Need unlimited graphic and video design? Like their super-ape mascot, Kimp swoops in to save the day.
With solid reviews and a few high-profile clients, Kimp professes to offer a uniquely personalized approach to unlimited design. But with so many graphic design services out there, how do they stack up? Here’s our two cents.
A brief history of Kimp
Kimp was founded in 2019 in Markham, Ontario. According to co-founder Senthu Velnayagam, the founders had worked in design for many years as agency professionals.
They were inspired by Design Pickle to explore the unlimited graphic design model. However, Senthu emphasizes a few of their unique traits: working more directly with customers, offering video services, and operating for a single price rather than a tiered pricing structure.
Where is Kimp located?
While still based in Canada, Kimp employs team members throughout North America, South America, and the Asia-Pacific region.
Interestingly, Kimp assigns your design team partially based on where you are in the world. This isn’t to say that your team will necessarily be in your time zone, but you can trust that they’ll be active during the day no matter where you are in the world.
How unlimited is Kimp? (scope, limits, turnaround time) - 5/5
One of Kimp’s unique features is its pricing model. Where many services have a few different subscription tiers with limits on the lower-priced packages, Kimp offers the full range of services to every customer. This makes Kimp one of the most truly “unlimited” graphic design services available.
Scope of services
Kimp places very few limitations on the types of graphics they can design. Basically, anything that can be designed in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign is fair game. Some of the designs they emphasize include:
- Social media designs
- Business cards
- Flyers and posters
- Blog images
- Web banners
- Packaging and labels
- Email signatures
- Book or magazine layout
- Book covers
- Podcast cover art
Their video services consist primarily of animations and templates for promotional materials. Some of the services Kimp doesn’t offer include 3D graphics, coding, copywriting, HTML5, marketing strategy, photography, video production, and transcription. Notably, they don’t offer website, app, or mobile design services.
How long does a design take?
As usual, it depends on the scope of your project. Typically, you’ll see at least a draft of your graphic design request within 24 hours, while video requests can take 2-4 days.
Are there any other limits on Kimp’s service?
On top of the services not offered, Kimp designers will only work on 1-2 requests at a time. This is a fairly standard limit—after all, how many designs can you make in a day?
With unlimited revisions and a steady design pipeline, there’s not much to complain about with Kimp’s unlimited service. While their singular pricing model makes them stand out, their lack of web and app design offerings is a minor mark against them.
Kimp value (pricing, design package, refunds) - 3/5
While Kimp sets itself apart with simple pricing, they do still technically offer three tiers:
- Graphics: $599/mo. Includes all graphic design services, unlimited requests and revisions, 24 hour turnaround, and a dedicated design team.
- Video: $699/mo. Includes all video services, unlimited requests and revisions, 2-4 day turnaround, and a dedicated design team.
- Graphics + Video: $995/mo. Includes all features of both tiers and 4 active requests at a time.
The lowest-tier price is a bit higher than competitors, but it does include their full graphics package. One selling that Kimp has over its competitors is video. Their video tier is understandably higher than the graphics, considering the complexities of video creation and editing. However, you will have value for money, IF you have a high demand of video and graphics.
Kimp also offers a 7-day free trial to test out the service, plus frequent discounts for new customers.
What’s included in a Kimp design package?
Every Kimp design project comes with source files, free stock elements, and unlimited revisions. They’ll deliver just about any file type you request, and they’ll often offer variations to choose from.
In my experience, however, the quantity and quality of these variations can vary quite a bit. For one of my requests, only one version was delivered; for another, I got six, but some of them seemed poorly thought out.
Does Kimp offer refunds?
Many graphic design services offer refunds within the first 14-30 days. Some others may allow you to request a refund if you’re dissatisfied with the service.
Kimp doesn’t explicitly offer refunds. However, their free 7-day trial takes the place of a money back guarantee, allowing you to test out the service at zero cost.
Kimp’s price range is a bit higher than average, but when you consider that their lowest plan includes their entire suite of graphic design services, it’s not a bad price at all.
For that price, you get a standard-issue package, often (but not always) with a variety of designs to choose from.
Kimp’s biggest downside in terms of value, however, is its lack of a web app. With all the action happening through the third-party project manager Trello, you’re not paying for access to any particular tool or system.
Kimp user experience (signing up, request process, features) - 2.5/5
How do you sign up for Kimp?
In general, every Kimp plan starts with the 7-day free trial. During this period, you’ll receive up to 3 watermarked designs with no source files to help you decide if Kimp is right for you.
After signing up with your name and contact details, you pick a plan and input your payment info. After that, you fill out an entry questionnaire with questions including:
- How did you learn about Kimp?
- Do you require one, or more, of your designs to be editable in Canva?
- Are you planning to sell any of the designs you request from Kimp?
- What is your industry?
- Can your Project Manager call you as required to clarify design requests?
Once you’re all set, it’ll take a few hours for your personalized Trello board to be set up. For this review, I selected the Graphics plan only.
Your Kimp Trello board
Unlike competitors, Kimp handles all of its design processes through a third-party app, Trello. While Kimp doesn't have a custom web app, the Trello board is fairly intuitive to use. Plus, There’s lots of tutorial cards included for reference as you work through the process.
You create a card in the Requests tab with all your details and attachments. Once it’s assigned to a designer, it’ll get moved to the In Progress tab, then to In Review once it’s finished. For revisions, simply leave a comment on the card and move it back to Requests.
While the main action happens over on Trello, you can still use Kimp’s website to update your account settings. This can include changing your plan, canceling your account, or using the customer support chat.
This section confused me a great deal. It’s the first place you’re brought to when you sign up, and the abundance of tabs including “Dashboard” made me think it was a web app like many other design services have.
Instead, this is just an account settings menu, and an overwrought one at that. There’s a whole separate tab for your design team’s holidays, which is already a card on your Trello board.
Kimp communication (talking to designers, customer support, cancellation) - 3/5
You know that little chat bubble that pops up in the corner of most websites nowadays? You may be used to ignoring it, but with Kimp, it’s a primary mode of communication.
This is yet another instance of leaning on third-party apps for the most basic services you offer. The difference is that Trello is highly functional. This chat client, on the other hand, is so broken that I had to input my email address backwards one letter at a time for my first message to go through.
This wasn’t the only source of strain. As I mentioned, the initial questionnaire includes an option to opt out of phone calls from your designer. However, I still received check-ins from time to time regarding my subscription.
Talking to designers
All the communication with designers happens in the Trello cards. At first, it was tedious to send comments, however, you get the hang of it. And you get quick updates from your design team.
Without any specific forms or templates, the design briefs are a bit DIY. I feel like I was able to get my point across, but I also review design services for a living. I think a new customer may quickly run into a communication gap with their designers.
Canceling or changing your plan
Kimp may make it difficult to communicate with their team, but one thing they do make easy is cancellation. The process only requires you to answer a few questions, including an open-ended question about how Kimp can improve.
If you think you might be coming back, you can also put your account on a $15/mo hold, which ensures you’ll keep the same design team when you return.
When I had to cancel my plan, I had to go back to their website and have it processed via chat. I didn't realize I missed messages in the chat. But thankfully I received an email copy of my conversations with them. Plus, they added tips in their email.
Kimp designs - 3/5
Clearly, Kimp has a few functionality issues. But none of it matters as much as the actual product they deliver: graphic designs. While the free trial offers up to three designs, I ended up requesting two. Note: designs made during the free trial have a watermark; once you’re a paying customer, that’ll go away.
Design 1 - Book cover
The first design I requested was a book cover for a YA novel called Brenda’s a Big Deal. I was impressed with the quality of the illustration they made; it looked professional and fit my guidelines nicely. I wasn’t as sure about the way the title was arranged, so I requested some revisions.
Design 2 - Book cover revisions
I asked them to make the character illustration partially cut off on the left and arrange the title on the right in a thinner font. They followed my directions and created a cover that looks just about ready to print.
They also offered a few variations, which they didn’t for the initial design. However, it doesn’t feel like much effort was put into creating different options to choose from. Between clashing colors and mismatched fonts, only one or two of these four designs are really usable.
Design 3 - “Big Deal” tank top
These designs took just slightly longer than the others, which is understandable given their unique style. I requested a tank top design in a brutalist style that included the text “BIG DEAL” and a burning bouquet of flowers, as featured on the book cover.
One thing you might notice about the above mock-ups is that they’re not tank tops. Sure, you can guess how the design would look on a tank top. But the instructions for t-shirt designs specifically suggested that I specify the type of shirt, they offered tank tops as an option, and I said “tank top” more than once in my design request.
Other than that, though, this is a solid design. My designer perfectly captured the style I had in mind.
Final thoughts on Kimp
What sets Kimp apart from other design services?
When I asked customer support this question, they highlighted three things. The free trial, the single-tier pricing model, and the fact that every customer receives their own dedicated design team and account manager.
These are all unique features of Kimp. There are some less positive ones, however—most notably, the lack of its own web app.
Who is Kimp best for?
Kimp’s most attractive pitch is its simple monthly fee. But with limited communication functions, it’s best for people who know exactly what they want. They may be a good fit for a brand with a well-established style, or a company that needs regular designs like merchandise and cover art.
Kimp pros and cons
- Simple pricing structure
- No limits on designs
- Unlimited requests and revisions
- Quick turnaround
- No web app
- Cold phone calls
- Overlooked details in design requests
How unlimited is it?: Unlike many of their competitors, all of Kimp’s plans include their entire library of design options. This makes them more unlimited than many other design services. However, their lack of web design and middling price point are slight downsides. 5/5
Value: Outside of unlimitedness, Kimp’s package includes surprisingly little. Rather than paying for access to a platform, you’re paying for limited communication with a randomly-assigned design team on a Trello board you could make yourself for free. 3/5
User experience: I had pleasant interactions with Kimp team members, and the Trello process is actually fairly intuitive. Unfortunately, Kimp’s user experience is almost entirely do-it-yourself. There’s no web app, there are no forms, and the “dashboard” you’re taken to upon signup doesn’t actually do anything. 2.5/5
Communication: This is ultimately my primary issue with Kimp. Simple communication is replaced with a patchwork of third-party apps. If it’s not a faulty chat client or an ephemeral Trello comments section, it’s an out-of-the-blue phone call. 3/5
Designs: After so much negativity, I do want to be nice about the designs. I received two very different designs, both of which were fairly high-quality, with much quicker turnaround than I’d have with a design agency. However, phoned-in variations and overlooked details keep me from giving them high marks, especially compared to other design services. 3/5
Overall score: 3.3/5