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Kimp VS Penji: Which Unlimited Graphic Design Service is Best?

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Subscription graphic design companies are here to help you stand out from the herd. Penji and Kimp are two services worth keeping an eye on, each offering unlimited graphic design. Let’s see how they stack up side by side.

We also have a full review of Penji here (with promo code).

What Do They Have to Offer

What are you looking for when it comes to a graphic design team? What works for one business might not be what works for another. Here is the general breakdown of Penji vs Kimp.

Kimp

Kimp has three types of subscription packages:

Graphics only for $389/month

Video only for $589/month

Graphics and video for $889/month

Kimp’s plans lend themselves to those who may need basic graphic design. If you are looking for any print-on-demand design work, Kimp’s simple plans may speak more to your needs.

Penji

Penji’s review breakdown is according to which services they offer and the number of people on your team who can submit work.

Pro offers graphics only for 2 users for $399/month

Team offers graphics and illustrations for up to five users for $499/month

Agency offers an additional designer designated to your plan and up to ten users for $899/month

Penji’s plans seem more suited for businesses and marketers. They built their features to be accessible to different sized teams. Some of their plans are more tailored to help with web design as well which would lend itself to startups.

Winner…

It’s a close one, but if judged by pricing alone, Kimp wins by a hair if you choose ‘graphics only’ as it will save you $10/month.

As the plans go up, Penji is the better choice. Two designers working on your projects and 10 different users submitting work make a big difference if you are a company with more design needs. Otherwise, your business might need a designated graphic design department just to outsource its graphic design work through one user.

Use Penji promo code OMPVK for 25% off your first month’s subscription!

Trial Run

Kimp

The Kimp trial run is useful because it gives you an idea of how their operation works, but it is limited in scale regarding what it actually permits you to do. You can’t request a landing page design, a logo, or any resizes. Additionally, all of your projects will be sent back with watermarks.

If you need campaigns completed for your business, you’ll need to either sign up blindly or do the trial run, have them submit your watermarked project, then go through the hoops of approval. Still, this is not a bad option if time is not an issue, and you don’t mind submitting a hypothetical project.

Penji

When you set up your profile with Penji, you sign up for the service. They do not offer a free trial. Instead, you have 15 days to cancel your subscription for a full refund if you are unhappy with their service. In the meantime, you get the full array of services that Penji has to offer right out of the gate. You get full ownership of all the projects sent back to you, without any limits or watermarks.

Winner…

It’s a toss-up. You have to ask yourself what is more important to you. Do you want to test drive the product before you commit? Kimp lets you see how they would provide their service if you signed up.

But if you have work that you want to be finished, and you’re okay with committing to a service so long as the work they turn in is satisfactory, Penji is the way to go. And if you’re unhappy, you can get a full refund within the 15 day grace period.

User Interface

Whatever graphic design company you choose to work with will be an extension of your business. They are that remote employee you don’t see but are very much a part of your team. As such, you will be working with them frequently and how you choose to communicate is important.

Kimp

Kimp communicates with you via Trello. If you’re unfamiliar, Trello is a handy website that acts as a digital projects board. Trello lets can create simple tasks or massive, layered projects and share them with your team. Trello is the 3rd party interface Kimp relies on to receive projects.

If you’ve worked with Trello before, it’s only a matter of setting up a new board with your Kimp profile and signing in whenever you need to. You’ll have your ‘Requests’ board along with ‘In Progress,’ ‘In Review,’ and ‘Completed.’ There is a Trello app for your phone, but it is much more user-friendly on a computer.

Penji

Penji doesn’t use a 3rd party interface. All of your work will be done directly through their custom platform. There isn’t anything too complicated or impossible to learn as a first-time user. You can see any of your current projects right on your profile, as well as projects that are on hold or any drafts.

There is a live chat feature on the bottom right of the site where a team member can answer any questions. The user experience is clutter-free and, which is helpful since you won’t be on the platform for anything other than submitting and reviewing projects

Winner…

Penji has a better interface. While Trello is nice and familiar to many, it is 3rd party software. Its primary function is not streamlined for graphic design, and it shows. Penji’s sleek and simplistic platform needs no learning curve. For a company that sells design, it’s nice to have something more aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

Before You Get Started

You’ve signed up for an unlimited graphic design service – now what? What’s needed between creating a profile and getting submitting a project?

Kimp

Once Kimp sends you a link to your new Trello invite, you’ll be able to take a look at your work board. But if you think you’re ready to start submitting work, not so fast. Under “Kimp Trial 101”, you’ll find a bunch of literature to help get you started. Here they will tell you what you can and cannot do, their hours according to your region, and how to upgrade to a full subscription.

Under the “Requests” board, you’ll find a request that Kimp put in that column. (The rest will be the projects you submit.) Here, you will fill out some onboarding questions. They ask you to discuss your company’s brand, upload examples that you like, and submit your 3 trial requests at once. This is so that Kimp can have a better understanding of who you are and what you need.

Penji

Compared to Kimp, Penji is very much ‘point and shoot.’ Since there is no trial version, whatever project you submit will be treated as an actual project (because it is). You can submit your first project within minutes of visiting Penji’s site for the first time. New users may feel apprehensive at first but you’ll quickly realize how easy to use it really is.

Where Kimp has an abundance of reading material, Penji has virtually no essential reading. There may be a feeling of ‘what do I do now?’ But this feeling won’t last long. Any brand or design information that you need can be found on your ‘New Project’ page. More on that later.

Winner

It’s obvious for this one. Penji’s ready out-of-the-box setup is ideal for anyone who wants to get to work. Not having to read a lot of literature or jump through any hoops speaks to Penji’s confidence in their product and service.

Submitting a Project

A year from the purchase of your graphic design subscription, trials and tutorials won’t matter, and you will have gotten used to the interface. On the other hand, the process of submitting a project will matter.

Kimp

To submit a project, you will need to make a new card on your Trello board. Depending on what type of project you need, there are different things you will need to fill in on this request. You will need to add the information to a blank card. You can find the guidelines for each time of project under the guidelines list on the far right of your Trello board. I found it easiest to copy and paste the numbered list of information from the guidelines to your new card and erase the guidelines as you fill them in.

Penji

Penji

From Penji’s website, hit the green ‘+ New project’ button, and you will be prompted to fill in the details of your project on a new screen. Penji asks for a name for your project. You then choose the type of project from a drop-down menu. Next, you are asked to describe your project. To the left of the description, box is a yellow card reminding you what to include in your description. From there, you can upload any pictures you want to be included or samples of other projects you would like your new project to resemble.

Winner…

Penji is the clear winner here. Once again, it is the easiest to operate. The prompts and designated page make describing your new project idiot-proof. Penji, being the professional design company you hired, meets you more than in the middle to figure out what’s needed for a satisfactory project.

The Finished Product

It isn’t enough to see a finished product and decide whether a graphic design is up to snuff. You must compare the finished product to your requests. It is also good to see how the designer can handle a curveball. What happens when they submit a project for you to review and you send back edits?

Kimp

The plan was to submit a project to Kimp with specific guidelines. Once the project was submitted for review, an edit disregarding one of the earlier guidelines would be sent back to see how responsive the designer was. Unfortunately, this part of the review is left incomplete. The project had not been sent back for review before the free trial expired leaving me wondering if their turnaround promise is true.

Penji

Within 18 hours, my designer sent me a draft of the project that I asked for. In this case, I submitted a project for a ‘Taco Tuesday’ poster for a bar. When I sent back a request that a different graphic is used, I got the final project sent back to me the next day.

The Winner…

Penji is the clear-cut winner. While working through their platform and only speaking through the project request form, it was still clear that there was a real-life person on the other end who took ownership of the project and worked to deliver not just a well-designed graphic but the specific one that I requested.

Enjoyed this review? Here is our review of Design Pickle vs Penji.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Priya nallathambi

    April 22, 2021 at 2:56 am

    Hi Michael,

    We would like to add our product too. Please let us know your process.

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Reviews

Prowly Review: The Best Way to Boost Your Media Relations Game?

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Starting a business is only half the battle. The secret to success is reputation.

There are many ways to build your reputation. The first step is providing a great experience for your customers. Still, to build a high profile, you inevitably need to get into the social media game.

Prowly promises to help with that. This SaaS tool by SEMrush lets you manage media contacts, shape your narrative, and create winning press releases.

Is Prowly the real deal? Let’s break it down.

Getting started with Prowly

As mentioned in my Demio review, the convenience of SaaS allows you to quickly use software through your browser. Signing up for Prowly is as simple as clicking the “Try it for free” button in the upper right corner of the site.

Prowly pricing

Prowly offers a 7-day free trial so users can try before they buy. Beyond that, they offer an Essential plan for smaller-scale users and a Professional plan for agencies.

The most basic form of the Essential plan starts at $119/mo, while the Professional plan starts at $189/mo. You can add features to your plan—including media monitoring and access to Prowly’s media contact database—for an additional cost.

What can Prowly do?

Remember that thing I said about customer experience? Prowly clearly got the memo, because as soon as you sign up, they invite you to schedule a meeting with them. This shows a real dedication to customer support that you don’t see every day. But since I’m only trying out the product for a review, I opted out.

Dashboard

Prowly’s dashboard maintains a simple, inviting design. This is especially helpful since the choices you’re presented with are a bit overwhelming. As someone with limited PR experience, the very idea of starting a press release feels daunting.

Still, front and center on your home page is a simple timeline you can use to wrap your head around Prowly. It breaks it down into four easy steps: creating press releases, finding media contacts, setting up a newsroom, and sending email pitches.

Let’s take a look at each of those features.

Making press releases with Prowly

Prowly has a wide array of options for crafting press releases. You can upload a .docx file, start from scratch, or choose from various templates like event announcements and new hires.

These templates are designed to get your mind jogging, rather than filling in the blanks Mad Libs-style. The text editor is fairly simple with limited font and formatting options. Still, you generally don’t want to get too wild with a press release.

Make sure not to hit “Publish” before it’s fully done, as you can’t go back and change it. 

Finding media contacts

Like with the press release tool, there are a few ways to get started with finding media contacts. You can import or manually add your existing contact list, but you can also peruse Prowly’s extensive database.

Media contacts range from entertainment to politics, business to beauty. They include some of the biggest names and publications in journalism. Just keep in mind, you’ll have to buy an upgraded plan to get access to the contact database.

If you just want to get started, importing existing contacts makes for much less hassle. At the bare minimum, you can put in a few emails and move on to the next step…

Creating a Prowly newsroom

A Prowly newsroom is a custom webpage designed to compile your brand’s content, press releases, and other news. While it’s less customizable than your own website, it allows your media contacts to easily find all of your content in one place.

This can be a useful tool for shaping your narrative. You can organize your PR output into tabs and categories, and customize the design to suit your brand. Still, I’d argue you could probably do better making a media tab on your own website.

Sending an email pitch

Finally, the main event. You’ve made your press release, your newsroom, and compiled all your contacts. Time to pitch!

You can choose to select certain recipients or email your whole contact list. Prowly gives you the tools you need to create an engaging email, with a dozen professional fonts and a bevy of text options.

Where the newsroom layout is fairly one-size-fits-all, you have much more customization options with your pitches. This makes sense since the email pitch is the thing that gets your media contacts hooked.

You can add images, tables, files, and links to your pitch, as well as additional press releases and a call-to-action button.

Like many CRMs, Prowly includes personalization tokens. These are variable text elements that can be tailored to specific recipients. For example, you can add a Greeting token that inputs different greetings for different recipients. Then, by applying values to people in your contact list, you can ensure they each get a greeting that’s specific to them.

After that, simply review your email and send it off! Prowly recommends you sort your emails into campaigns, which makes it easier to keep track of different releases and review their success.

Monitoring and reports

One of Prowly’s more impressive features is its media monitoring dashboard. Above and beyond keyword research, this tool includes widgets to track sentiment, reach, domain authority, and much more.

While easily sending out and keeping track of pitches is great, this tool makes Prowly worth your while. Every tool at your disposal from WordPress to Google Ads has some flavor of monitoring, but this is the rare dashboard that synthesizes every metric a PR agency needs. Just as important, the custom widgets also let you exclude the data you don’t need.

Prowly is teasing a forthcoming feature that lets you view stats on your campaigns through PR reports. As advertised, these reports go above and beyond, compiling data to show the complete picture of your PR work.

As it currently stands, the lack of specific stats on a campaign’s success is one area where Prowly could improve. For PR workers, the ability to compile deliverables makes a big difference, so I hope this feature gets rolled out sooner rather than later.

Is Prowly worth it?

For companies, agencies, and entrepreneurs working in PR, Prowly (wait a sec… PR owly!) promises an easier way. It highlights the ability to easily create, release, and track press releases online.

Prowly’s most impressive features are its media monitoring tools and contact database. I was somewhat less impressed with the press release tools themselves, but I acknowledge the utility of having a simple online dashboard to keep track of them.

Prowly is definitely a strong PR tool; the contacts and monitoring tools alone are enough to make it worthwhile. Still, it faces a common SaaS problem: how much ownership will you give up for convenience?

For that purpose, I like the fact that Prowly also lets you import releases, contact lists, and more. You can choose whether you want a convenient experience or a custom one, which is an attitude more SaaS programs should have.

Prowly is sort of the Canva of PR software. It’s shiny, accessible, and gets the job done, with a few impressive tools that put it over the top. But if you want something fully custom, you’ll still have to make it yourself.

Final rating: 7.9/10 ✅

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Reviews

Demio Review: Meet the Latest in Browser-Based Webinar Software

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Interested in signing up for Demio? You can support us by getting started with this link.

I kind of hate the word “webinar.”

I’m not alone, either. You can find it in several lists of the English language’s biggest travesties. It’s a holdover from the heyday of lame Web 2.0 portmanteaus, alongside “webisode,” “netizen,” and “listicle.”

However you feel about the word, the webinar itself is anything but dated. The more work moves online, the more vital webinars become for drawing new clients (and keeping the old ones).

Despite this, it sometimes seems like no one’s fully figured out how to properly support webinars. Some software is inaccessible, some is unreliable. 

Can Demio, a browser-based webinar tool by Banzai, finally bring the best of both worlds? Let’s take a look.

What is Demio?

Founded back in 2014, Demio promises a solution to the user-unfriendly world of webinar tech. There are definitely new developments in the webinar world, especially after the pandemic. Still, some of the features Demio intends to fight, like requiring guests to download software to join, are still par for the course.

Demio’s solution: host webinars straight from your browser. In the age of SaaS dominance, you don’t need an app taking up space on your computer to access the software tools you need. Demio offers webinar tools built for the SaaS marketplace, but with convenience and quality that anyone can appreciate.

Getting started with Demio: Free trial and pricing

Since Demio is a SaaS company, getting started is as simple as heading to their site. Not sure if it’s right for you? They offer a 14-day free trial to get acquainted with Demio before you go all in.

Beyond that, they offer three tiers: Starter, Growth, and Premium

  • The Starter tier is recommended for people and businesses just getting started with webinars. It allows for only one host and has a 3-hour, 50-attendee limit on sessions. $34/mo billed annually or $49/mo billed monthly.
  • The Growth tier caters to mid-sized and growing companies. On top of the Starter features, it allows for custom branding, automated events, and lets you keep track of registrations. You can have up to 5 hosts on your account, 150 attendees, and 8-hour sessions. $69/mo billed annually or $99/mo billed monthly.
  • Premium options for large companies and enterprises can be custom-built for your team’s needs. They allow for unlimited hosts and sessions of up to 10 hours with as many as 1,000 participants.

Demio’s free trial requires no commitment or credit card details. Just sign up, fill out a brief survey on how you plan to use the app, and you’re golden.

Demio features

Dashboard

When you sign in to Demio, you’re greeted with a friendly dashboard, complete with a list of all your scheduled sessions.

First nitpick: the dashboard has two tabs, Schedule and Events. I appreciate the ability to see a scroll of upcoming events right away, but you have to tab over to Events to create a new session. Can’t these just exist in one tab?

Events

You can create three types of events: Standard, Series, and Automated. 

Standard events are what you probably picture doing when you use a webinar service. You create a standalone webinar or series that people can sign up for and attend at a scheduled time.

Series events differ from Standard in that people are auto-registered for every session. With Standard events, people can choose which ones they’d like to attend. Series creates an ongoing list, making it perfect for internal conferences.

Automated events work the same way as standard events, with one key difference: sessions are pre-recorded and available on demand. This is one of Demio’s more unique features. Uploading pre-recorded content and having it play passively is a great way to get more engagement.

Webinars

Before you get started, you can check out the Customize tab in your event editor to change details. 

One of Demio’s big advantages over tools like Zoom is the ability to customize your event in advance. You can add pre-made presentation materials and polls, as well as customize the registration process.

Once you’re ready to get started, you can join your session in the Schedule tab. The layout is familiar, with speakers’ video taking up the left and center while the chat tab takes up the right side.

Only one person can be “on stage” at a time, but you can also add and access materials like slides and videos with the middle button on the bottom toolbar. Meanwhile, the + icon next to the chat box lets users access polls, links, and handouts.

Reports

After you close your session, you’re taken back to the event’s settings. Tab over to Activity to view an attendance report for your session. The stats are fairly simple, but they give you an idea of how many people registered, how many attended, and how long they stuck around.

You can also view a list of participants along with their emails, including who registered, who showed up, and who missed it. Download the lists as CSV files and you can follow up with your audience.

Integrations

I’d honestly like to see a little more variety from Demio’s integrations. On the one hand, their tilt towards martech integrations makes sense. Webinars are generally used for marketing, and being able to connect with Keap, Mailchimp, or your CRM of choice has obvious benefits.

Still, I think there’s a lot more potential to be had with connecting different software to a video conferencing tool. Translators, editing tools, OBS… the sky’s the limit. 

Perhaps the most useful integration is with Zapier. Their micro-integrations let you connect to PayPal, Gmail, Slack, and more.

Conclusion: Is Demio worth it?

If you’re seeking a platform to create engaging webinars, Demio is a great place to look. It’s as intuitive as they come, with a number of unique features that set it apart from the competition. Even among browser-based video tools, the fact that it works on any browser puts it ahead.

As of now, Demio is completely focused on webinars. It’s a leader in that market, so they’re clearly doing something right. Where it disappoints, however, is where it feels too laser-guided towards marketing. By just slightly expanding a few features (integrations, reports, in-call elements), I think Demio’s potential could be that much greater.

PROS

  • Quick, easy setup
  • Works in any browser
  • Custom branding options
  • Interactive elements
  • Unlimited sessions
  • Automated events
  • Good customer service

CONS

  • Few integrations
  • Limited reports
  • Lack of different event types

Overall rating: 8.9/10 🥳

Ready to give Demio a try? Sign up here.

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Entertainment

Review: Jurassic World Dominion

Is it the worst movie of 2022?

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The Jurassic World trilogy makes little effort to hide the fact that it follows the blueprint of the Star Wars sequels. 

Sure, Jurassic World preceded The Force Awakens by a few months, but the bones are all there. Start with a reintroduction that rehashes the original story, go left with a new director on the sequel, then bring it all home with a big legacy finale.

There’s just three problems:

  1. While I appreciate Jurassic World’s cynical subtext, it’s no The Force Awakens.
  2. Interesting foray into small-scale horror aside, Fallen Kingdom doesn’t come close to The Last Jedi as a piece of cinema.
  3. As irreparably bad as The Rise of Skywalker is, it’s no Jurassic World Dominion.

It could definitely be said that Dominion takes notes from the sort of roller coaster filmmaking attempted by Rise of Skywalker and fine-tuned by Spider-Man: No Way Home. Story beats come and go, with instant emotional gratification at the forefront. References to the classic movies supersede plot, characters, even action.

But as many head-scratching decisions as there are in Rise of Skywalker, they generally become clear once you apply this framework. Jurassic World Dominion, on the other hand, undermines its very premise almost instantly. This sets up a carnival of disappointment where literal dinosaurs are a light seasoning and metaphorical dinosaurs roam the Earth.

This popular tweet opines that the Jurassic Park franchise has consistently bungled an inherently winning premise. Before seeing the new film, I was ready to argue that “dinosaur chomp chomp human” is actually not much of a movie once the novelty of dinosaurs wears off.

Whether or not you feel the same, it’s hard not to argue that Dominion is wasteful on the dinosaur front. Fallen Kingdom ended with the promise of dinosaurs set loose on human society. This movie’s opening newsreel lets us know that the problem is now 80% under control. The animals wreaking havoc in this film are not lifesize dinosaurs, but squirrel-sized locusts.

Truly, only the mind behind The Book of Henry could bring you a Jurassic Park movie where the primary enemy is locusts. Director Colin Trevorrow teased the new Giganotosaurus character as the dinosaur equivalent of the Joker. As insane as that already sounds, the truth is even more absurd: the Giga appears in all of two scenes before her climactic showdown with the T-rex.

This is the film’s main issue: in a film meant to deliver on the promise of a Jurassic world, the dinosaurs are never more than set dressing. Instead, we follow the anemic adventures of Jurassic World’s new protagonists alongside Jurassic Park’s iconic trio. The latter have somehow all turned into Mr. Bean since we last saw them.

Goldblum gives Goldblum, Dern gives Dern, but you’d swear that Sam Neill hasn’t acted since 1993. The only person who looks less happy to be here is Chris Pratt. He’s gotten so miserably bored of being the biggest star in the world that he’s now exclusively interested in voice work and streaming shows that don’t exist.

It’s almost not worth talking about Bryce Dallas Howard, who’s played a completely different character in each of these movies. The movie gets a bit of juice out of Campbell Scott, who replaces disgraced actor Cameron Thor as the weaselly Dr. Dodgson.

If it seems like there’s too many cooks in the kitchen, you don’t know the half of it. I haven’t even gotten to the cloned child from the previous movie (now a jaded teen played by Isabella Sermon) or the helpful rogue agent of BioSyn (Mamoudou Athie). There’s a sliding scale of importance, but Dominion certainly has no fewer than six protagonists.

There are fleeting moments of joy in this movie, but nothing to write home about. All told, this Jurassic World trilogy has amounted to a multi-billion-dollar wash. Part of it is the lack of a Spielberg at the helm. Part of it is the groundbreaking visual effects of the original, which no follow-up could ever match.

Still, there’s more to it than that. Story, character, dialogue, pacing, every element of this series seems out of whack. On a level, Jurassic World was a cynical commentary on reboot culture. But they always knew they’d have to try to bring it all home with this finale. The premise is flawed, but the ideas are truly rotten.

Will a torrent of bad reviews have an effect on this movie’s numbers? Maybe, maybe not. The last two made a billion each, and our current choked-out film market leaves it with less competition.

One can’t help but wonder if new streaming releases like Fire Island and Hustle could’ve eaten away at Jurassic’s returns with a wide theatrical release. Instead, its only competition are indie releases like Neptune Frost (an Afrofuturist musical that’s much more worth your time).

Jurassic World Dominion is poorly-written, poorly-acted, and even poorly-lit. But above all, it’s poorly-conceived, a perfunctory sequel to a franchise of obligation. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom made a billion dollars four years ago, and most of us would be hard-pressed to even remember the title. The two kids who were the main characters of Jurassic World don’t even appear in this one!

Even fans of Jurassic World and its iconic characters like Owen Grady, Claire Dearing, and Maisie Lockwood (100 points if you can remember who that is) will struggle to enjoy Dominion. Worst movie of 2022? Maybe, but definitely the least worth your money. F

Jurassic World Dominion is now playing in theaters.

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