Custom Marketing Collateral Designed Fast

February 27, 2010

Use to Get Custom Designed Marketing Materials FastGetting custom marketing collateral designed fast can be a challenge particularly for small businesses and startups.

I recently spoke with Nisha Baxi of Dyyno – who shared how she used to design everything from brochures and datasheets to business cards and flyers.

Business Card Design by niichan

Business Card Design

What brought you to

Dyyno is a new online video sharing platform that distributes HD video to an unlimited number of viewers for free. It’s a really cool technology and now that we are pushing it out to the public – we needed the marketing material to back it up.

We had been working with some local designers, but they were really expensive, they did not always do what we wanted them to do, we did not have very many designs to choose from, and ultimately their style is pretty much the same every time. While its nice to have one designer create a consistent look across all the collateral it’s also really good to have multiple options.

Datasheet Design by Arteche Gaston

Datasheet Design

What marketing collateral have you had designed at 99designs?

The first design project we ran was for a datasheet – we had over 90 submissions and we were really excited. I worked closely with five designers who were great about making changes while we were zeroing in on the final design. The designer that we ended up choosing has been awesome – even now he makes little tweaks to the design as need be.

We also have run projects to design a brochure, a flyer, a second datasheet, a quick start guide and our business cards – The experience that has just been tremendous. I’m not sure if 99designs has a screening process for the designers but if you do – it’s a good one. Every designer that we picked has been excellent with a great work ethic – they are just really, really helpful.

Because of 99designs we now have 6 great pieces of marketing collateral where before we had 3 terrible pieces. We have been to 5 conferences since I joined Dyyno, and I now feel more confident being next to companies that are much more established than us with quality of the marketing collateral we have gotten through 99designs.

Flyer Design by Arteche Gaston

Flyer Design

Do you have any tips for running successful design projects?

The most important thing is to stay active and give the designers feedback. The first project that I did – I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t giving nearly enough feedback. Now, I try to engage in the project in such a way that respects both my time and the time the designers put into it. For example, I eliminate the designs that are way off base right away. It may sound harsh, but it lets the designers know that they don’t need to waste any more time on it. The more respect you show the designers – the more likely they will be to help you and participate.

Brochure Design by phoebetsui

Brochure Design


16 Responses to “Custom Marketing Collateral Designed Fast”

  1. Scotty D. Says:

    It is funny that 99designs is always harping that these contests lead to further work for designers from the contest holders. In this case, the contest holder has held 7 projects, with at least two different designers winning the contest. You would think that the initial winner would win all further work, without the contest holder wasting other designer’s time, right? Wrong. Why pay one designer, when you can have hundreds of designers “waste time” as the contest holder stated. She was correct that she was saving many designers from “waste any more time on it”, by eliminating the initial designs that weren’t very good, but what about those that were close? The ones that she had make multiple revisions? Were they paid for the extra time that they put in? More than likely, she will still favor the designer that won the initial contests, but why not have 90 other designers waste time so that you can at least make sure that you are making the right decision? This is why speculative work is unethical. It is promoting the exploitation of graphic designer’s talents. It is making clients think that it is o.k. for designers to work for free, in hopes of being compensated for their hard work, when in reality, it is not o.k.

  2. SR Promotions Says:

    Scotty D,

    Listen man… I understand what youre arguing but spec work isnt the exploitation od designer’s talent.. nor does it make clients think that it is o.k. for designers to work for free. Before I get into that..

    First I want to thank Jason for posting this blog entry, and for interviewing the client because this gives everyone a deep look into the economics of the market, the education level of the CH’s, and the impact of 99Designs..

    Lets begin with what the client said “We had been working with some local designers, but they were really expensive, they did not always do what we wanted them to do, we did not have very many designs to choose from, and ultimately their style is pretty much the same every time.”

    “local designers” is an interesting way of describing who was providing their previous services. Normally a start up.. especially one with 7 million in VC capital and other forms of influx have a professional team that works with a professional firm. This isnt always the case, but in the case of Dyyno they were privy to a large base to start from… especially for a small business. However this doesnt really jive with reality in describing their previous “team” as local designers.. reason being their CEO was a former director with a startup non profit “aid” group or council.. I wouldve expected them to have extremely good relationships with a variety of branding firms in the silicon valley area.. this leads me to believe that either A) someone doesnt know what theyre doing, or B) much of their publicity isnt correct. Imagine.. a software firm with 25 employees, millions in start-up capital, unable to secure a professional marketing/branding firm in one of the most competitive marketing regions of the world… or unwilling to work with one?

    something isnt adding up.

    What my experience and my gut tells me.. is that most likely a professional firm was on board.. and for their services they were charging in the 5 figure realm for the desired branding initiative to be undertaken in earnests.. that being the market research for Dyyno’s core audience, the competitions approach and strategy, the attitude of the organization, etc.. all of which in the peer-to-peer market that Dyyno wishes to compete in would be exhaustive and expensive… which leads me to believe that again… either someone doesnt know what theyre doing.. or the press on Dyyno isnt accurate.

    If you search Dyyno the public relations effort is relatively impressive.. however from what I can see the return hasnt been as anticipated. I would imagine (and this comes from experience) that the former position of Dyyno’s CEO cultivated many relationships with many companies that run “self sustaining PR” machines.. for example.. the tech sector likes to push up relationships they share with each other.. so one client will name one of its partners as the “start-up of the month”.. pushing relationships and media to notice new people coming into the sector. Ive noticed that Dyyno has really benefited from these types of “programs”.. however.. there is nothing.. or very little.. in user review and actual market influence. In fact, despite their existing corporate relationships (which from the looks of it existed before they launched) they really arent attracting many users from their target base which from their press releases seems to be gamers or small business’s who use video conferencing.

    This is a direct effect of their marketing/branding/advertising efforts.

    Again.. we combine a lot of press.. with millions in start up.. and end up with few user reviews or market influence.. in effect.. Dyyno is getting very little bang for their marketing and branding bucks..

    BUT!!! And Scotty D this is where we come back to you..

    The bucks they are spending is paltry for any type of expected response further than what they are getting.

    On average Dyyno spends $600 per project and has spread this among a few different designers from around the world (none of them being from the United States). The print collateral is similar but not distinctive in anything it projects or conveys.. its not that the design is bad, its just the design isnt directed towards their target audience, it doesnt provide them with any type of recognition, and the pieces do not build on the equity of the other pieces as there is no continuity.. it has your typical tech “skype” feel.. your basic use of the ever so used “icons” and the 2.0 reflective “look”.. Dyyno looks like everyone else that does the same projects on here.. the designer goes to istock gets some pictures, downloads the icons.. throws up some solid colors and viola!! Dyyno’s brand has just accomplished nothing.

    I or anyone else could come across Dyyno at several different points and never recognize them from previous exposure.

    This really isnt that unexpected. And for the money invested which is just over $4,000.00 for 7 projects.. its almost on par with wasted money… however its 25% of what the minimal investment would have been just for a professional firm to actually do the identity and branding for which Dyyno could really take advantage of.

    So.. Scotty.. is it unethical to spend pennies and get what you pay for? I dont really think so.. and I dont think 99Designs plays any role in this being a bad thing. Look.. we can look at the facts of a client like Dyyno.. more flash than substance.. no understanding of what branding is.. no clue as how to cater to their target audience.. no idea of how to build a brand and sustain it.. to take advantage of their dollars spent.. but has a lot of technical brain power behind a product or service that is touted as revolutionary.. with millions in startup backing.. but decides to look as cheap as someone starting out on a budget $500.00.

    You always will get what you pay for.

    At some point someone from within the organization, or the VC will look at this, will look at the effort put forth and how the above listed projects make Dyyno “look” and how they are received and there will be a meeting of the minds… and 99Designs will not be the outlet of choice to fix this.. lol.. so.. in the end no harm has really been done.. some designers who most likely would not have ever had the chance to work on items like this got a few hundred bucks.. the rest a little practice..

    In the end, the market effect on real design, the real scope of what it takes to successfully brand serious clients is not affected.. in fact this Dyyno case study shows how badly professional firms are still needed. How going the cheap route.. actually does make you look cheap.. and that really 99Designs serves a good purpose for extra practice at no charge with the possibility of some extra cash… but its not a serious solution for serious people. Designers or clients.

    So.. its not like this example demonstrates that any exploitation is occurring.. your points are valid on spec work Scotty.. they are.. but only to the extent if the industry was really losing serious dollars, losing serious clients to the idea of getting cheap solutions as demonstrated by what Dyyno has accomplished here.

    In fact.. looking at the results.. this is the perfect demonstration of why 99Designs is NOT the place to come to when seeking serious branding work.. unless your on a tight budget or in need of something quick.. and honestly when professionals hold the marketing positions at firms they would never consider this as a viable option.

    There is more concern in my eyes towards the education and understanding of the CH’s that come here than the effect this community may have negatively on the industry as a whole. I see no trend towards spec work taking over serious branding/marketing/advertising initiatives.. not when you can see the results for yourself here.

    I wont ask you to stop complaining.. your voice is a positive thing here.. and i wont say that your take on spec work is wrong.. its as accurate as it can be. But i think you should be able to see that in the long run paying some kid in indonesia or some woman from france for badly done work isnt the end of the world and isnt going to do anything but further the appreciation for professional players in the design world.

    Cheer up some man…


  3. SR Promotions Says:

    not for nothin but:

    here are your lables = $5.00 US

    anyone of the same icons = $10.00

    stock photography = $12.00

    I mean.. like i said… you get what you pay for.

    Is it wrong that these designers did this? Of course not, its royalty free stuff.. they “arranged” them in a way that the client liked, added some color.. sort of.. made $600 bucks on a $50.00 investment of stock artwork and an hour and a half worth of effort.

    Its up to the client to decide if this “work”, helps establish the Dyyno brand, if it works to promote the Dyyno culture and product/service line, if it reflects the professionalism that Dyyno wishes to convey.. if it provides Dyyno with a distinctive recognizable brand in relation to its market peers and competition…

    In the end.. if theyre pleased with.. this.. than, i see no harm done to anyone.


  4. Gastón Arteche Says:

    Dear SR Promotions,
    Can you please contact me? I have some points to clarify about your Reply.

  5. Gastón Arteche Says:

    First of all Scotty D and SR Promotions, these are your real names?
    99 designs is awesome, it’s a great opportunity for “worldwide” clients and freelance workers.

    Scotty D,
    Why don’t you to try to work, get clients and compete, are you afraid of? Why try to fight with a worldwide business reality? I think is better grow up, expand, adapt. Maybe you think that selling free royalty images for 0.25 each is wrong, so if you can change the way of making business of iStock, Getty Images, Fotolia, Dreamstime, etc, let me know.

    SR Promotions,
    What are you promoting? Instead of criticize you could try to do a real job. If you can do these designs in half an hour maybe you’ll have tons of clients! Do you have any idea of the working process? There’s thousands of excellent creative people in 99designs. And guess what? The clients are always getting “much more” of what they are paying for.
    I don’t have time to teach you about advertising campaigns, target audiences, marketing plans, etc.
    Dyyno is an excellent client, they know what they want, and I can assure they will have success selling their products and services and in their future business.

    If both of you have concerns about the professionalism of 99 designers and clients, you should talk to them in first place.
    Do you want to know about who designs for Dyyno? I won 10 over 35 projects, member since mid october 2009, I have a lot of local clients, but now I have worldwide clients too. Of course, always competing with hundreds. I have over 18 years of experience in advertising, design and marketing, working with worldwide companies too. But I’m not trying to promote myself.

    Like I said, there are excellent clients and pros out there, and the great success of “99 designs” is the ability to unite both ends.

    Well, I can’t really waste more time on this, I have to work. I hope you too.

    • Scotty D. Says:

      You are not gaining clients by winning contests. Clients would use you exclusively for all of their design work. It is a complete lack of respect for the winning designer (you) to have to submit artwork to Dyyno’s contests, after you have already proved that your work is what they are looking for.

      Also, If you can do these designs in half an hour like you said, you are putting zero thought into the designs. I guess people who try to make a living on here by shoveling out quickly made, bad designs in hopes to win a design lottery just don’t get it.

    • SR Promotions Says:


      Take time to “teach” me? lol

      Teach me how using a royalty free stock vector (one you didnt even create) arranged off balance, complimented by royalty free stock vector icons (which normally are for use on the web, lol) on some random background has anything to do with any type of branding, marketing, advertising “campaign”… other than to be as generic and unfocused as you can possibly be?

      I wasnt able to read the breif for these projects.. but did the CH specifically ask for nothing original, nothing to set them apart, to actually go purchase stock vector images, even ones normally used for the web and “arrange” them together? Because if thats what the brief asked for then you accomplished it flawlessly.

      Listen.. i didnt say that it was a bad thing that you did this. Obviously Dyyno liked it. What I pointed out is that downloading stock vector images from sites like istockphoto and arranging royalty free stock artwork in a “pretty” way.. is not the definition of branding, it certainly is the opposite. But for $600.00… what more could you expect?

      In regards to Dyyno.. im sure theyre an excellent client since it sounds like your criteria for that is that they pay the winner. I guess in terms of 99Designs CH’s, thats really the only test they have to pass. But as a designer and creator of true brands and identities… Dyyno is not the ideal client, if all theyre seeking is royalty free artwork plastered together for $600.00. Then again.. im a professional, i “compete” here for the fun of it.. but im not here to placate those who think theyre doing the right thing.. this is still an idustry based on professionalism… not stock artwork search and purchase.

      My point was that for the money they spent.. they got exactly what they paid for. That none of the material displayed on this blog shares more than the logo for continuity.. that no identity has been established other than a cheap generic, same look as everyone else tag… and that for a company of Dyyno’s size and supposed funds.. it just seems off and that in the end when these clear obvservations need to be addressed and fixed that 99Designs will not be the avenue of choice for repair.

      I didnt say that no talented designers were here, i didnt say that every now and then quality products dont come down the pipe.. i didnt say it was impossible to get clients from here.. i know the exact opposite to be true..

      But this blog post demonstrates some truths that i think shouldnt be glossed over. A company with millions has come here for marketing collateral.. in my opinion they got exactly what they paid for.. and that maybe this isnt the success story its being portrayed. I dont do this out of any desire to harm you or any other designer.. if youre proud of your ability to search and purchase royalty free stock images and arrange them for clients.. thats fine.. theres nothing wrong with that.. but i dont want everyone reading this to think this is the way professional designers operate, that this is a preferred process.. that somehow youre getting a bargain here for serious design necessities…. this is a myth.. not in every case, but as ive pointed out.. cleary one in THIS case.

      This isnt meant to bash you.. you addressed what the client was looking for and you won the prize.

      However the success of design and the strategy behind such things, especially as it relates to a marketing aspect.. these things base success on the results of the entire effort.. not really on whether or not you win a contest. So for other business out there, its only fair to educate them and point out that cheap doesnt mean good.. and good very rarely is ever cheap. That this process, being the use of 99Designs, if youre on a low budget or out of time is a fairly good solution.. but that really trying to use start up firms, especially of Dyyno’s size and funding, and when clearly the person in charge of their marketing dept may not know everything that might need to be known.. that sometimes the results can be bad.. that sometimes using this process actually does more harm than good. This is really why the vast majority of the CH’s you see here are the small business owners themselves (not withstanding the random huge project that 99Designs recruits).. they arent marketing majors, they have no experience with these things, they dont understand a lot of what a designer should do for them, should protect them from (like being seen in public with royalty free stock vector marketing material).. etc.. Its really the reason why business relies on professionals..

      Ive told several of the staff members here at 99Designs that I really enjoy it here, that i dont really feel any threat from 99Designs on the design industry.. that really there are a lot of positives.. and i never just bash their ideas or upgrades without offering sound alternatives based on real experience. They know this.. they also know that 99Designs is not without faults, and that input from every angle always helps make things better. My input from this angle is that although some may believe that Dyyno is a success story to be showcased.. in reality.. its sort of the opposite of what should really take place here.

      In any case..

      Im sure youre a good guy, i think youre work is good, and i hope continued success for you. I really do.



      • Gastón Arteche Says:

        Sr Promotions,
        Please tell me your real name, by now you are only someone behind an anonymous alias. Why?
        Do you know if Dynno is having success or not? You are only guessing. Like I said before you don’t know about Dyyno, what they are looking for with the communication. So if you don’t know, contact us and ask before write such things. Your comments were very offensive to Dyyno, 99d and to all designers community.

        Taking your words, if you can make those designs in half an hour is $ 600 x 1/2 hour, around $ 192.000 a month. We are cheap?

        Please try be positive and constructive, your negativity won’t bring you more clients.

      • SR Promotions Says:


        My name is Scott Robbins. I could care less about any alias, i was just using my 99Designs screename.. its what most people use when posting on the blog?

        I dont blame dyyno for being offended… if i had found out that I trusted a designer to do something for me, and i ended up with a bunch of vector stock artwork, no real identity, no brand continuity between the pieces, nothing original or dynamic.. ill be honest.. id be offended too. But then again… this is what i paid for. So I wont apologize for stating the truth… and I dont think Dyyno would try and argue that they couldve used a professional branding/marketing/advertising firm for less than double what they paid here.. just to start on concepts. I will say that the business card design is actually very good.

        I would argue that most designers, well… professional designers find no offense in my comments at all. Really its more of a perfect example of why we pro’s do what we do, and why what we do is important, and why spending the least amount possible sometimes is not the best way to go. I think most designers find it very encouraging to know that in the long run… stuff like this isnt really usable to any effect. That the trade is vitally important, and that 99Designs really poses no serious threat, no reason to attack 99Designs, no reason to worry about some spec work trend in the future. This really was the perfect case study of why professional design is needed.. and when 99Designs is probably not the best option for a business. That its strengths lie in the cost effectiveness to small business’s with a very small budget.

        What you see as negative is as constructive as any professional designer can be. I didnt blast 99Designs, i didnt blast your skill level, i didnt just throw some random remarks out about the decisions of dyyno. I clearly explained, after thanking Jason for posting this blog entry, some lessons that can be learned for future business owners as well as designers of what this case study represents.

        There can always be constructive criticism.. im not sure if you were expecting real designers to come on here and tell you how well you placed the vector stock artwork that someone else created, but I dont really think that was a realistic expectation.

        Im not worried about gaining clients through 99Designs.. My only concern was to educate through clear and precise explanations of what is and isnt helpful to both parties involved.. the client and the designer, based on this blog entry and the comments from the CH. A different perspective.. one born from years and years of experience, fully explained, not just random comments..

        As a business owner myself, if I had no idea what the importance of some of the items discussed in this thread were, then after reading it, i might have a better understanding.

        If Dyyno reads this and says.. “wow.. i didnt know that these icons were pretty much internet wide stock vectors, i didnt know that really nothing original was done by these artists.. that in effect our material doesnt really do us what it SHOULD be doing for us, what it COULD be doing for us.. even at the most basic level..”.. if this is what comes out of it, then Id say its a very positive thing for them.. in the end its about the clients, not your ego, not your desire to “prove” that what you did was right. This isnt an attack on you.. this is just basic common knowledge. You did prepare pieces entirely composed of royalty free vector stock artwork… with a little color. I havent said this was wrong or bad.. but it is what it is. I dont think business owners really want to come here, and really not knowing what goes on.. i dont think they wish to come here and have designs done for them in this manner. I think, as you have indicated that you have 18 years of experience, that surely youre not advocating that companies world wide should resort to just desiring material that in essence they could buy off of istockphoto and really put together themselves? Is this what youre trying to say? Please correct me if im mistaken.

        If 99Designs in the future wants to showcase work and case studies, they might consider the ones that arent just displays of vector stock artwork.. that they could show some of the truly amazing concepts developed here, the case studies that show a small budget oriented small business that spent what they could and came away with something awesome. And really, there are some very outstanding examples of this.. truly amazing work done here on small contests.. but it was the most the CH could do.

        I think all of these are positives, and things that would help 99Designs, help clients and business owners, and help designers as well. To be honest.. im not sure 99Designs is too excited about posting case studies that are really nothing more than royalty free vector stock artwork.. Im not sure that this conveys the best of what there is about 99Designs and the true strength of what it can offer.

        So.. I really feel like my comments have extremely constructive and positive for all involved. It should help business owners understand a little more about the process, the economies involved, what they should shoot for in terms of excellence based on their budget, it should help 99Designs to maybe be a little more selective in what they choose to showcase.. to maybe showcase the truly original artwork done by some of their more talented participants.. to demonstrate how these projects had positive effects and produced cost effective results.. not just an example of a company that came here and ran a few projects.. certainly not the examples of basic royalty free vector stock artwork.. and I think designers can learn a lot about their trade craft, the direction of their industry, where places like 99Designs should fit in their mind and how to best take advantage of different opportunities as it relates to clients and the services they should be providing.

        In fact.. i see nothing negative about my comments at all.

        Again.. i wish you nothing but good luck and fortune!!


  6. gaston arteche Says:

    Wrong again, now I have 3 more clients outside 99d. Maybe I did some good job? Dyyno it’s an excellent company, period. I work with them, I know. Did you know or did you guess?

    Don’t put all the people in the same bag, the only reason for answering is because you did post here.
    I never make a job in half an hour, please read, that was in response to SR Promotions, who claims that.

    If you don’t like 99d just don’t use it!
    I love to create, and I’m very thankful to make a living of this.

    It is so easy and free to talk, business don’t.

  7. Jason Aiken Says:


    Please take care to show each other the respect that we all deserve.

    I encourage healthy, constructive conversation on the blog.

    It is OK to disagree and share contrasting viewpoints – just do so respectfully… don’t get personal.


  8. Mohammad Says:

    Wow.. No offense to you Gaston but did the flyers and stuff designed by you really come out like it’s shown on the screen?? Like I’m shocked because 99% of the design is full of gradients, gloss etc and I had experiences of those photoshop effects coming out terrible when printed… But to be honest those look like online newsletters not like a print design that I would be expecting from a guy with 15+ years experience in the advertising industry.


  9. Debashis Says:

    Is anybody taking about this contest by “dyyno”:

    I am really surprised to see this sort of awfulness? That contest was designed for only one person !! Where is the ethics, man?

    • Jason Aiken Says:

      Hi Debashis,

      Yeah – that is strange?

      I had not seen it… but I will contact Dyyno and investigate.


    • Jason Aiken Says:

      Here is what I found out – Dyyno wanted to work directly with one specific designer, but they did not have a way to pay him. So they essentially improvised a private project – so they could use our platform and payment methods.

      Ultimately there needs to be a better solution for this – sorry for any confusion it may have caused.


      • Debashis Says:

        Hi Jason,
        I really adore your approach of getting things done so early for us. Here one question (as a form of a suggestion) would pop-up – CAN I USE YOUR PLATFORM AS A MEDIUM TO SEND SOME PAYMENT TO ONE OF MY CREATIVE FRIEND STAYING IN USA, WHO IS IN FACT A MEMBER OF YOUR COMMUNITY? Perhaps, NO !!

        But yes, if 99Designs facilitate the feature of inviting only selected designers to a contest and no others can enter but can see after the contest ends! This way, many won’t feel embarrassed. And many would be happy to be invited to a personalized contest to compete with only selected designers.

        Other two ways of avoiding the Dyyno contest issue:
        1. The reason of working with one person and paying him could have been done off-line if the person is using the same mode of payment that 99Designs is using.
        2. May be the client would have intimated with a board notice that this contest is personalized and work with their past designer(s).

        Wishing the best,

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