Good design can make or break a business. It creates valuable visual impact, tells a compelling story and solidifies brand recognition.
Unfortunately, it’s as expensive as it is essential.
Enter Penji. Two years ago, the graphic design services startup was the first of its kind to launch in Camden, NJ. Responding to impossibly high design costs, its mission was simple: help revitalize Camden by offering professional quality design services for nonprofits that couldn’t afford it. The rate? One buck.
Wonderful ideas — like great deals — rarely stay quiet for long, and this was no exception. Demand flooded the community venture, bringing nonprofits from Camden to Greater Philadelphia. Realizing they were onto something bigger, the Penji team decided to turn its online design service into a full-fledged operation.
“Penji started as a community-conscious startup supporting nonprofits and providing opportunity for students. We never imagined becoming a household name and serving so many incredible Philly companies a year later,” said Khai Tran, CEO of Penji and Camden’s Waterfront Ventures.
Since then, Penji has gone from pet project to legitimate design startup for startups, agencies and marketing teams around the globe. Its mass appeal stems from its unique subscription model: unlimited design services managed efficiently through proprietary software for a flat rate of $369 a month. In a seamless process that would usually take several weeks and miles-long email threads, clients use the software to communicate their design ideas. The Penji team then quickly executes a design. Feedback and revisions are further ironed out through the platform over the course of approximately 24 to 48 hours.
The model has made professional graphic design accessible for cash-strapped professionals that would otherwise have to sacrifice design quality or their own time.
“As a startup, we needed a lot of design work, but we had a budget constraint. We only needed support for two to three months [while designing our app]. Penji was beautiful at bridging the gap. It was like having our own team on-demand to create mockups from our ideas. It saved us so much time,” said Danish Dhamani, cofounder and CEO of Orai, the AI-led app that helps people become stronger public speakers.
Philly-based Momentum Digital didn’t only benefit internally from Penji’s platform, it actually fueled serious growth of the digital marketing agency.
“We not only streamlined our digital design production since working with the Penji team and its platform, we grew 50 percent in year over year revenue,” said Momentum founder and CEO Mac Frederick.
Many of Philly’s most promising startups have developed a loyal reliance on Penji’s swift, affordable service.
“Above all else, the value is just incredible,” said CEO of Philly startup Red Queen Gaming, Alex Gilbert. “The amount of content they create for us would cost thousands of dollars a month. We’re probably their best and worst customers, if I think about it. We’re the ones showing up every day, using the facility to the max.”
Always compelled by its original calling to serve the community, Penji continues to support qualified nonprofits with one year of unlimited design support for one dollar a month.
That dedication to doing good and loving what they do has made a lasting impression on clients who feel the warmth and camaraderie of Penji’s company culture.
“They’re really talented team, but I also think they’re very personable and great communicators,” said the marketing lead at on-demand medical transport startup RoundTrip, Susanna Arntz. “You can tell their culture is fun, which makes a huge difference. Being able to work with another startup that has a lot of personality — that’s fun and goal oriented — is very cool.”