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May 29, 2009

Inkd – The World’s First Market for Original Print Design

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Inkd is one of the best print marketplaces available online. There are other sources like VistaPrint which allow you to print business cards using hundreds pre-designed templates, but the quality of the designs could be described as paltry at best. Inkd is a marketplace where experienced graphic designers can offer ready-made unique and professional designs.

Hiring a graphic designer can be prohibitively expensive, especially for small business owners, so Inkd aims to save money by cutting out the middle man. In this case, the middle man is the custom design fees and time it takes to make promotional materials from scratch. Instead, businesses can view marketing or branding materials ready to go to the printer.

Customers can browse the site based on output type: Brochure, Business Card, Envelope, Postcard, etc. or conversely by their particular industry (Food, Real Estate, Retail, and more). There are plenty of options across virtually any business category making Inkd a valuable resource to anyone with an eye for good design. Inkd has established strict quality controls making it difficult to find sloppy or poorly-produced work.

Alternately – and just as importantly – Inkd is a great place for freelance designers to sell their wares. Many designers utilize Inkd as a place to unload designs that were not selected by their clients. And while Inkd has the potential to create long-term partnerships with new clients, simply selling design work individually can be profitable as well.

Practical Uses:

  • Get a business card, brochure, postcard or other promo materials for your new restaurant
  • Save money on custom designs for your home based business and speed up the process by purchasing promotional materials immediately
  • Locate a designer that has the skills you’re looking for on your marketing project
  • Design promo material and have an instant marketplace on a site that has a good reach and customer base

Insider Tips:

  • If you have more time and resources, you can tweak anything bought through Inkd after downloading files
  • Consider requesting a design if you don’t see what you’re looking for
  • Designers – check the FAQs about submissions and browse the site – there is serious quality control on Inkd, so designs have to be of a certain quality, and style, i.e. less corporate, more playful

What we liked:

  • High quality designs across a wide range of industries
  • Very easy to browse the website
  • Extremely affordable pricing, especially considering the quality of designs

What we didn’t like:

  • The FAQs are mainly aimed at designers, rather than businesses looking to buy designs. As this is a dual purpose site, it’s currently a little too designer-centered
  • The website should be linked to a printing mechanism so you can print files in bulk, not simply download design files
  • Design files can be sold more than once making them less unique – users have the option to make an exclusive purchase, but this is more expensive
  • Customers must have at least limited software proficiency in working with design files – Inkd is not a straight “out of the box” solution

Alternatives:

Company Info:

  • Launched: 2009
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Seattle, WA
  • Founded by: Kelly Smith
  • Web site: http://www.inkd.com

Costs:

  • Varies by item