Here's Why Cheap Creative is Bad For Your Business

November 9, 2019 | Business Tips | Outsourced Creative, By PDCo.
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Here you are, in need of some inexpensive creative support. Maybe it’s a poster or a flyer or some other kind of designed piece you’d love to have in hand for that next sales pitch or event promo. This piece is crucial to what you have going on and you’re hoping it’ll be a great asset you can use for years to come. 

But you don’t have an in-house team, so you’re working with a  freelancer to deliver whatever it is that you need. Reminder,  you need it to be super compelling, you don’t want to hand-hold; and you’d prefer he or she to just “run with it!” Oh – and you’ll need it by end of day tomorrow, and you only have [insert minimal budget number here]. 

Maybe you’ve heard this phrase before: “Good, fast, or cheap…you may choose two.” 

So you pick:

Fast and Cheap. 

In the business world (heck, and even in real life), everyone needs everything yesterday. It needs to be done quickly, and inexpensively to boot. These are words not uncommonly heard all over the marketing industry. The good news? Ok – you can get it done quickly for a low cost. But will it be good? Get out your dice, because that’s the gamble. 

Good and Fast.

Ok – so “good” is a non-negotiable for you. Oh – and you need it tomorrow? No problem. But listen honey, it ain’t gonna be cheap. Better open up that pocketbook and be prepared to spend. Like any convenience, someone will be spending time on your project, and that someone needs to be compensated accordingly if it’s a rush job. Think of it as the overnight shipping expense…better be willing to shell out a few more buckaroos to know it’ll get there on time. 

Good and Cheap.

This is an option for you if you’ve got a bit more of a lead time. Have an event in a few months and need some signage designed? Fab. You’ll most likely be able to find a freelancer to hook you up – there may be a lot of back and forth, but eventually you’ll get there. The good news is, it won’t cost an arm and a leg. The bad news? It’ll take a beat.

But I want good, fast and cheap. 

Ha, don’t we all. We can’t always get what we want. But what if your perspective changed a bit. 

Instead of good, fast, cheap, think skilled, responsive, affordable.

Now you’re onto something. As with everything in life, it’s all about your vantage point. With a certain amount of planning, and working with the right partner—someone who knows your brand well—it truly is plausible to locate the unicorn you’ve been looking for. Let’s dig a little deeper to find out how. 


When you’re working with someone who is skilled, you can ask them to complete more complex or involved tasks – maybe even something slightly outside their comfort zone, without them blinking an eye. They’ll probably surprise you and deliver what you asked for, and more—adding value in the truest form.


Time is money, and you should spend it wisely. Which is why when you partner with a designer, it’s valuable if they meet deadlines. But you know what’s even better? That gem of a partner who not only finishes things when they say they will, but is also transparent and communicative along the way. Someone who understands your true goal with the project, and can foresee any hurdles or red flags as they’re working for you. Someone who truly becomes an ally and helps the project move along seamlessly, is a partner, not a vendor. Which leads me to my next point…


Affordability is in the eye of the beholder. But behold this: Do you want it to have it done twice? Or have it done right the first time? If you answered the latter, then you realize that there’s value in precision and skill. There’s value in ongoing communication and responsiveness. So of course, there’s value in working with the right partner who can deliver all of this. Ideally, you also realize that anyone who is providing things like skill and time-saving solutions is worth spending a little more on. 

Unless you’re talking about, fast food, good, fast and cheap really isn’t going to happen. But if you’re able to shift your vantage point and realize that it is possible to hire creative support and work with someone who is skilled and responsive, then ultimately there’s value in their work, and it becomes affordable. 


A Workbook for Startups

A powerful and comprehensive conversation-starting tool for developing your brand’s core messages. You’ll need this before you start working on anything visual.