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Ask HN: Where do you go for adhoc/freelance design resource?
18 points by britman on Oct 4, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 15 comments
Hi all

We're hitting a stage in our product development where we're looking for some design work to be done (layouts, icons etc) and I was just wondering if anyone has any recommended design/ux specific sites (like elance.com for example) that they have used to get bits and pieces done??


For icons just do a search on google for icon libraries. Some are free and some others are cheap for what you get.

Do not pay for custom icon design unless you absolutely need to.

For site design your best bet is to look at CSS galleries. Tons of designers put their portfolios up there.

Also check out deviantart.com for a huge selection of freelance art.

Be forwarned that good designers are usually very busy and/or very expensive. A lot of overseas designers are pretty decent and a little cheaper (Asia/Eastern Europe). In 10 years as a programmer Ive had better luck finding top coders than top designers.

http://coroflot.com can be a great resource. Also, if you are near an art school you can find a lot of great/affordable talent there.

Talk to the people in the art/graphics design department at your local university. There's a big pool of talent there that is (a) affordable, and (b) starting out, just like you. So you'll be helping somebody else with their career, and may find someone who you can bring in-house as a designer once they graduate.

At the very least, you'll know someone 'in the industry' who has a very positive impression of you (and your company), and who can pass talent to you down the road.

That's actually the very best thing the poster can do.. but probably not the kind of answer the poster was looking for...

Just keep in mind that while a lot of artists are able to create some great looking designs, many are not versed in human cognition and user interface design concepts. You may end up with a great looking interface which is largely unusable, or at least irritating to use on a regular basis. If you're going to go down this route, make sure that someone on your team has a good grasp on UI/UX basics in order to vet the designs that are proposed and suggest changes as needed.

It's certainly something I will look at, we've got a mix of short term requirements and more longer term so this approach seems to fit nicely with the latter at this point

I use odesk.com. Its especially useful if you have a lot of smaller tasks since you can develop relationships with freelancers via the project mgmt tool that tracks their time and manages payment.

CrowdSpring is another nice option in my experience.


I used http://www.crowdspring.com/ with success.

Appreciate all the responses. Will check out the suggestions!!!

I used 99designs.

I second 99designs.com.

In fact, I will go so far as to say this: most design projects should begin with a contest at 99designs.

There are reasons for this: you get to see a large sample set of competing designs rather than being restricted to whatever designs the neural pathways of your dedicated designer can come up with. You go with 99designs in order to see 100 designs (or 500) sitting on a page. After that, you take one or two designs and you run with them. In my opinion this is bar none the most effective way to start any design project. Make 99designs.com your first step as it gives you a breadth of design options. Then choose one and work on depth and polish.

Yeah I'm liking the look of 99 Designs, especially as you say the fact you get a broad range of initial designs which gives you a nice perspective on the directions possible.

I'm not sure why this (and crowdspring) is voted down. For the initial phase of design or designing small parts (logo's icons, home page) a global marketplace of competing designers works very well.

When you have the design you can run with it - and if you actually want to develop a working relationship with the winner you can always do that.

There seem to be quite a lot of designers out there strongly opposed to 99designs and its ilk:


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