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Christiaan Huynen discusses DesignBro – an online graphic design marketplace with a focus on quality over quantity

Christiaan Huynen is the founder and CEO of online graphic design marketplace DesignBro. The platform makes it easy for top-tier graphic designers to connect with clients and complete projects with a focus on quality and transparency.

Only around 5% of the graphic designers who apply to work on DesignBro get approved. This ensures that clients who look for a graphic designer on DesignBro are only paired with the highest-quality talent.

Christiaan answered some questions below.

Hi Christiaan, what is the story behind the creation of DesignBro?

Having previously started an award-winning agency serving global clients, I began envisioning what a future-proof version of a design agency would look like. I knew that high-quality design would have to be at the core of the project because I understood that it was a prerequisite for success in the industry. This meant my solution to the problem would have to include two things: curation, and the best designers. But it also had to be future-proof. That’s how I arrived at a conclusion: I had to create a model that both incentivized designers and had pricing that worked for clients now, and would work for clients for the years to come. I am proud to say DesignBro is that model.

How has the gig economy caused a lower quality design standard online?

Both the gig economy in design, as well as the crowdsourcing principle, have initiated a race to the bottom. With the crowdsourcing platforms, they allow unlimited designs to be posted per project and make all designs visible (as well as client feedback) to all designers. This means that the chance of winning (and getting paid) is extremely small. Due to the high numbers of designers competing, it favors designers from low-income countries that spend as little time as possible on the actual design to make the economics work. This, in turn, increases chances of plagiarism, copying, and other undesired behavior. All of this, in turn, scares away the high-quality designers.

Similar effects can be seen in the gig economy, where designers have started to compete on a price level to try and score the gig, this erodes the average price, which in leads to an extremely low-cost offering for design. By itself, it’s not a problem, but in turn, this means that higher quality, more experienced, designers are pushed out, and lower-wage alternatives flourish. This has a negative impact on the overall customer experience.

How do you qualify a designer’s work before approving them to work on the platform?

We have a team of design industry veterans, with years of agency experience. In the same way that these experts would look at potentially hiring a creative at an agency, they also judge the creative portfolio of the designer applying to join DesignBro. Based on this, we typically accept just under 5% of all applicants.

What features of the DesignBro platform make it cheaper and easier for clients to work with quality designers?

Because we select the best 5% of all designers that apply, it means that we’ve already made the first cut for our customers. This translates to less creative waste (really you don’t need to choose from 100 designs, but you do need at least 3 really good ones to choose from). Less waste means more value for money.

What does the typical life cycle look like for a DesignBro project?

Typically, the customer fills in the briefing, and on average, the first designs start to come in within the first 12 hours. From that point onwards, the client gives feedback & works closely with the designers till they have a final design they really love. At that stage, they can pick a winner and receive the files.

How do you maintain and scale the balance of available designers vs. clients who request a project?

At any given time, we ensure that we don’t allow more new designers on the platform than what we have clients for. This way, we constantly balance supply & demand. It means that sometimes we sadly have great designers wait for a period of time till they can fully join. We want to make sure that we can offer a great experience for both customers and designers. Keeping a great balance between the two is a crucial aspect of this.

Thank you Christiaan for your time!
You can follow up with Christiaan Huynen at https://designbro.com