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Penji Review

Written by: James Wan  | September 1, 2021

What is Penji?

Penji is a graphic design company that provides services for businesses and individuals. Penji offers a variety of creative designs including logos, banners, web design, promotional materials, and much more.

The catch with Penji is that their niche is offering unlimited graphic design at a fixed monthly cost. Unlimited graphic design is exactly how you envision it - clients are able to submit an unlimited number of graphic requests with Penji and Penji will complete them all. More on that later.

Penji has also helped many companies with their branding. It’s not just about the logo or banner anymore; it’s all about the visual identity of your business. Penji will take care of every aspect from colors to fonts to images so you don't have to worry about anything when it comes to designing your brand image!

The team at Penji has years of experience in graphic design and marketing which means they are able to offer you quality work on any project big or small. With a dedicated team of graphic designers, you will have a professional-quality design done to your specifications and with a quick turnaround time.

Who is this Penji Review For?

This Penji review is for anyone that needs graphic design services but may not have access to an in-house graphic designer.

Some of the more common types of businesses that may employ this type of service to complete their design projects include (but are not limited to):

Agencies

Typically, agencies will have their own graphic designers or a design team to complete their design projects but oftentimes, agencies may find they need more bandwidth.

Using a service like Penji allows agencies to take some of the workloads off of their designers. Penji is particularly great for design work that is not deemed to be urgent.

Small Businesses

Small businesses can greatly benefit from Penji simply because they may have a very small and lean team. While it might make sense to hire a graphic designer at some point, some small businesses may not have the resources to do so yet.

That's where Penji would really be able to help small businesses scale up their graphic designs and get it to a point where these small businesses are able to hire their own designers. The big benefit for small businesses is that the cost is fixed and affordable, and it gives them time to scale up their operations.

Content Creators

Whether you run a blog, vlog, or any other type of content creation, you're likely going to need graphics. For content creators, they're usually either working alone or in a very small team and they may not have a graphic designer.

Penji is a good solution for content creators since it allows them to offload design projects so that they can focus on producing and releasing more content.

Companies in Need of Graphics

Much like agencies, companies may already have their own dedicated graphic designer working for them but are finding that the workload is too much. Penji would be an excellent resource to turn to to help complete projects that may not be as time-sensitive as other design projects.

Penji Features

After realizing that an unlimited graphic design service is exactly what you're looking for, you go ahead and sign up for Penji.

But, now what?

How do you get started with their portal and getting a graphic done?

One of the best things about Penji is its easy-to-use portal that is highlighted by its simple dashboard.

Screenshot of Penji Dashboard

Upon logging in, you can see that there are few pages to click on and go to as evidenced by their minimal top navigation. This is done by design (no pun intended) as Penji is trying to make using their service as frictionless and clear as possible.

Let's take a look and see what you get with each tab in Penji.

Projects

The project board is pretty self-explanatory and here is where you will find all of your design projects. This is where you will find all of the design projects you have ongoing, drafted, on hold, and completed. Remember, you can request as many design projects as you wish with Penji and you can keep track of all those projects here.

Let's go ahead and click on the Project Board tab and see what that brings up.

Active

Upon clicking into the Projects tab, you will see a few tabs to the right of the Projects name. They should be Active, Complete, and Drafts. If you have requested Penji designers to pause a certain project, you will also see an 'On Hold' tab here.

Screenshot of Penji Active Tab

In the Active tab, you will see a queue of all your active design requests that are currently being worked on. This is an important tab because some Penji users have been confused by this.

In a nutshell, you can place an unlimited number of design requests with Penji but Penji will only work on one design at a time. This is important to note because while this screenshot shows that there are three active design projects, only one project will be worked on at a time.

As you can see, the status for each of these three active projects is different. One is marked as delivered (purple tag), another is marked as revision (orange tag), and the last project is in progress (green tag).

What this means is that one project is completed and is on you, the client, to mark it as complete. If you realize that your Penji designer missed something or revisions are needed, you can mark it as revisions needed (orange tag).

However, since your Penji designer already submitted it, they went ahead and started working on the next project while they waited for your feedback.

Another important thing to note is that you're also entitled to unlimited revisions on top of the unlimited design projects you can have ongoing simultaneously.

Complete

After placing your graphic design request, your assigned Penji designer will then complete it once it reaches the top of the queue.

If, after reviewing the work, you're satisfied with the work, you can mark that custom project off as complete.

All of your completed projects will be displayed in the complete tab under Projects. Each project will be marked by its completion date.

Screenshot of Penji Complete Tab

Even though design projects may be complete, you can reopen any completed design project if you feel that further edits are required.

Drafts

The drafts tab is where you will find the first draft work submitted by your Penji designer. On Penji's website, it states that you will get a draft back within 24-48 hours.

This is slightly misleading because if you place 10 graphic design requests, your Penji designer will only work on one custom project at a time. Thus, you should expect a draft back within 24-48 hours on the project that they are currently working on. Any projects in the queue should not be expected back during this turnaround time.

During the design process, you can also communicate with your designer via Penji's internal chat function.

In this chat, you can message your designer anything regarding that specific project. For example, you can chat about revisions, ask for an estimated timeline on that project, and tell them they are doing a great job.

On Hold

If at any point you realize that you may not want the work completed on one of the projects you have assigned in Penji, then you can put it on hold.

Putting a project on hold means that you don't want the project completed at the moment but may want it completed at a much later date.

If you put an 'In Progress' project on hold, your Penji designer will simply move on to the next project in the queue.

To mark your project as on hold, just navigate to the project you want to put on hold under the active tab in Projects.

Brands

The next tab in the top navigation is Brands. This is where agencies or any company that works with distinct products will really benefit from using Penji.

Screenshot of Penji's Brands Tab

Under Brands, you'll be able to list the different brands in your portfolio. For example, an agency might work with 10 different clients and each client will have their own unique brand, which can include their own logo, colors, fonts, and more.

If you're an agency, uploading each company's brand in this section will help you when you go to request your design.

Let's say that one of your clients is requesting blog graphics to be created. If you have already uploaded that company's brand in this section, when you place your request with Penji, you just simply select the brand that you want these blog graphics to be designed for.

Uploading any and all brands will help your designer ensure that the design they are creating is in line with that particular company's brand.

This also helps you, the user, because it will save you precious time from detailing what the company's brand is in every single request you place in Penji. You can upload as many brands as you wish and you can place unlimited design requests for each brand.

People

The last tab in your top navigation is People and this one is also very self-explanatory.

Screenshot of Penji's People Tab

Here, you will find all of the users associated with the current Penji plan you're paying for. Each Penji plan comes with a different number of users you are allowed to have, so be sure to purchase the plan that makes the most sense for your purposes.

All of the users associated with your Penji subscription have access to Penji and are able to place a graphics request and monitor the progress of projects.

Submitting a Design Project in Penji

Now that you've just signed up for Penji, you're ready to start making some graphic design requests.

How do you place your first request?

As we'll illustrate, the process is very simple.

A quick tip: the more information and direction you provide in your project request, the better the output will be. High-quality designs usually stem from the designer having a crystal clear picture of the task at hand and the brand that they are designed for.

Create a New Project

To begin using Penji, navigate to Projects and click on the 'Create new project' button on the right.

Screenshot of Penji's Create New Project Page

No matter how many requests you put in, this is the place you want to go to put your request in.

Fill Out Graphics Request

Once you click on the button, you'll then be taken to the brief. The brief is where you'll supply the Penji designer with all the details of your graphics request. Here, we've requested blog graphics which will then require us to fill in most of these fields.

Screenshot of Penji's Fill Out Graphics Request

Within any given project, you'll want to give it a unique project title so that you can identify it from all the other requests. The more specific you give a project title, the easier you and your team members will be able to recognize it.

Under description is where you'll want to give your dedicated Penji designer as much detail about the task as possible. You might want to convey the general direction you would like the designer to take with these blog graphics.

The other thing you'll want to note is the output of the graphic file you want. If you don't know what format you want, that's fine, as the 'let the designer choose for me' option will already be checked. But if you do know, simply click on the file format(s) you want.

If you have already uploaded your brands, you'll see the option to select which brand you want to apply for this design request. As an unlimited design service, Penji allows you to select from any of the brands you have uploaded and allows for multiple requests for revisions.

Screenshot of Penji's Penji-request-form

There will be some graphic requests that may already have their own category like in the image above. Here, the request is for a Facebook cover photo and it would be classified as 'Social Media Posts' under the Design Category.

Since 'Social Media Posts' is a built-in category, Penji will automatically populate all the different dimensions for the social media graphic you're looking for. If it isn't among the options, you can select custom and this is where you will either input the specific image dimensions or just let your Penji designer know what specific social media graphic you're looking for and they will already have that information.

Built-In Revision Tool

Image of Redesign entire project meme

Communicating design edits can be a challenge, especially when you're trying to convey your feedback to someone who doesn't sit next to you!

With Penji, they try and make the revision process as easy and seamless as possible.

When your designer has finished a draft for you to review, you'll be able to submit your feedback using their built-in revision tool.

This tool will present the draft design and you will be able to use the point-and-click tool to mark up what part of the graphic you want to be edited. You'll be able to then leave a note for your designer saying exactly what you want to be changed.

Screenshot of Penji's When your designer has finished a draft for you to review, you'll be able to submit your feedback using their built-in revision tool

If your designer submits a second draft and it's still not to your satisfaction, you can use this tool once again to illustrate what you want to be changed. Once again, there are unlimited revisions with Penji so you could go through this process as many times until your designer gets it to your liking.

Download Files

After you're satisfied with the revisions your designer has made, you are then free to download your files!

Screenshot of Download-Penji-design-files

To do so, click the project where your designer has finished creating the graphics and select the Download button. When clicking this button, it may present you with different options to download different elements of your design and it's up to you whether you need to download all of the files or just what you need.

And, that's it!

Just like that, you've gone through the process of placing your first graphic design request in Penji!

One other helpful anecdote to point out is that every active project will have its own dedicated account manager. This account manager is there to ensure that your design requests are being worked on and to answer any questions you may have on the deliverability of the graphics.

You're able to chat with this dedicated account manager much like how you would with your Penji designer through the chat function within the project.

Penji Drawbacks

Penji can be a helpful service for many organizations and teams but it does come with a few drawbacks.

Cost and Usage

One thing that is not necessarily a drawback but can easily become one is usage and cost. If you find that you simply aren't placing as many graphic design requests as you thought you would have when you initially signed up, it can become an expensive service.

Furthermore, if you're only making a handful of requests on a monthly basis, you might be better off hiring freelancers to take on the limited number of tasks. This will help to keep your costs down while ensuring the work is completed.

Image of cost savings meme

To find out if you're getting good value from Penji, first, figure out how much you would be comfortable paying a freelance graphic designer. For example, if that figure is $20 per hour and you're currently on the Team Plan with Penji ($499 per month), you would take the Penji plan and divide it by the $20 hourly rate. This would give you roughly 25 hours. If you feel like you're getting 25 hours' worth of work from Penji, then it's worth it to keep it. But, if you're not close to 25 hours, you might want to explore other options.

No Urgent Requests

As great as a graphic service with unlimited design projects sounds, there are some limitations to this. One of the limitations is that if you have an urgent graphic request, it likely won't be complete soon.

And if you're looking for a graphic to be completed on the same day, well, that's likely not going to happen. This can one of the biggest limitations of Penji's graphic design services.

at the hospital but want some urgent changes meme

It's important to note that Penji's account manager and a designer will try and get your request completed as quickly as possible if you communicate that to them.

However, if your organization works with very tight graphic turnarounds, a graphic design service might not be the best solution for you.

Process Can Be Slow

Another issue with the selling point that Penji offers unlimited revisions is that the process can take longer than anticipated.

Unfortunately, requesting revisions is likely to take another day or two before you get back the edited graphic.

If you have a reasonable deadline of one week to produce a graphic, you might think that may be more than enough time for your Penji designer to create it. However, if multiple rounds of edits are involved, it's quite likely you might go past this deadline.

Penji Pricing

Penji offers three different pricing plans for their services. It's ultimately up to you, the user, to determine which package suits your needs.

Screenshot of Penji Pricing

With the three options, you are free to pay for Penji on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Just know that you will receive a discount if you choose to pay quarterly or yearly.

If you're paying on a month-to-month basis, your monthly cost will run from as little as $400 per month to as much as $900 per month.

Some of the key differences between the plans to note are:

  • The Pro and Team plan only gives you access to one designer, whereas the Agency plan gives you access to two designers.
  • If you want a fast turnaround on projects, the Agency plan has two workstreams available meaning that two designers will work on two projects simultaneously.
  • Website app design and custom illustrations are not part of the Pro plan. Thus, if you need a particular app design or custom illustrations, you will have to choose either the Team or Agency plans.
  • The Pro plan allows up to two users, the Team plan allows up to five users while the Agency plan allows for up to ten users.

If you think you will likely use Penji's services a lot, paying for your Penji plan on a yearly basis is probably the most cost-effective way to go. That's because you will save 25% (no Penji promo code required) on what you pay.

For example, you would have to pay $899 for an Agency plan if you were paying monthly but that figure drops to $674.25 if you pay annually.

Screenshot of Penji Pricing Yearly

Even if your marketing team already has a designated designer, having a service like Penji to be able to help with bandwidth issues may be a worthwhile expense.

Frequently Asked Questions About Penji

I'm not sure I want to commit to Penji without trying it first. Is there a free trial?

While it's technically not a 'free trial,' Penji does allow customers to purchase any plan and cancel within the first 15-days of using it. If you cancel within these first 15 days, you will receive a full refund.

Are there any hidden fees that are added to the price?

There are no hidden fees and the price you see quoted is the price you will pay. Any taxes and service fees are included in the quoted price.

How many hours per month will my Penji designer work on my projects?

There is no limit as to how many hours a designer in Penji will work on projects. A designer can work as little or as much as there is work available and you are free to take advantage of the "unlimited designs" selling feature that comes with Penji.

Wrapping It Up

Penji is a unique and cost-effective way to leverage graphic design services. If you're a company or an agency that is suffering from bandwidth issues, Penji might be a worthwhile solution for you.

Penji offers three great plans that serve the needs of different users. As a customer, it strives to make the graphic request process as easy and streamlined as possible. Penji's dashboard is also clean, simple, and easy to navigate.

Penji's designers produce high-quality designs and are communicative throughout the project. If you find that one designer isn't enough for your needs, Penji also gives you the flexibility to upgrade your account to access two designers to work on two projects at the same time.

Turning to an unlimited graphic design service like Penji allows companies to scale their operations and improve efficiency. It's a great resource for any organization that could use an extra set of design hands and at a very affordable and flat monthly rate.

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