Updated · Mar 23, 2022
Best for: High-quality graphic and UX/UI design
What Is Penji?
Penji is an on-demand design service with a mission to complete graphic design services in a fast, simple, and affordable manner. The company was founded in 2017 in Camden and has managed to seriously shake up the competition. It provides an entirely individualized service that caters to users’ every need at a flat rate, with no sneaky contracts.
You share your idea, and the company’s expert team of designers will do the rest. And it really works: I started my creative project for this Penji review, based on a simple description of my general preferences for a Linkedin banner.
Penji’s business model will eliminate the need to hire and manage freelancers. It benefits small businesses and startups, social media marketers, and agencies with consistent graphic design demands.
Based on other users’ Penji reviews and given that reputable brands (Rebook, Express, Lyft, etc) have used its services, I expected great things.
Here’s what I found out.
How Does Penji Work?
You might think that such an ambitious app like Penji would be complicated to use. Rest easy, though — all you need to do is communicate with the designers, and they will work their magic.
Let’s break down the process in four simple steps.
Create a Penji Design Project
First, you need to describe your artistic vision. You simply fill out a form with:
- The name of your project
- Your design category
- A brief overview of your brand/business
- The target audience
- Your preferred aesthetic and color palette
- The type of download files.
Try to keep your description as detailed as possible to minimize needless back-and-forth conversations with Penji’s experts. You can also add some images and examples so the designers can fine-tune their work.
While doing my test round for this Penji review, I attached three banners with the style I wanted for my TechJury banner. And I can tell you — my assigned designer faithfully followed my guidelines.
The best part is that there is no submission limit. You can create design projects to your heart’s content.
Connect with Expert Designers
As soon as you submit your request, the Penji app will automatically assign it to the most fitting candidate from its team of experts.
According to the website, this company hires only the top 2% of designers that undertake its tests. This means your project is in good hands.
Penji also understands that communication is vital. Your assigned designer will swiftly reach out to you to clear up any potential uncertainties about your project.
The company promises you’ll receive your first drafts within 24-48 hours. You might think that’s quite an ambitious goal, maybe even unrealistic — but this service delivers. Other users shared in their Penji reviews how impressed they were by the speedy delivery and I’m glad to confirm that it’s true.
Once you get your design draft, you are free to tweak it with your designer until you’re fully satisfied. Minor revisions can be completed the same day you submit them, while more extensive modifications usually take around 24 hours.
If you’re not vibing with your current designer’s style, you can just ask for another one.
Download and Own Your Design
Finally, with all revisions done, you can download your files (both source and in the format of your choosing) directly from the online platform. The complete design is 100% yours to use.
I’ve experienced the service’s streamlined creative process first-hand while writing this Penji review. Everything went smoothly and exactly as advertised. I’ve submitted my idea for a TechJury Linkedin banner and received the finished design in two days.
Penji Services and Features
On-demand graphic design companies have to be flexible to fulfill each user’s requests. With its rich array of features, Penji is definitely up to the task.
Unlimited Design Projects
You can queue up as many projects as you want — there is no limit. There are no additional costs involved, as the fixed monthly rate covers everything. On average, you can expect 10-50 projects done per month.
Similarly, you can submit countless revisions without extra costs. The Penji app lets you click and mark the specific parts of the design that will need further polishing.
Time is of the essence if you need a daily stream of customized designs. Thankfully, Penji works fast when it comes to drafts and revisions.
Most projects should be done within 24-48 hours. More complex ventures, like multi-page booklets, landing pages, and designing websites or apps will require more time.
Effective communication is a must when you’re fine-tuning designs on a tight schedule. Luckily, one of the service’s brightest moments is its human support. It’s been raised in many Penji user reviews.
I can report the same thing. My assigned designer was a joy to work with: attentive, patient, and all-around pleasant.
You can communicate via the app’s message system, Slack, and email.
100% Ownership of Designs
You own the rights to your finished projects and are free to use them as you please. Penji does occasionally use custom-made designs for marketing purposes, but you can protect your work.
Simply go to Account Settings and uncheck the options which allow the company to use your designs on its official social media accounts and portfolio.
While testing the app for the sake of this Penji review, I’ve created a TechJury folder with our brand information.
Penji allows you to create separate folders for each of your brands.
That way, you can keep your projects organized and save time by maintaining a unified brand aesthetic. Your designers will immediately know what kind of look you’re going for, based on your folder.
The Pro subscription offers you a dizzying array of design categories:
- Advertisement — digital, billboard, magazines, newspaper, and print
- Banners — Social media, Twitch, and website
- Custom merch — bags, hats, hoodies, pullovers, and t-shirts
- Business cards
- Blog graphics
- Book covers and illustrations
- Album covers
- Vehicle wraps
So, chances are, whatever your idea, the Penji company can breathe life into it.
It’s also transparent about the limits of its capabilities. Membership doesn’t include:
The app supports several file formats, like Adobe Suite files, Microsoft Office files, PNG, JPEG, PDF, and more.
Upgrading to the Team subscription opens up additional options, like custom illustrations, website and app design, and infographics.
Let’s zoom in.
Custom hand-drawn illustrations are a great way to make your marketing visuals stand out. Compared to vector graphics, they are unique and much more detailed — and more costly. That fact alone often dissuades brands from hiring illustrators.
That’s where the Penji company comes into play.
It offers businesses on a tight budget unlimited custom illustrations as part of its Team subscription. The collaborative creative process is the same as usual, except that it takes longer depending on the complexity of the request.
Nothing makes a grand first impression like an attractive website. Hiring a web design specialist is often a drag, however, and it costs a pretty penny. Again, Penji presents a cost-effective alternative.
The Penji design service houses its own team of professional web designers that will help you with:
- Design direction
- Suggestions on the website’s structure
- Web page design and layouts
- Web assets (fonts, images, icons, etc.)
- Auto-generated HTML/CSS.
You can count on the Penji company to design your:
- Home page
- Landing page
- About us page
- Contact page
- Pricing page
- How it works page
- Checkout page
- Custom page(s).
That means no more boring web templates — you get a unique, fully customized website that perfectly mirrors your branding. All you need to do is carefully present your concept.
A user-friendly interface is a must for mobile apps. Thankfully, Penji covers UX/UI design in its higher-end subscription plans.
Requesting your Penji app design follows pretty much the familiar procedure. The only real difference is the info you need to provide while filling out the form for your project.
You will be asked to pick desktop sizes, such as:
- iPhone x-11
- iPhone 6-8
- Apple watch
You may also link any existing apps you have or app examples you like to make it easier for the designers to understand your idea.
Information graphics are an easy and memorable way to get your point across as visual information rather than dry text. More and more brands are adding them to their marketing arsenal. Naturally, the Penji design service aims to answer the high demand for eye-catching infographics.
While submitting the description for your project, you will need to pay extra attention to the content of your information graphic. That means:
- Providing text explicitly written for the infographic
- Ensuring your info is organized and easy to follow
- Indicating any statistics you want to be highlighted.
Penji vs Design Pickle
Of course, this isn’t the only on-demand graphic design company that’s big in the game. Among Penji competitors, Design Pickle sure stands out - a worthy opponent that also provides unlimited project requests and revisions. But, which one has more to offer?
At first glance, both services seem pretty evenly matched. Both specialize in a broad range of design categories, have a team of experts and quick turnaround, and are extremely easy to use.
Still, there are many subtle differences between them, and they quickly add up!
One Designated Designer
The first one worth mentioning is that Design Pickle assigns you one expert who will work with you on all your projects. It’s an interesting approach from one of the best Penji alternatives. The company claims it’s for the sake of consistency.
Custom Illustrations Add-on
Another point of interest is Design Pickle’s custom illustrations add-on. It costs $499 per month, on top of $499 for the Essentials plan.
Compare that with Penji’s Team plan, which already includes custom illustrations — and costs half as much, at $499 per month. Clearly, Penji has the edge here.
Things are getting heated in the Penji vs Design Pickle battle! Design Pickle has a trick up its sleeve, though: API integration.
You can connect via Zapier to Asana, Slack, Trello, Airtable, and Google Drive. Penji doesn’t offer a lot on this front — just Slack.
This time, Penji scores another winning point. It has more powerful and extensive design capabilities:
- Higher-level UX/UI web design
- App design
- More merch options
- More miscellaneous options, like album covers, stationaries, and vehicle wraps.
Design Pickle is at a severe disadvantage here. The company only does light website or landing page design, and it doesn’t deal at all with mobile app UX/UI.
One last point of comparison:
Among Penji alternatives, Design Pickle is one of the pricier ones. It has two subscription plans, plus the custom illustration add-on.
Let’s take a look at the monthly options:
- Essentials — $499 vs Penji’s $399 Pro plan
- Pro — $995 vs Penji’s $899 Agency plan
- Custom Illustrations add-on — $499 vs Penji’s $499 Team plan.
You can save 20% (Design Pickle) or 25% (Penji) with the annual options.
The numbers speak for themselves — Penji is, overall, the cheaper service.
It’s a pretty tight race, as Design Pickle is one of the finest Penji competitors. Both companies deliver high-quality results in record time. Still, if your business venture depends on high-level web or app design, Penji is your safest bet. Design Pickle is the better choice for a more collaborative approach, with steady team communication across multiple platforms.
The service doesn’t provide you with a free trial or free version to try out before you decide to buy it. But, there is a 15-day money-back guarantee!
The company’s main offer are three plans:
- Pro — $399/month, or $299.25/month billed annually
- Team — $499/month, or $374.25/month billed annually
- Agency — $899/month, or $674.25/month billed annually.
Most Penji user reviews describe the prices as being on the lower end. In the longer run, it’s without a doubt cheaper than hiring an in-house designer or a freelancer. But, that’s only the case if you have ongoing graphic design needs. Otherwise, Penji may end up being unecessarily costly.
Let’s see what each plan entails.
Pro is the “basic” plan, actually. It’s centered on graphic design, without the fancier elements like illustration, UX/UI, and infographics.
Upgrading to the Team plan grants you those features, plus everything in Pro.
The Agency plan takes things further, with two designers per project and prioritized support.
Feel like giving it a shot?
Today’s your lucky day.
We can offer you a Penji coupon for a 15% discount. The promo code is TJ15.
Penji Review - Verdict
Okay, I admit it - I’ll join the bandwagon. The Penji reviews are true. This app made it hard even for nitpickers like me to find something.
So, let’s start with the pros.
One of Penji’s most attractive qualities is certainly the immense scale of design categories. You can order anything, from tattoos to vehicle wraps. But, more importantly, it’s the custom illustrations, infographics, and web page and app design features that are the real stars of the collection.
Penji’s main selling point is the unlimited request and revision model. Paired with the service’s flat rate, it makes for a reliable and affordable solution.
And the Penji design team works fast — I mean, multiple drafts and revisions for 24-48 hours? That is amazing.
To top it all off, it’s just so easy to use the app. You pass on ideas to your designers and then keep track of your creative projects on the dashboard. When a project is finished, you download it — that’s it.
Now, the short cons section.
A free trial would be appreciated (as always!), for users who are unsure of what kind of service they’re going into. There is an available demo video on the website, but you need to sign up to watch it, which is a hassle.
Moreover, the Penji company has a specialized business model. This isn’t an outright disadvantage: it just means that it works well under certain conditions. So, if you depend on a steady flow of design projects, Penji is a good fit. But, if you only need the occasional design or two, look elsewhere.
To sum up:
While writing this Penji review, I kept uncovering more and more pleasant little details about the company. It’s a well-rounded solution for all businesses in consistent need of a creative touch. Would definitely recommend.
Selma is a content writer with a love for all things nerdy by day and an internet archaeologist that likes to dig up obscurities by night. Mostly she's trying to balance between many obsessions. Right now, it's bass playing and reading hard sci-fi about vampires in outer space - next week, who knows.
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