Updated May 8, 2021
Real talk. We have a love-hate relationship with the folks over at Fiverr.
Let’s start with the positives.
Picture this. One online marketplace. Attracting hundreds of graphic designers from around the world. Each artist bringing unique styles to the table.
You pick an artist that matches your goals. You commission them for custom design. Shortly after, files are delivered and BINGO, you’ve got new channel art. A tight, simple system, no? And all backed by a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, yes and no.
With overlay packages available for as little as $10 and turnaround times as fast as 48 hours, it’s not hard to see the initial attraction. It’s why so many new streamers choose Fiverr, seeking fast, cheap design services.
But… Wait for it…
There are risks to consider. Lots of them. Here are a few:
Not as rosy a picture, huh?
We’ll get into each of them (and more) below, but for now all you need to know is this: the risks are real.
Trust us, we hear them everyday. Many of our clients come to us after poor experiences on Fiverr. We’ve been hearing their horror stories for years now.
And we’re here to share some with you. But first…
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for global design marketplaces. After all, it’s why Visuals by Impulse was founded in the first place.
We’re ALL for any platform that both empowers artists and provides affordable design for creators. Done on Fiverr’s scale, it’s an admirable, ambitious experiment.
Once the paint is peeled back, however, the cracks and poor foundation begin to show. These cracks pose pitfalls that Twitch streamers can fall into, setting their brand (and wallet) behind in a big way.
Look, we’re not here to embellish or fear-monger. These are simple facts and trends we’ve observed over 5+ years in the industry. We hope we’re providing an honest, subjective look at the Fiverr dilemma.
Because let’s be real, there are a number of talented artists on Fiverr. The problem is finding them. Separating the wheat from the chaff. Finding the diamond in the rough.
And this leads us to one of the Biggest Problems with Fiverr.
Here’s the scary truth. The vast majority of designers on Fiverr have never been verified.
Their backgrounds and identities have never been checked. Professional experience and education, never certified. Their artwork, never verified for authenticity.
That portfolio they’re sharing? It very well could be someone else’s. The 100+ projects they’ve claimed to have completed? It could be a tenth of that.
The problem is the sheer number of artists selling on their platform. Team Fiverr does not have the time or resources to verify each seller. This means the burden of verification is simply left to the customer.
This has created a lawless, ‘Wild West’ environment – one ripe for scammers and snake-oil salesmen. It’s a trap too often sprung, giving the esports design industry a bad name. Because unfortunately, it’s typically your small, growing streamers that pay the biggest cost.
Star Ratings are a great feature, and operate similar to what you’d see on Amazon or Yelp. You can read reviews from prior customers, helping separate the legit from the shady artists.
They are NOT, however, a guarantee of quality and authenticity. Just because ten customers were duped prior to you, does NOT mean you should willingly serve yourself up as the next victim.
Always approach star ratings with a healthy dose of skepticism. Higher ratings and tier levels do NOT indicate Fiverr has vetted an artist and their work for authenticity.
In fact, we’ve spotted a number of Fiverr’s top-rated designers peddling our (VBI) work as their own. Often to a somewhat comical degree. But more to come on this later.
That said, some of you may already have a Fiverr artist in your back pocket. Perhaps they’re producing quality work for you, meeting deadlines, communicating effectively, and treating you honestly. If so, hang on to them. You’re one of the lucky few, and you’ve already completed the hardest part: The Search.
Unfortunately, these trusted sellers are a dime a dozen. Not only are they difficult to find, but they also tend to carry steep prices and longer waitlists. This in turn, turns off your average streamer looking for a cheap, quick solution.
Which brings us back to square one. What are the risks streamers should be aware of before engaging with a Fiverr artist?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s too often overlooked. It’s one of the most common complaints we hear, both on Fiverr and generally across the freelance design scene.
Always, ALWAYS, vet your artist for reliability and professionalism. Sort through reviews to get a feel for their project management. Do they have a history of missed deadlines? Did they disappear on previous clients?
There is nothing more frustrating than to kick off a project, only to then endure radio silence for 2 months as your artist deals with ‘personal issues’ (or worse). On the other hand, projects that stretch months beyond their due date are sure to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
Unfortunately, this is a risk you take on when commissioning individual artists on Fiverr or elsewhere. A death in the family, personal vacations, overbooked schedules, or simple laziness can derail your initial expectations.
Additionally, there are language barriers to consider.
Due to the nature of Fiverr, many of the sellers you’ll come across do not speak English as a first language. Try explaining your brand vision through G-Translate, then tell us the meaning of exasperation. This is doubly challenging in the design field, where minor miscommunications can have major impacts on the final product.
OK, so let’s say you find somebody seemingly reliable. Are you in the clear?
Don’t be a pepega. Of course not.
When you limit yourself to a single artist, you’re doing, well, exactly that. Restricting yourself to a single creative perspective.
You see, most casual designers design from their comfort zone. It’s only natural. They feel strong with a single style, rarely venturing out into unfamiliar territory. You’ll see the same patterns, themes, and color schemes repeated across multiple projects.
It’s a silo effect, and you’d do best to avoid it. When creativity is limited, it can mean the difference between average design and outstanding design.
When working with an organization or studio, these risks are mitigated. Most often, your project brief is vetted, then assigned to an artist whose strengths most closely match your style.
Your cyberpunk brief? It goes to the cyber expert. Your kawaii anime brief? Hello illustration specialist. Asking one artist to be a jack-of-all-trades is asking too much.
And it’s not just limited to styles. It also applies to design types.
You see, every designer has unique strengths, whether it’s logos, stream design, animation, emotes, etc. A pro team will break your project into components, handing your logo to the logo specialist. Your emotes and sub badges to the illustration artist. Your animation to the motion designer. By entrusting each part of the process to industry experts, you’re maximizing creative potential.
Your typical Fiverr artist however, is being asked to do everything themselves. The passionate stream designer is reluctantly sketching logos. The mascot specialist now forced to dabble in motion design.
By asking a single designer to be proficient in everything, you’re getting just that; a proficient, passable final product. But why settle for passable when you can have jaw-dropping?
One final note before we move on.
In a team environment, you also get the benefit of multiple creative minds working simultaneously. Ideas are bounced off colleagues, concepts approved by project managers, and obstacles overcome via team brainstorming sessions. A designer working in isolation is a designer stifling their own creativity.
And that’s a major red flag for potential clients.
Time to be brutally honest.
After 5+ years in the biz, we’ve seen a lot of Fiverr-created stream designs. Unfortunately, we can probably count on one hand the number of times we’ve been truly impressed with the final product.
The sad fact is that most quality, motivated artists left Fiverr long ago (or avoided it altogether). Many are now taking commissions as independent freelancers, relying on their built-up network and social media presence for customers. More have been picked up by design studios, recognized and recruited for their talents.
Those left behind on Fiverr are typically newer, casual, or amateur artists. They lack the network and experience necessary to operate independently, and so rely on Fiverr’s platform to attract customers. This means the Fiverr marketplace is flooded with mediocre, uninspired designs.
But why? What makes Fiverr so unappealing to the experienced artist? It’s simple really, and it makes the world go ‘round. Cold, hard cash.
Good designers know that you get what you pay for. Graphic design is an investment, and an artist’s time is incredibly valuable. Indeed a veteran designer knows how to value their work, and won’t settle for pennies on the dollar. They know firsthand how much time, energy, and willpower can go into a single project. Premium design should be reflected in commission prices.
Compare that to Fiverr. With hundreds of amateur artists competing for customers, prices are naturally driven low. Very low. Low enough to where professional creators are barely squeezing out a profit. Talk about undervaluing your service.
Add that to the fact that most Fiverr clientele are seeking quick, cheap solutions, and you can see the lack of appeal. That’s not even accounting for the 20% cut Fiverr pockets on each transaction.
Things starting to make sense? What type of quality would you really expect to find in such an environment? Is it any surprise that most respected artists argue Fiverr has hurt the reputation of the graphic design industry?
There’s an absurd expectation in the streaming community that graphic design is easy, and thus shouldn’t take more than a few days or a week’s time.
Let’s take a poll. Who wants Epic to rush their latest Fortnite update out the door, sacrificing new game innovations and bug-testing? How about that energy drink you’re sipping on? Who’s OK with the manufacturers breezing through quality assurance, exposing you to potentially damaging chemicals? Noone? So why would you expect the same from your stream artist?
Unfortunately, this trend is propagated by your average Fiverr designer, promising returns in as little as 48 hours. Yes, it’s convenient to receive final products within a few days, but – as we’ve seen – convenience rarely leads to professional quality.
In fact, an experienced designer will often spend a few days (at least!) just planning out and brainstorming your project alone.
These early days are spent drafting sketches, testing concepts, and running critical research on your brand and theme. By taking one’s time and fully exploring a theme, hidden creative opportunities begin to appear, while obstacles are identified and planned for.
From here, you’d expect to see a design go through multiple rounds of review. Elements are added and removed, new ideas explored, team feedback applied… Even then, client revisions still need to be incorporated and resubmitted.
And all this assumes a best case scenario. Creative block is a real challenge to any project. Even veteran designers struggle with it. Indeed it’s not uncommon for an artist to put a project down for a few days, just to recharge their creative energy and return with a fresh perspective. All this must be reflected in a project’s deadline.
So how does that promise of a 48 hour turnaround look now? See how improbable it is that a truly professional product can be delivered in such a tight time window? How can one expect the entire process above to be squeezed into a few short days or a week?
A Fiverr artist claiming speedy deliveries is an artist valuing quantity over quality. It’s an artist pumping out a high volume of half-baked, shallow products. And it’s inevitably an artist not willing to or capable of connecting with their client and his or her vision. Big Yikes.
So how long should good design take? Generally, we would say a few weeks is the absolute minimum one should expect. Plan for more. The end result will be worth it.
Listen, we’re not here to tell you all Fiverr artists are scammers. Or even the majority.
But we can say that it does happen. Far more than you’d think.
The amount of times we’ve seen Fiverr sellers passing other designers’ work off as their own is laughable. We regularly receive DMs from fans who spot our designs displayed in a Fiverr seller’s ‘portfolio’.
In fact right now, one of Fiverr’s featured artists (currently displayed on their homepage, no less!) is showcasing our work as one of their ‘completed projects’. They didn’t even bother to remove the Visuals by Impulse logo branding. KEKW.
At its most innocent, these sellers are misleading customers. By falsifying experience, styles, and capabilities, they set unrealistic expectations from the get-go. Customers enter with high hopes, only to leave with a disappointing end-product.
But there’s a darker side to this trend. One that’s a potential catastrophe for your brand.
And that’s theft.
The scenario goes like this. Let’s say you’re looking for a new logo. You find an artist producing top-quality work. You commission said artist, and shortly thereafter receive a snazzy new stream mascot.
Only you didn’t. Not really. Your ‘artist’ actually downloaded the design from an online database. Or perhaps they stole it from another streamer or brand. Either way, you’ve been duped.
That is, until some 10 months later when the original logo owner finds you using their design. They order a DMCA takedown of your Twitch channel, and the lights go out. Suddenly, this brand you’ve been strategically building over the past year is extinguished. You’re left back at square one, with a very, very confused audience.
The above might sound like a worst-case scenario. But we’ve been hearing these horror stories for years. It’s a real risk, and streamers need to be aware of the dangers.
Don’t believe us? This was TrainswrecksTV’s reaction when he discovered he was the latest victim of the scenario above.
Let’s not forget that most valuable of resources, time.
And time is of a premium to streamers. Between daily stream schedules, marathon sessions, and maintaining an IRL social life (kappa), those hours are tough to come by.
Sadly, most newbies don’t accommodate for the large time investment often involved with the Fiverr experience. You’ll likely be pouring hours into picking the right artist, then vetting them for professionalism and authenticity.
Odds are, your first few Fiverr selections won’t work out, so expect to repeat this process. Consider that your experience with each artist will likely require a number of revisions, as you try to salvage the project – further dragging out the process.
Considering all this, it’s easy to see why streamers commonly underestimate the time headache associated with Fiverr.
After all, time is money. Those cheap price tags come with hefty time investments, so don’t be fooled.
There are a number of simpler, more efficient options out there. Options that offer reliable, professional service, with quality and satisfaction guaranteed. You just need to know where to look.
So here we are. I guess you could call this our Fiverr diss-track.
It’s with mixed emotions that things have reached this point. As much as we respect the underlying ideology and principles behind Fiverr, the experiment in its current form is fundamentally flawed. We’ve put off publishing this piece for years now, but the gloves are finally coming off.
Why? Because it’s your everyday streamer who suffers most. The small part-timers, the newbies, the creator-on-a-tight-budget. Well, after years of disappointment, horror stories, and fraud, it’s time the truths and hypocrisies are laid bare.
Consider this proper forewarning. You can choose to do with it what you’d like.
We know that for some of you, the cheap price tags and quick turnarounds may outweigh the risks. While we respectfully disagree, we admire your hustle and determination.
For the rest of you, however, we wish you luck on your journey. Choose a professional studio or organization for your upcoming branding – or contact a respected artist from the livestreaming and esports community. You won’t regret it.
Whichever you choose, know that team VBI has your back.
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