creatives of all backgrounds, experience levels, and specialties. The variety in specialties allows them to cater to companies with a wide array of design and marketing needs. They are not a freelance marketplace or a staffing agency.
All of the creative teams are supervised by a designated creative director who has at least ten years of experience in design, marketing, and project management.
Creative directors work directly with clients and act as creative partners throughout the design process. This creates consistency and a hassle-free experience for clients.
A comparison at first glance.
The primary difference between these two companies is that Upwork is a freelance marketplace where Designity is a creative service. Here is a quick reference guide for a high level comparison.
<div class="c-blog_table"><div class="c-blog_table-top"><div class="c-blog_table-row"><div class="c-blog_table-main"><div class="c-table_column cc-main cc-empty"></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-top_orange"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/61cdf3c5e0b81507b4e010e2_table_logo.png" loading="lazy" alt="Designity" class="c-table_designity"><div class="c-text-1 cc-table_title cc-designity"><strong>Designity</strong></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-top_dark"><div class="c-text-1 cc-table_title">Upwork</div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Creative Director Supervision</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">Yes<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">No<br></div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Creative’s Location and Vetting Process</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">Highly vetted, US-based creatives<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">Global network of creatives spanning 50 countries. <br></div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Sourcing Creatives</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">Your Creative Director sources creatives<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">You source creatives<br></div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Number of Hired Creatives</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">An interchangeable team<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">You hire as many as you need. <br></div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Unlimited Project Requests and Revisions</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">Yes<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">No- Depends on the freelancers that you hire</div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Weekly Video Check-ins</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">Yes<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">Depends on who you hire<br></div></div></div><div class="c-table_row"><div class="c-blog_table-main cc-left"><div class="c-text-2">Trial Period?</div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column cc-orange"><div class="c-text-2">Yes<br></div></div><div class="c-blog_table-column"><div class="c-text-2 cc-table">No trial period.<br></div></div></div></div></div>
Let’s dive into the details.
Creative director supervision
The need for a creative director largely depends on you and your preferences. Some marketers prefer to spearhead the creative process from start to finish, while others would prefer a less involved approach.
Creative directors and project managers do more than just keep track of timelines and creative direction, however. They are the captain of your creative ship and can make your experience much easier.
Upwork is a freelance marketplace which means that you are in charge of everything from hiring freelancers down to the creative process. Unless you personally hire a freelance creative director or project manager, you will not be assigned one.
For marketers who prefer a less hands-on approach, this isn’t exactly a negative. Just make sure that you are prepared to give creative direction to the freelancers that you hire and that they are experienced in your industry.
Every single client that signs up with Designity gets matched with a creative director. Their creative directors must have a minimum of 10+ years of experience with the right technical and industry knowledge to fit clients’ needs.
Clients are matched with a designated creative director based on things like industry and even down to personality traits.
Some of their main responsibilities include:
- Consulting and strategizing on all projects to meet the client’s objectives
- Creating comprehensive project briefs and transparent timelines to guarantee client deadlines.
- Assigning the right creatives from their vetted pool and supervising them during the entire process to provide clients with high-quality results and a hassle-free process.
Your creative team
Location: As a freelance marketplace, Upwork’s network of creatives are global. You could hire a freelance graphic designer in Germany or a freelance copywriter in India. For some marketers, this is a huge plus, especially if they are trying to break into a new market in a different country.
The downside here is that international freelancers may not be in your timezone. Although their prices are more cost effective, they may not be available when you need to meet with them, or for rounds of feedback and revisions.
Projects may take longer due to this. Marketers may also run into language barriers or copywriters who claim to speak English with native proficiency, but in reality, do not.
Scope of services: Upwork’s scope of services varies and goes beyond marketing or creative services. They also offer IT and Administrative freelance services as well as design and marketing services.
While this isn’t a negative, it can muddy their vetting process. They do not specialize, and unless marketers are prepared to deeply vet their freelance candidates, this can make choosing a freelancer difficult depending on the project.
Location: All of Designity’s creatives and creative directors are US-based, spanning all US time zones. The reason for a solely US-based team is that it makes it easier for clients to collaborate on projects with a creative team that is in their preferred time zone.
In addition to easier collaboration, having a US-based team helps ensure that timelines are met and that your creative director will be available for rounds of feedback when needed.
Scope of services: Designity’s scope of services is very broad and not limited to solely design projects. They offer marketing services as well such as content writing and digital marketing services for example.
While their scope of work is broad enough to encompass most of your marketing needs, they still specialize in these services which makes the creative vetting process intensive and detailed.
The creative vetting process
As with most freelance marketplaces, Upwork does not vet its freelancers at all. In a response to a community post, here is what their customer service team had to say about vetting:
While we do take action when we learn a freelancer is not following our Terms of Service, we do not vet freelancers or guarantee that the information they provide in their profile is true or accurate. We do offer certain payment protections and, in certain cases, dispute assistance because we know that occasional issues can arise between a client and freelancer.
If you are choosing to go the freelance marketplace route for your next project, make sure that you have a streamlined vetting process of your own in place. This will help you avoid doing business or wasting your time with fake Upwork accounts or fraudulent freelancers.
Designity works with a wide range of both full-time and part-time employees as well as recent design school graduates. The hiring process is lengthy, and creatives must complete two rounds of interviews before being given a ‘challenge’ project.
The creatives set their own deadlines for this project and are required to adhere to it. Delivering a challenge late is automatic grounds for not moving forward with the applicant. Challenges vary depending on the creative’s specialty.
Once the challenge is submitted, it is reviewed by a team of creative directors specializing in that particular field. The team scores the project, and based on that score, the creative is either terminated or approved for the final round of interviews.
It’s important to note that only the top 3% of applicants are approved to move forward, which is why Designity’s creative team is more exclusive than other players in the design space. This vetting process ensures that all creatives are both true to their portfolios and are specialists in their area of expertise.
For more information on Designity’s vetting process, check out this blog post where they deep dive into the vetting process.
Sourcing for projects
One of the downsides of going the freelance marketplace route is the sourcing process. Some marketers enjoy sifting through freelancer profiles, but others may find the experience overwhelming and time consuming.
There are two ways that you can source creatives on Upwork. One way is to post a project and wait for freelancers to respond. Another way is to sift through profiles yourself.
Upwork does offer a service called Talent Scout, where a recruiter does the heavy lifting for you and shortlists candidates based on your needs. In order to qualify for this service, your project must be at least a month long in duration.
As far as cost, Talent Scout is not extra to the hourly rate that you will pay your freelancer, as long as you meet the qualifications.
We touched on creative directors earlier but in order to understand the sourcing and supervising process with Designity, you have to understand the purpose of their creative directors.
Designity acts as an extension of your internal team by making sure that you never have to supervise, manage, or source your own creatives. The creative director’s job is to tap into Designity’s pool of vetted, US-based creatives and plug them into your projects as needed.
It’s also your creative director’s job to supervise those creatives throughout your project journey so that you don’t have to. This is very beneficial for marketers who don’t have the bandwidth to source and supervise their own creative team and only want one point of contact throughout the creative process.
For marketers who would rather take a more hands-on approach, this may not be their favorite feature. Creative directors are an integral part of working with Designity and can’t be eliminated from the process.
Project requests, feedback, and revisions
Project requests: In the ‘sourcing creatives’ section of this blog, we mentioned that marketers have the option to post jobs or sift through freelancer profiles. The same thing applies to project requests.
For every project, marketers would have to create a job listing. This also applies to every specialty that is needed for that project. For example, if you are redesigning your website, you would need to submit a separate job posting for a web designer, a copywriter, and a developer.
If you utilize their Talent Scout service, then the recruiter would navigate this for you.
If you have an ongoing relationship with a particular freelancer, submitting a project request is as easy as rehiring them and paying their hourly rate.
Feedback and revisions: Think of Upwork as a gigantic freelancer mall. Every freelancer is their own small business, which means that they set their own rules for how they choose to engage with their clients.
While some freelancers may not charge for rounds of revisions, others will still require you to pay their hourly rate. Some freelancers may also limit the amount of revisions that they will do per project while for others, this may be unlimited.
Project requests: Designity offers clients unlimited project requests without an added fee. As long as the project is offered in the particular package that you are signed on for, you can request as many projects as you like without your price changing.
This is due in large part to the fact that Designity’s creative teams are interchangeable. You may have a web design project and a blog content project running simultaneously as long as the number of creatives is covered by your package.
Feedback and revisions: Designity offers clients unlimited revisions without worrying about hours. The reason for this is that creativity can’t be confined to hourly metrics. The ideation process, developing concepts and mood boards, and collaboration are something that shouldn’t be overlooked for the sake of package hours.
Clients are encouraged to give as much feedback as possible and submit their revision requests until they receive the desired result.
In April, Upwork changed their payment model from being subscription based to now charging a service fee.
As far as we could find, they still offer an enterprise service but the pricing is not available unless you speak with a representative. One thing that we did find is that they do charge clients a 3-5% fee per transaction.
If you care about your freelancers, one thing to note is that they charge their freelancers up to a 20% service fee off of their hourly rate. The fees come out of what you pay them. This is a point of contention for a lot of freelancers, which means that the very best talent for you may not even be on Upwork at all.
Do they offer a trial?
Upwork does not offer clients a trial period. In the same way that various stores in a mall have their own rules, the same thing goes for the freelancers that you work with on Upwork’s platform. They make their own rules, so offering a trial is entirely up to them.
One thing to note is that Upwork does have an interesting ‘money back’ option but only if it’s approved by the freelancer.
Designity’s pricing model is very straightforward. Clients can choose between three different package options and can fluctuate between the three whenever they want, depending on their needs.
The main difference between the three packages is the number of creatives (in addition to the creative director) and the scope of services. For example, under the Essentials plan, clients will have one creative on their plan plus their creative director. Certain project categories like mobile app design and copywriting are not included.
The scope of services and the allocated creatives increase the higher the package is. If a client has an urgent deadline and needs an e-commerce website design, they would be better suited to the Plus Plan which is $5,495 per month.
The price never fluctuates unless clients utilize add-ons or upgrade to a higher package.
<div class="c-blog_comp-cta cc-component-1"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-wrap"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/6369722e59155470b6840033_Potential-clients.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-img"></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-right"><div class="c-blog_comp-content"><div class="c-text-wrapper cc-mb-32"><div class="c-title-4 cc-bold"><strong>Want to save money without sacrificing the quality?</strong></div></div><div class="c-text-wrapper"><div class="c-text-2">Say goodbye to traditional, expensive agencies and unreliable marketplaces. Say hello to Designity.<br></div></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-wrapper"><a href="/pricing" target="_blank" class="c-button cc-primary cc-inverted w-button"><strong>Get Your 2-Week Trial</strong></a></div></div></div>
Is there a trial period?
Designity offers all clients a two-week, risk-free trial regardless of the client’s commitment. One thing to note about Designity’s trial is that if clients cancel within the fourteen-day trial period, they do not get the copyrights to any deliverables provided during that time.
If they continue, the two-week trial is automatically absorbed into their first month.
There is no ‘wrong’ answer when it comes to choosing the best creative service for your needs. Whether you choose to go the freelance marketplace route, or the highly specialized and custom route is completely up to you.
The key is to be honest and ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I have the bandwidth to support sourcing and vetting my own creatives?
- Do I have the bandwidth to support spearheading these creative projects on my own?
And, most importantly…
- Do I care that my team isn’t actually paid the hourly rate that is listed on the site?