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Hiring a professional graphic designer / design agency can do serious damage to the marketing budget of a small business start-up or SME; however, there are some easy, fast and affordable options out there which allow marketers to access professional unique design without breaking the bank.

One such option is to run an online design contest… I recently discovered the likes of designcontest.com, logomyway.com, and crowdspring.com. Using these services is not rocket science; simply start a contest (use the design brief templates / forms), pick a prize fund (anything from £500 – £1500 will get a good response), and dozens of design options are created especially for you – and you just pay the winner!

Now, if you have a really small budget, don’t fear! Students are notorious for being short of cash, making them ideal candidates for low cost labour… this applies here too – using a similar concept, sites such as student-designers.com give you access to an army of student designers eager to earn some pocket money. So go on, use them, give them some experience, help them build their portfolios and, most of the time you’ll walk off with an amazing design too!

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