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The Top 11 Platforms to Hire Animation Designers Online

Based on the facts publicly available as of 01.01.2019

1. Toptal

Toptal has reimagined the experience of hiring freelancers. Rather than an onerous and risky process of sifting through dozens of online profiles to hopefully pick the needle from the haystack, with Toptal, you’re matched directly with a designer. All the freelancers at Toptal have passed rigorous vetting and testing, and Toptal works to carefully match you with a designer that meets your needs. If for some reason you’re unsatisfied, you can change designers or even cancel the project free of charge.

Toptal

Pros

  • Because Toptal screens heavily to select only the very best animation designers, you’re guaranteed to work with highly professional, skilled designers who will be able to provide creative and strategic input on your project.
  • The two week no-risk trial period allows you to get to know the designer without any risk on your end.
  • Since Toptal also screens for English level and customer experience, communication with your hire should be comfortable and easy.

Cons

  • Because Toptal only works with top talent, the hourly rates are higher than some other freelance platforms.
  • If you have a small project that only requires a couple of hours to complete, you will want to use a different platform.
Visit Toptal

2. Upwork

Upwork has over 17 million users and 3 million jobs posted each year. It’s probably the most well-known of the freelance marketplaces, with roots in the merger of the two prior market leaders in this area. The site has comprehensive project management tools and millions of freelancers who’ve built their careers on the platform. More recently, Upwork has introduced business and enterprise subscription tools to assist with the hiring process. Whether you want to find the cheapest possible option to get a job done or want a top-quality experienced designer, you can find an animator that fits the bill here.

Upwork

Pros

  • Upwork notes that 9 out of 10 customers rehire on the site.
  • Upwork has a broad range of freelancers across skill level and geography, perfect for any type of budget.
  • With different ways to manage the project and payment, you can mitigate risk by, for example, only paying once certain milestones are achieved.

Cons

  • Many customers have raised concerns about Upwork’s customer service, or lack thereof.
  • The bidding process encourages the freelance designers to underbid each other, forcing a race to the bottom on price and talent rather than selecting for highest quality.
  • Even though freelance animators can complete different tests to indicate their level in English, design, and other skills, it can be difficult to determine quality ahead of time.
Visit Upwork

3. Dribbble

Dribbble was developed specifically for designers to provide them with a community and space to share ideas, meet, and find support. Originally the platform was invite-only, however it has since opened its doors to anyone that would like to join. Designers can create a profile and have a portfolio. Using Dribbble Hire, you can either search through portfolios or post on the job board and have freelance animators apply. Alternatively, you can work with a Talent Partner to receive talent recommendations that have been screened and pre-interviewed for the job.

Dribbble

Pros

  • Dribbble considers itself the “#1 job board for hiring creative talent,” and has the reputation as the go-to place for designers in the design world.
  • Save time and grief with Dribbble Talent by skipping the process of sorting through profiles of freelance animators—some of whom may not even be available.
  • Search by location to make a local hire.

Cons

  • Dribbble does not provide project or payment management tools following your freelance hire.
  • Dribbble’s top talent is not available through the typical self-serve designer search. Instead you must use a Talent Partner.
Visit Dribbble

4. Working Not Working

Working Not Working (WNW) has reimagined the job board by creating a little fun. Their “UnJobBoard” for creative talent includes elements you might not see elsewhere: exciting job titles, an expectation of job perks, and aspirational descriptions on each person’s profile. Additionally, job seekers mark their calendars as working or not working, so it is easier to find someone who is available when you need them. The platform has recently launched Human, a concierge service which does the work of sorting through profiles for you so that you can just receive their recommendation and get your project started.

Working Not Working

Pros

  • Open to any designer, you can find freelance animators of all different skill levels charging many different rates.
  • Human can save you time and concern around making a poor hire by ensuring you hire animation designers that are highly qualified.
  • Because WNW does not charge commission, it can be a very affordable way to hire animation designers long term.

Cons

  • While the WNW Membership Board can assign “vetted badges” to notable designers, more experienced professionals are not noted or designated in any systematic way.
  • WNW does not have a payment management system once you hire someone, so you will need to figure out a secure way to pay your freelance animator.
  • Open to anyone that wants to create a profile, sifting through the profiles is very time consuming.
Visit Working Not Working

5. Behance

Behance is a freelance marketplace for designers using the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of services. Hosted through Adobe, Behance provides a platform for Adobe’s users to share the work they have created using Adobe’s products. There are tools for social connectivity as well, like posting comments on portfolios, tagging, and following artists you like. With a monthly membership, you can post jobs and receive access to searching portfolios.

Behance

Pros

  • You can find an animator at the skill level you need.
  • If you are looking for independent graphic designers using the Adobe Creative Cloud, this is the place to go.
  • If you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, then posting public job posts is free.

Cons

  • Hiring a freelance animator through portfolios can be challenging since you cannot see the animations live.
  • The process of identifying your hire from all of the freelance animation designers is very time consuming.
Visit Behance

6. Freelancer

Freelancer is the largest of the freelance marketplaces. With over 30 million users, you’ll be sure to find an animator that fits your needs. The platform charges a 10% fee for standard projects, unless you are using the Preferred Freelancer Program. In this program, Freelancer charges 15%, but provides you with access to a group of more experienced freelance animation designers. Additionally, both parties pay fees to initiate a project, which helps guarantee buy-in from the designer.

Freelancer

Pros

  • You can choose the method for hiring that best works for you, whether posting a job, searching profiles, or selecting a package created by the designer.
  • There are freelance animators that charge a range of different rates, so you can find someone to fit most budgets.
  • Freelancer has payment and project management tools to help manage risk.

Cons

  • There have been many complaints about the customer service, which seeks to end a dispute by cancelling memberships more than resolve it.
  • Because freelance animation designers have to submit bids, they often feel the need to underbid each other to win business, creating a “race to the bottom.”
Visit Freelancer

7. AIGA

AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) has a job platform for U.S.-based talent. As the professional association for design in the U.S., AIGA has over 70 chapters across the U.S. and additional resources on its website. Each company can post 2 jobs for free, or sign up for additional job postings. The platform is not geared towards freelancers, but is a good tool to find full-time animation designers in the U.S.

AIGA

Pros

  • With two free job postings per company, there’s no risk posting.
  • This is a great site to find full-time designers in the U.S.

Cons

  • AIGA does not provide any screening or quality controls.
  • The board does not provide any payment or project management tools, so you take on all risk yourself.
  • The platform is not structured for freelance, so you will want to look elsewhere for freelance animation designers.
Visit AIGA

8. Krop

Krop is a platform that provides profiles for creatives. There is a job board, for which you can pay by job post to receive applications, or you can pay a monthly rate for access to the database of designers. Designers pay a monthly fee to keep their portfolios active, and can sign up to receive alerts when a job post fits their interests. As such, the designers stay fairly engaged with the platform and are usually actively looking for work.

Krop

Pros

  • The job alerts mean that designers can keep looking for work even while staying busy working.
  • Designers have a collection of easy to use templates to choose from which makes it very easy for them to use and maintain a portfolio.

Cons

  • The lack of upgrades has pushed some designers to look elsewhere to host a portfolio.
  • There are no project management tools for the projects.
  • Hiring an animator occurs outside the platform, so you’re responsible for all associated risk.
Visit Krop

9. Folyo

The owner of Folyo describes the platform as a “private project alert service” for designers. In essence, Folyo maintains a database of vetted designers, who are guaranteed by Folyo to only receive quality vetted projects. As such, your project must be approved before it is sent out to designers. When it is approved for both content and payment rate, the request will be sent to designers whose skills match the needs. The designers that are interested respond, and the process moves forward from there. Folyo’s assumption is that by keeping quality designers happy, the quality jobs will come too.

Folyo

Pros

  • Folyo has removed the arduous searching and vetting process.
  • The platform will send you the designers who are both available and fit your needs.

Cons

  • There are not tools available for project management.
  • It is unclear how designers are selected and whether there is an evaluation tool or way to know that customers were pleased with the results.
  • If you want to peruse the designer portfolios, this platform is not for you.
Visit Folyo

10. Guru

Guru is a freelance marketplace with freelancers of all types. Find anyone from a Dragon Freelancer to a Religion Freelancer. Structured with project and payment management tools, Guru offers flexibility in how you structure your project. Pay by milestone, by task, by the hour, or with recurring payments. As opposed to most other marketplaces, most of the cost falls on the freelancer, with a mere 2.5% billed to the employer.

Guru

Pros

  • You have a lot of options in the project structure, so you can pick the format that works best for you.
  • SafePay ensures the freelancers that you work with that their payment will be available when they complete the job.
  • You can choose to work with someone from a specific geographic area if you prefer to hire locally or with another geographic constraint.

Cons

  • There is not much customer support if you encounter an issue or dispute.
  • There have been some issues around the payment process that have been documented.
  • There is an expectation of higher rates of payment for most jobs here than on other freelance marketplaces.
Visit Guru
honorable mention

Twine

Twine is a freelance marketplace where you can post jobs for free. The platform claims they then “hand pick” freelancers for the job. While there is very little information about what “hand picked” means, the point is that freelancers are recommended based on having a good match, and poor matches and proposals are screened out. You can reach out to candidates or wait for them to make a bid. You also have choices around how you want to manage the project and payment through the platform. Payment is simple. Twine charges a flat 20% commission. For more customized service, you can use Twine Enterprise and even hire a creative at a daily rate.

Twine

Pros

  • In interviews, Twine employees have committed to screening pitches from designers before sending them on to employers.
  • Twine provides recommendations of the rates to pay by type of service, giving you some guidance on budget.
  • Because “Pro” designers pay an annual fee, they’re invested in staying active on the platform and maintaining their reputation.

Cons

  • The “Pro Badge” is not a sign of quality, but only that the creative has paid for the profile.
  • It is unclear how much screening actually takes place.
  • Twine is a new marketplace and still has some kinks to work out, such as the functionality of certain pieces of the platform.
Visit Twine
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