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Airport Hacks Only Pro Travelers Know About

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Airport hacks

Do you want to skip long queues, drink for free, get good prices on seats or learn how to get a free upgrade to first class? If so, read on because we’ve compiled some of the best airport hacks for business traveling. These tips can help you save money and make your trip a bit more comfortable.

1. Sign Up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

If you want to skip long lines, signing up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry will allow you to breeze through security lines. Once approved, you are whisked ahead and there is no need to take off your shoes or remove your laptop from its case. It makes business travel easy and more civilized. The US, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and other countries have similar pre-scanning programs that work with Global Entry.

The TSA PreCheck makes traveling domestically simpler while Global Entry makes returning from an international trip easier as it eradicates paperwork and long queues. Basically, they are clearance from the US Customs and Border Protection that designate people as low-risk travelers. All it takes is a background check, interview, and payment of fees and you can clear customs in a hurry.

2. Boarding Pass

Boarding passes like tickets are downloadable and printable nowadays. However, we are still a slave of technology and many of us have had embarrassing moments where we can’t find our boarding pass on our phone or the app suddenly hangs. Avoid these embarrassing moments by taking a screenshot of your pass and showing it to the boarding gate. Screenshots are easier to find and don’t require the use of an internet connection.

3. Pay For First Class Lounge

Airport lounge

This airport hack comes in handy if you travel a lot. The first-class lounge costs around $30-$50 and has access to free drinks (including alcohol), internet, comfortable seats, and free food. In some airports, there are even shower rooms and quiet rooms for sleeping. If you have a long layover, the first-class lounge can be money well spent. Business traveling in style.

4. Book the Red-Eye

Taking the red-eye can be less stressful than taking other flights. Taking the last flight in or out helps you avoid the hustle and bustle of the airport and roads. Choose late-night flights especially if it’s an overnighter. If it leaves at 10 pm, you can avoid rush hour traffic, lines at security and check-in will be minimal and the airport will be less crowded and you can fall asleep during your flight and wake-up at your destination.

5. Save On Internet Fees

Roaming for your cellular device can be very expensive for data and the internet. Instead of racking up charges, sign up for Boingo, a wifi hotspot provider. They charge around $4.98 per month for internet access in the Americas and $59 a month for worldwide coverage. Check your American Express platinum card if you can get a subscription for free so you can network while you’re in the air.

Check if your airline has a loyalty program. This will encourage you to travel more frequently as you rack up the miles and get more perks. Keeping this in mind will make your business trips cost less and traveling easier.

Also, if you’re using free airport security, check this article first.

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Hedgehog Umbrella: The Umbrella For All Seasons

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With the stormy season just over the horizon, what better time to invest in a high-quality umbrella other than now?

Introducing the Hedgehog Umbrella; a compact umbrella that is able to withstand strong winds up to 70mph without breaking. Yes, 70 miles per hour winds, that’s already a category 1 hurricane.

The structure was inspired by automobile technology. Its WINDFlex system can confidently say that it can withstand anything nature has to offer. It has a carbon fiber construction, a sturdy stainless steel shaft and handles, with polycarbonate joints.

One might ask, why in the world would someone need an umbrella that can hold up or withstand hurricane-level winds? Well, we would say, “Why not?”. Umbrellas were designed to either keep us dry during the rain or provide shade when it’s sunny. That is often the case. But when faced with strong, chaotic winds – our umbrellas tend to break – making us buy umbrellas over and over again. 

But the hedgehog umbrella provides a solution to a problem we always tend to sometimes overlook. As its company has boldly stated, “the hedgehog umbrella is engineered to be unbreakable, tested to the extreme, and backed by a global lifetime warranty.”

To understand this statement, let’s have a look at the different aspects of what makes the hedgehog umbrella amazing.

Fashionable and Customizable Canopies

With the hedgehog umbrella, you can choose from a variety of colors. The canopy is comprised of a 210 thread count Pongee fabric that is water repellent – which is thin sturdy. It is also built in a way that you can easily switch out canopies if the need arises.

The hedgehog umbrella will also be releasing an option in the near future to customize your own canopy via uploading an image. Now your dream of having an umbrella with your dog’s face on it can come true- or not.

Short and Practical Umbrella Shaft and Handle

The hedgehog umbrella also comes with the usual umbrella “slip” so you can easily store it all tight and snug like. Once collapsed and ready for storage, the umbrella is only 13 inches long and weighs 1 lb, making it easy and practical to bring along with you anywhere.

Unfortunately, the hedgehog umbrella does not come with an automatic button for deployment. Though priced at $99, it is a fully manual umbrella. But at the same time, the automatic machinations are what makes umbrellas weak, so though the hedgehog umbrella sacrifices a little bit of luxury, it makes up with emphasizing its bold statement of being “unbreakable”.

On that note, to deploy the umbrella, one just needs to hold the handle and use the other hand to push the frame up towards the lock at the top. To close it, one just needs to press the button at the center to unlock the lock mechanism.

The handle is thick, making it easy to grasp giving out a feeling of sturdiness and dependability. The overall feel of the hedgehog umbrella gives out a sense of comfort. Even though it’s made of high-grade materials able to withstand hurricane-level winds- it’s petite structure and design can sometimes make you forget.

Width Capacity

When fully deployed, the hedgehog umbrella can comfortably fit two people within its canopy span. So you don’t have to worry if this umbrella can fit you and your significant other because yes, it can.

To summarize, the hedgehog umbrella has the ability to:

  • Be unaffected  by 70MPH winds
  • Interchange canopy 
  • Design your own canopy (for the fashionista inside all of us)
  • Provide lifetime warranty
  • Ensure practicality and be built using high-grade materials

What does that mean? It means that the hedgehog umbrella has successfully solved most problems people have with umbrellas:

  1. it’s unbreakable
  2. it’s compact and practical
  3. it’s eloquently designed, and
  4. it has a lifetime warranty

Wrap Up

Gone are the days when you have to lower your umbrella or to make sure you’re walking downwind just so your umbrella won’t break. Gone are the days where you have different separate umbrellas for different occasions; be it windy, rainy, or sunny – the hedgehog umbrella is a star for all seasons.

You will no longer have to think about where to put your big long umbrellas. With the hedgehog umbrella, you can easily store it inside your bag. With the design, you also don’t need to worry about putting an eye out. The hedgehog umbrella can be the best friend you never knew you needed. Be it rain or shine, it will be there for you – protecting you. 

Though it is indeed a bit pricey at $99, plus it lacks the automatic button for deployment, it is still without a doubt one of the best umbrellas out there. If you live in a windy or rainy area, the hedgehog umbrella is a must-have item for you. 

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X-TEND: Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage

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Since the dawn of time, mankind has been driven to explore to mark those uncharted maps of personal experiential wealth. Especially now in this digital age, where scenic places are easily seen from our day-to-day relationship with social media, the urge has never been greater.

Yet today, we see new innovations in making traveling so much easier. From new model airplanes, multi-leveled tours, and thousands of resorts and hotels sprouting from every beach and every island. Yet why, even when technology has changed the travel industry so much, have our suitcases stayed the same? For the longest time we have had to put up with:

  • Easily broken wheels,
  • Awkward handles,
  • Loose zippers,
  • And the timeless luggage dilemma of having too little or too much space.

Well, fret no more. This product overview is here to open your mind to a luxury you never knew you needed.

Introducing the Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage! Your travel buddy that covers all your travel needs.  This suitcase ensures efficiency, security, practicality, and is just plain beautiful. But what makes this product different from all the other existing types of luggage you say? Well here are five reasons why:

Not enough space? Now you can avail of a 2-in-1 suitcase!

The timeless problem of either packing a small carry-on to the brim or to check in a large suitcase. The Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage is expandable. Yes, expandable! You no longer have to choose between a small carry on or a large suitcase because this suitcase is both!

Kabuto boasts their suitcase as the first smart expandable carry-on. Go from a carry-on to a full-size suitcase with ease in just a few seconds! Yes! With XTEND’s Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage, you can now have the best of both worlds.

TSA approved fingerprint lock

You read that right. Fingerprint locks are coming to the luggage industry. With this, the Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage protects your luggage from unwanted invaders. Keep your belongings secure with a fingerprint lock.

Not only is it secure, but it is also practical. You will never have to worry about losing a key, or having a padlock broken in. All you need is your finger.

But what if you want to lend the luggage to a friend, or when you’re traveling with family? Don’t worry! The fingerprint lock can register up to 10 different fingerprints.

Ultra built-in battery for the connected traveler

So let’s say you’re on an inter-connected trip where it requires you to be on the go for multiple and long periods of time, and you just can’t reach that power bank at the bottom of your suitcase. Worry no more, the solution is here!

The Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage has built-in power and a convenient charging pocket that will charge all your devices on-the-go. Yes, ALL devices from a smartphone, laptops, cameras, etc. The battery has 4 sockets:

  • USB A 2.4 A
  • USB A 2.4 A
  • USB C 2.4 A
  • MICRO-USB 

It also has a digital indicator of how much battery percentage is your device charged. It boasts a 20,000mAh battery and can charge your iPhone up to 10 times!

Set the trend, because it’s all about the design

It all started with a dream. A dream to make an ergonomic, practical, elegant, and digital suitcase. The suitcase can provide the following:

  • Laptop Sleeve – that keeps your valuable electronics protected and handy, allowing space up to a 15” laptop.
  • Access Pocket – it also has a direct and quick access back pocket that is protected by an armored PE plate (polyethylene plastic) to protect your personal items. It can fit a 13” laptop.
  • Improved Handle – this suitcase also boasts an extra-wide handle and a super flat interior providing you extra space and at the same time giving you great ergonomic steering comfort.
  • Extra Compartment – the suitcase also offers an extra compartment at the base for shoes, books, magazines, a jacket, hats, and many more!

All-terrain wheel

Noisy wheels are but a thing of the past. With large 5 ½-inch wheels, mounted on a double ball-bearing – rubber wheels roll quietly on any terrain. From sidewalks, stairs, and curbs, these wheels will be with you rolling all the way!

The Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage was designed with style and durability. Now, you can walk comfortably and confidently anywhere!

Conclusion

To sum it all up, the Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage is not only more advanced than all other suitcases and carry-ons, but it also surpasses them in terms of design and quality!

Your suitcase is a tool used to make traveling easy. Explore the world and live life by making this suitcase your best friend. With the Kabuto Smart Carry-on luggage, you can never go wrong.

So what are you waiting for? As with their slogan; Kabuto – travel that moves you.

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Design Pickle Vs Penji: Which Is The Best Unlimited Graphic Design Service? (w/Promo codes)

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Design Pickle vs Penji cover

Two names dominate the unlimited graphic design space – Penji and Design Pickle. Design Pickle vs Penji, which is the better service for you? We signed up for both companies and see who offers a better service, so you don’t have to.

Unlimited graphic design companies are a new breed of services that are gaining popularity in the last few years (see the complete list of unlimited graphic design companies). Their promise is simple, you pay a flat monthly rate and get unlimited design projects for the month.

No hiring, no HR, no interviews, and absolutely no managing on your part. Just submit the designs, and the company will find the best designer for you and take care of the rest. Sounds too good to be true? We did an in-depth review of Penji and Design Pickle (coming soon) to see if the promise is real, and the promise holds up.

Today, we’ll see which of these two unlimited graphic design service providers offer the best value for your money. For our comparison review, we’re going to be comparing these two companies based on the following criteria: Speed, Quality, Communications, Ease of use, and Value.

DESIGN PICKLE VS PENJI – QUICK SUMMARY

This is a rather long and extensive review. So if you don’t want to go through everything, here’s a quick 2-minute summary of everything.

  • We signed up for both Penji and Design Pickle’s $399 plan to see which company provided a better service and experience.
  • Pricing differences: Penji’s pricing included more design types. Design Pickle didn’t include Logos, complex infographics, and presentations.
  • Custom Illustrations: Included with Penji’s Team ($499) and Agency ($899) plan. Design Pickle charges $499 add-on on top of your existing plan.
  • Design quality test: Both companies received the same four projects with the same exact wording, attachments, etc.
  • Design Pickle won “Versus” blog Featured Image
  • Penji won Facebook Cover Image For Digital Pub, Print Magazine Cover Re-Design, and Content Infographic Re-Design.
  • Creativity & details: Penji’s designs were more creative and got the small details
  • Customer support: Design Pickle had more responsive support and online knowledgebase. Penji’s account manager was more responsive and proactive emailed us.
  • Turnaround: Both companies delivered 2-3 drafts within 24 hours. Revisions were also speedy. Design Pickle took 12 – 24 hours for revisions, while Penji usually turnaround revisions the same day.
  • Platform & Integrations: Both had intuitive and easy to use platforms. Design Pickle had more integrations. Penji’s slack integration was difficult to use and requires dev help.

Final verdict

Design Pickle vs Penji, the winner is Penji in several categories. Design Pickle did win in a few categories. However, Penji won in the major categories that mattered. Penji’s design quality, attention to detail, and creativeness tends to be superior.

Penji offers better value as covering more design categories. Penjis’ team also was more responsive and felt like working with people instead of processes and canned responses.

Design Pickle was excellent in terms of their processes and operations. However, that shows in the design output and communication. Everything felt more mechanical, robotic, and templated.

Penji promo code

If you want to give them a try, use this Penji promo code “OWNER25” to get 25% off your 1st month. Full disclaimer, we receive a commission when you use the code.

Design Pickle’s promo code


DESIGN PICKLE VS PENJI FULL REVIEW

Although both companies offer the same services, their pricing model is very different. Design Pickle separates their plans into Pro and Standard. Standard starts at $399/month and you’ll be working with a Philippine designer for next-day turnaround.

Meanwhile, the $995 lets you work with the designer via Slack for real-time communication and same-day delivery. You also get advanced infographics, animated GIFS, and Powerpoint designs for the Pro plan.

Design Pickle's pricing table
(Pricing as of 4/2/2020. Picture edited to fit article. )

Penji’s pricing, on the other hand, has three tiers. Penji’s low plan is ironically called its “Pro” plan. At $399/mo it costs the same as Design Pickle’s Standard plan and appears to offer the same level of design service. Design Pickle offers Zapier integrations. Although Penji doesn’t offer Zapier integrations, they have an Invite feature that lets you add more than one user to the account. I personally find that very useful.

Penji's pricing table
(Pricing as of 4/2/2020. Picture edited to fit article)

For this review, we chose to sign up for the $399 Standard plan from Design Pickle vs $399 Pro plan from Penji. Here’s a chart to compare the two plans side by side.

DESIGN PICKLE VS PENJI $399 PLAN COMPARISON

The pricing page alone doesn’t tell the whole story. We want to know exactly what each plan offers and what you get in terms of design offerings for $399/month. After digging around their websites and asking their support chat, we uncovered more details each plan has to offer. Here’s a chart we made to showcase all of the hidden features and important benefits included with the $399 plan from each company.

Design Pickle vs Penji: Basic plan comparison chart

There’s a number of differences between the two Company’s offerings for their base $399 plans that you need to be aware of.

# Of Designers

This is how many designers you’ll be working with essentially. Design Pickle’s pricing plans indicate that you’ll be assigned to 1 designer and be working with just that designer. Meanwhile, Penji doesn’t assign you to any designer until you actually create a project. When you create a project, they will assign you to the best available designer for that type of project.

Penji’s support team told me they utilize this method of assigning to make sure we only work with designers who are actually good at the type of design we’re requesting. I’ll have to give a point to Penji for this one.

Logo Designs

Design Pickle explicitly stated that they only offer Logo design for their Pro plan ($995/m). It’s not explicitly stated on Penji’s pricing page, but their customer support confirmed logo design is included for all plans.

Illustrations

Neither company offers custom illustrations as a part of their $399 plan. However how they incorporate it is uniquely different. Penji packaged Custom Illustration in their Team ($499) and Agency ($899) plans.

Design Pickle doesn’t include Custom Illustration in their Pro plan ($995). To get Custom Illustrations, you will need to pay an extra $499 add-on every month that you need an illustrator.

Design Pickle vs Penji: Here’s what it will cost you to get custom illustrations with each company.

Penji: Team plan $499 / month (includes Custom Illustrations)

Design Pickle: Pro plan $399 + $499 Custom Illustration add-on = $898 / month

It costs quite a bit more to get custom illustration with Design Pickle. If you rarely need custom illustrations, this won’t be an issue. But if custom illustration is a big part of your design needs, you might need to look closely at this.

1. REGISTRATION AND ONBOARDING

Design Pickle vs Penji’s registration process was both smooth and efficient. I didn’t feel either one asked too many questions or was complicated. Penji allows you to sign up for any plan you want right away. Meanwhile, Design Pickle only lets you sign up for the Standard plan. To register for the Pro ($995) plan, you need to schedule a demo

Design Pickle versus Penji’s Onboarding

After I signed up for their services, both led me straight into their online portal right away. I was able to create my first project almost immediately. I didn’t actually get a “Welcome” email with Design Pickle, which was strange, I figured they’d send me something. I did get a handful of emails, one of which was a brilliantly created video that showed me how to write a better project description. The video was quite long, but it was polished, well written, and hilarious. I love that about their company.

Penji was very conservative with their onboarding. I received an official “Welcome to Penji” email with essential information, which was nice. Then the next day I received an email from someone named Charmaine from their company. It wasn’t a templated or auto-responder email, it was my account manager emailing asking how I was doing. I liked that.

2. CREATING DESIGN PROJECTS

Now for the real question – who provides better quality designs? All the features, bells, and whistles are pointless if the company can’t turnaround quality designs for you.

We created three test projects and posted them to Penji and Design Pickle. To make sure everything was fair, all projects have the exact same description and attachments. We even went as far as giving them the same exact feedback on each of the drafts.

Here are the test projects:

  1. Facebook Cover Image For Digital Pub
  2. Print Magazine Cover Re-Design
  3. Content Infographic Re-Design
  4. “Versus” blog Featured Image

As a digital publication, we work with design agencies and freelancers to get our design work done. These projects are taken directly from our queue. We chose these projects specifically because they all require different skills to complete and will give us an idea of how versatile each company is.

3. TURNAROUND TIME

We submitted the four projects to both Penji and Design Pickle respectively. Both the drafts and revisions were quick by both companies.

Design Pickle

We received drafts for 2 out of 4 projects back the next day. This was very fast, much faster than any of the freelancers we’ve hired. One of the projects didn’t receive submissions because my designer had a question that needed a response, which was understandable.

Upon submitting revisions, I started to see delays. Even when I submitted simple revisions, it seems to always take 24 hours no matter how small or big the revisions were.

Penji

We received drafts for 3 out of the 4 projects back from Penji within 24 hours. Just as fast as Design Pickle. My designer also asked a question about one of the projects, but she skipped that one and worked on the 4th project instead of waiting for my response.

Revisions were usually done the same day. And I noticed that if my designer isn’t online, my account manager would assign another designer to quickly jump in and make the revisions.

Turnaround Winner…Penji

Design Pickle vs Penji in terms of turnaround time, Penji is the faster company. Both companies were fantastically speedy with delivery and I can’t say I was disappointed with either company. However, Penji was able to deliver fast revisions, especially simple ones much quicker. And that’s important because waiting 24 hours for a fix on a small grammatical error is frustrating.

4. DESIGN QUALITY

Now for the ultimate reveal. Design Pickle vs Penji, which company produced better quality design? See for yourself.

“Versus” blog Featured Image

Blog Graphics Comparison

View DP’s design | View Penji’s Design

This was a fairly simple blog graphic request. We write a lot of comparison articles and wanted a featured image that we can use as a template and swap out names of products or companies we’re comparing.

Design Pickle: My designer was Arvin. It took us several revisions to get to the final product, and overall it’s very close to what I had envisioned. 8/10

Penji: My designer was Kenny. It also took several revisions, however, I can’t say I was pleased with the final product. It felt like Kenny was just following literal instructions and nothing more after the 2nd revisions. I give this project 5/10.


Facebook Cover Image For Digital Pub

Design Pickle vs Penji Facebook Cover Design Comparison

View DP’s design | View Penji’s Design

One of our publishing partner Consumer’s Guide needed a new Facebook cover photo. This was a fairly simple design request, with the exception that you have to check out the website and understand what the company does in order to create a banner. I gave special instructions such as …use the Logo in the design and showcase what the publication does on the cover image.

Design Pickle: Given I was impressed with Arvin on the 1st project, I was thoroughly disappointed with this one. I don’t think the designer ever went to the website to review the publication at all. Just a glance would’ve helped. This looks like 6 random images from Pexel or Unsplash stitched together. 3/10

Penji: Rowell (a different designer) was assigned to this project, and it seemed like he took the time to review the website before designing. I didn’t even know, but apparently there was a new logo on the website that I wasn’t aware of. Rowell took the time to ask for the new logo. The end result was beautiful and our friends over at Consumer’s Guide loved it. 9/10


Print Magazine Cover Re-Design

Magazine Cover Comparison

View DP’s design | View Penji’s Design

By far one of the most important projects for us. We’re both a digital and a print publication and this spring we’re releasing another edition of Owner’s Mag. The designers are tasked to design the actual cover for Owner’s Mag second edition print magazine. All instructions, copy, and even past designs were given. The cover needed to look professional, refined, and most importantly highlight the Coronavirus Pandemic. I also asked for this to design in Photoshop.

Design Pickle: I was assigned to Alyssa randomly, and wasn’t sure why. The first draft was atrociously bad and she gave me Adobe Illustrator files instead of Photoshop like I had requested. Arvin (my main designer) was quickly re-assigned to fix the design. Several drafts later, it’s just nowhere near the level of polish and professionalism that we needed. I gave instructions to “Highlight the Coronavirus” section. My designer proceeded to make the texts CORONAVIRUS texts bigger. Quality rating: 3/10.

Penji: Billie was assigned to this project. The first several drafts were simply amazing. It was clear to me that Billie has designed plenty of magazine covers before as she knew where to place things and how to organize content blocks on a cover. It took a few revisions to be perfect, but I was happy from the beginning.

What I was most impressed with was how she clever highlighted the “Coronavirus” section. I was speechless at the final product. I showed the design to my editor and they couldn’t believe it didn’t come from one of the design agencies we hired. Of all the designs we submitted, the quality and level of creativity in this design far exceeded our expectations. And this is the design we will likely be going with for our print edition. Quality rating: 10/10


Content Infographic Re-Design

View DP’s design | View Penji’s Design

Infographics are some of the most challenging and difficult designs to get right. We’ve hired a lot of people to design infographics for us, and it’s hard to find someone good who understands how to design infographics. Infographics need to be entertaining to look at. And they also need to present statistics and numbers in a creative and meaningful way that’s easy to read and digest. We weren’t sure how either Design Pickle or Penji would fare in this. If anything, we expected both companies to do poorly.

Design Pickle: Arvin did follow instructions, however, there was no creativity in the design. It’s just left and right blocks of texts and icons. The icons were all of the different stylings, clearly from different designers on Freepik or another free resource site. And there’s just no creativity in this design. It looks boring, bland, and the numbers are just displayed. It’s hard looking at this design and imagining a lot of thought went into it.

I have to be fair and say that it’s not a bad design, but it’s not an infographic. Not even close. And this isn’t something we can use to publish for our audience. Design quality: 4/10

Penji: I was assigned another designer from the beginning, but requested for Billie given how impressive her Magazine cover design was. The result – absolutely breath-taking. The gradient is beautiful and easy to look at. Each item from 1 – 8 was organized and flow gracefully down the page.

Each icon makes sense with its content block. And the way the 55%, and 78% statistic was intelligent and meaningful. All of the content seems like they fit and flow together. This infographic design is on the same level of professionalism and detail that we’re used to from working with design agencies in our city. Design quality: 10/10

5. ATTENTION TO DETAILS

Both designers from Penji and Design Pickle were fantastic individuals to work with and we don’t have complaints with either Arvin or Billie. However, designers from Penji seem to pay more close attention to the details of the designs. In several designs, if you inspect closely, you can see how much attention Penji designers put into all the little details.

There was a lot of little errors from Design Pickle’s submission. The woman in the pink shirt icon is duplicated in two of the graphics. The 78% graphic didn’t make any sense and you can’t see the tiny icons inside of the icon.

The other thing that bothered us was the use of colors. The design on the left had poor color choices for the background colors. The light-blue is used twice, and they connect and bleed into each other (1 and 7). Penji’s design on the right had colors that complement one another and just overall looks more professional.

6. CREATIVITY

Creativity is a difficult thing to measure and ask for. It’s easy to tell your designer to “be creative” with the design, but it’s almost impossible to pinpoint. Creativity is one of those things where you just have to trust that your designer has.

My experience working with Design Pickle vs working with Penji was polarizing. Despite giving the same instructions and feedback word for word, the outcome was completely different. Design Pickle’s designers were great at following detailed instructions and almost too good to the point where they didn’t put in their own creativity.

For the Magazine cover design, I gave the following instructions

  • Have stock images of people moving and working in the background to show movement
  • Make Product Review and Exclusive sections stand out
  • The major headline is “Coronavirus Pandemic Explained”. Make this the most prominent element on the page

As you can see from the image above, the two designers both had a different creative vision for how to make the Coronavirus section stand out. To us, Penji’s vision was more creative and impactful.

ONLINE PLATFORM

Both Design Pickle and Penji have their own dedicated platform, which is both a good and a bad thing. We personally prefer if their designer just joins our platform and works with our team on Asana or Trello. But we understand their business model can’t allow for that kind of personalization.

Both platforms were super easy to use and I have very little complaints. They’re not complex platforms and are both seamless enough that you won’t need any complicated tutorials or share-screen walk-through to get the hang of.

I didn’t like how Design Pickle’s platform constantly tries to sell me their CEO’s content. The platform tries too hard to get me to click on links to his podcasts, webinars, etc. and I was more annoyed than appreciative.

Penji’s platform is cleaner, less bulky, and didn’t try to sell me anything. And that, I appreciated. I get that Design Pickle wants to get more clicks and signups for their CEO’s webinars, but there are better ways to do that.

INTEGRATIONS

One of the things I love about Design Pickle is its abundance of integrations thanks to Zapier. Although I haven’t used it myself, my co-workers swear by it and have used Zapier integrations with other software. I don’t know how their Slack integration works because we signed up for the Standard plan, but I have a feeling it’s not actually an integration, but more so someone joining our slack team and working with us. And that’s a great thing.

Penji didn’t have Zapier integration, instead, they have Slack Integration API. It was a bit complicated and required our developer to actually setup with our Slack. Definitely not user-friendly or intuitive. This point goes to Design Pickle.

COMMUNICATIONS

Communication is VERY important in graphic design. Both companies did an exceptional job communicating within all of the design projects. Despite not being able to meet or talk to any of the designers and having everything be done online, communication always felt responsive and tight with both companies.

The one thing I like about Penji was that my account manager was very active in communicating with me. I believe I also had an account manager for Design Pickle, but I can’t even remember their name since they rarely contacted me except when I wanted to cancel.

My account manager, Charmaine, emailed me right after I signed up and personally contacted me when she saw that I wasn’t happy with some of the revisions. That’s an extra layer of care that Penji gave that was missing from Design Pickle. And to me, it made a huge difference in my overall satisfaction.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Design Pickle vs Penji’s customer support. Both companies provided top-notch customer support and both were very responsive to my needs.

Design Pickle shined in two major areas when it comes to their support. They use Intercom for live chat and during most day-time hours someone was available to answer me. They also have a knowledge base where you can look up commonly asked questions, although I’m not sure how useful this would be since this is a service and not a complex SaaS software. Regardless, it was a nice thing to have just in case.

Penji’s customer support was also excellent as my account manager was a real person who constantly checks on my projects and contacts me proactively whenever there was an issue. I really liked the human element that Penji always seems to provide. The downside is that there’s no live chat. And whenever I needed help, the chat interface of Penji just sends an email out to my account manager.

Overall, both companies were great. Design Pickle responds faster and has more online help resources. Penji, on the other hand, has a very active account manager who proactively emails me.

OUR FINAL VERDICT

Choosing a winner is difficult as both companies are great in their own respective ways. Both have been around for several years, however, I believe Design Pickle has been around longer. Both provide a great experience and I can’t say I’m upset or disappointed with either service. But there are many areas where one outshines the other.

Design quality – Penji

Of the four projects, Design Pickle won 1/4. Penji won the remaining 3/4. The clear winner in terms of design quality goes to Penji. From our experience, the design quality, creativity, and attention to detail were better with Penji than with Design Pickle.

Turnaround time – Tie

Design Pickle vs Penji in turnaround is a complete tie. Both were exceptionally fast with their initial drafts and also revisions. Design Pickle lagged a bit and usually took 12 – 24 hours to complete revisions, but my designer turned around more drafts than Penji.

Penji even though turned over fewer initial drafts, the designs were higher quality and revisions were usually the same day. Both providers were incredibly fast by any standards, therefore we call this one a tie.

Attention to detail – Penji

Penji outright wins in this category. In just about every design submission we received, our designer from Penji seems to pay closer attention to the little details than their counterpart at Design Pickle.

Creativity – Penji

Design Pickle vs Penji’s creative output is actually a close one. Arvin from Design Pickle was great at the Versus blog graphics. It was so creative that we’re using it for this specific review. However, Arvin and the other designers assigned to me seemed to stumble at more complex projects such as the infographic and Magazine cover.

Penji designers tend to ask me more questions and submit more drafts for me to choose from. You can see from the designs above, submissions from Penji generally appear more refined, creative, and artistic.

Overall, Penji wins at the creative output.

The winner…

Design Pickle vs Penji – the winner has been decided. It’s Penji. Both companies are exceptional, however, we chose Penji for the following reasons:

  • Penji offered more value for the same price
  • Better quality design, attention to detail, and creativity
  • Felt like I was working with real people more than processes and automation

This certainly doesn’t mean that Design Pickle doesn’t have good designers. We acknowledge that luck could play a role. Perhaps Arvin from Design Pickle wasn’t the best pick for us. And perhaps we got paired with the best designer on Penji. Who knows. But factoring in multiple criteria and testing various types of design projects, we concluded that Penji gave us a better experience and proved to be a better value.

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