Buy a template or hire a designer?

It is sometimes hard to decide whether to use a designer or buy a design template largely because you have so much choice.

It is sometimes a hard decision choosing to use either templates or creating an original design. I know from experience that it is hard to make a living as a graphic designer because places like 99Designs and Freelancer.com have given the consumer too much buying power. It is extremely cheap to get a reasonable quality design created for you using either of these websites and a great opportunity for small businesses.

99Designs allows you to setup a competition for designers to enter, you choose the prize, the winner and the requirements of the competition. For example if you wanted a logo created you could setup a prize of $100, you decide who will win and why. From this competition you will probably get more than 10 logo's based on your specifications. During the competition you can rate each logo so the competing designers know what designs you like most. If you don't like any of the logos then nobody wins and you keep your money. Freelancer.com has many different systems including choosing a designer to hire from a very large list.

On the other hand their are a lot of templates available online, this means you have a lot of choice. For example web templates from sites like themeforest.net/ are very good quality and you are able to rate the template or add your own customer review which motivates template developers to maintain a high standard. If they get bad reviews this will probably have a dramatic impact on sales so ultimately the template developers strive to please its customers.

If your getting a website created it is a good idea think about website security too, because web security is a growing problem, hiring somebody who understands how to protect your website is a good idea. Website security is more of a concern with database driven websites, for example Wordpress or Joomla. Simple 'brochure style websites' are usually more secure because their is no login system on the website for hackers to exploit.

To get the advantages of hiring a designer and selecting a template I recommend buying a template and getting a designer to edit it. hiring a designer gives you the advantage of asking for customisations and if you buy a predesigned template their will be no surprises because you can preview the design before you buy it.

To help you decide what you want to do I have included some links to freelance companies, stock photo stores and template shops:

Design Templates: http://www.stocklayouts.com/

Complex Programming Code Templates: http://codecanyon.net/

Website Themes: http://themeforest.net/

Stock Photos and Graphics: http://depositphotos.com/

Stock Photos and Graphics: http://www.shutterstock.com/

Stock Photos and Graphics: http://www.istockphoto.com/

Stock Graphics: http://graphicriver.net/

Freelancer Hub: https://www.freelancer.com.au/

Design Competitions: http://99designs.com.au/

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