Introducing The Designer News Market

over 7 years ago from , Publisher of Designer News

When I bought Designer News from LayerVault, it was a trust fund baby. Aside from a bit of revenue from the job board, it was burning cash and subsidized by LayerVault’s investors.

When LayerVault shut down, I bought Designer News and gave it a dose of reality. I ripped the rainbow lollipop out of its hands, replaced its ringlets with a military buzz cut, and forced it to get a job. I wanted to turn Designer News into an independent business whose only stakeholder was its community.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past six months. We’ve built a solid team, with Maxwell Lind running community and day-to-day operations, Jody Heavener pumping out code and improvements, and Farzad Ban making things look beautiful.

We’ve launched a complete redesign, hosted a huge meetup, done a ton of great AMA’s, and made hundreds of small improvements throughout the site. Although there’s a lot more to improve on (cough lame Medium posts and listicle spam), we’re feeling really good about our progress so far.

Some stats since we took over:

  • Registered Users: ⬆️ 36%
  • Monthly Traffic: ⬆️ 100%
  • Story Upvotes: ⬆️ 100%
  • Job Posts: ⬆️ 200%

So far, we’ve been successful in getting Designer News to stand on its own two feet financially. When I bought the site, it was burning thousands of dollars each month. Today, thanks to the support of some great companies advertising, sponsoring posts, and sharing jobs on the job board, we’ve been able to get Designer News to support our team and pay the bills. It’s a big milestone and we’re feeling great about it.

That said, advertising and sponsorships are totally unpredictable. We’re finding it really challenging to land longterm advertisers, and some months we’re still dipping into the red. As a result, we’re still heavily reliant on venture backed startups for most of our advertising revenue and we’re concerned that this could be unsustainable longterm.

Since taking the reigns, we’ve been brainstorming different ways to become less reliant on startup money. One idea we came back to over and over again was thinking about Designer News like an old school newspaper: the day's news with secondary services that support the community while generating revenue for the site.

People used to use the newspaper to do all sorts of stuff. Need a job? Check the job listings. Need to buy a used car? Check the classifieds.

Well, today I’m excited to announce our own version of the classifieds: The Designer News Market. It’s a place for the world’s best designers to buy and sell their best creations to other designers. Whether it's icons, themes, UI kits—you name it, you can sell it in the Market.

Over the past few months, we’ve reached out to hundreds of top designers from the DN community to get their goods on the market, but it’s open to anyone. If you have something amazing to sell, send Max an email and we’ll take a look at getting it live in the market. 

We’re just getting started, and we’re excited to see how the Market evolves. We’d love to hear any feedback you guys have about what sorts of items you’d like to see less or more of, what’s missing, or any other feedback. Feel free to email or tweet at me anytime.

We think that the market is going to be a great way for Designer News to become even more independent while benefitting the community and helping independent designers make some extra cash. Best of all, it’s by the community, for the community, and will shield the site if startups fall on hard times.

Go check it out here: http://designernews.co/market. Let us know what you think!


  • Emil NikovEmil Nikov, over 7 years ago

    The new market looks great! Hope it becomes popular and keep running DN stable.

    15 points
  • Amrit MazumderAmrit Mazumder, over 7 years ago

    I see a lot of opportunity in Books & Courses as a sellable item on this market. Knowledge being traded in a community just seems very natural to me. Excited!

    12 points
  • Victor LVictor L, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I've noticed a few nice touches that has just been added to DN:

    • autohiding/sticky navbars
    • full post history on profiles
    • editing/deleting/reporting posts
    • reporting comments (goodbye, spammers!)

    Keep up the great work, DN team! It would be nice to view edit history for both posts and comments and I'm sure that's in the works as I speak :)

    (PS You'll probably want to update https://www.designernews.co/about#badges with the AHEM badge)

    12 points
  • Joe Blau, over 7 years ago

    What the team has accomplished is awesome and I really like the vision and path towards a fully self sustaining business. It looks like DN is here to stay for the long haul.

    8 points
  • Eugene Paryhin, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Just as I decided to pause client work and start creating products to generate passive income. Perfect timing :)

    5 points
  • Tom Michew, over 7 years ago

    Wow, the market looks really nice. I'm looking foward to seeing how it progresses with new goods, and it is yet another great addition to DN.

    5 points
  • Celeste NorthCeleste North, over 7 years ago

    Congratulations on all these improvements! I'm new here but have been getting value (and trying to give back as much) from the community everyday, it's amazing.

    The market looks great and I love the fact that it's curated. The best for this endeavor!

    5 points
  • Pedro PintoPedro Pinto, over 7 years ago

    Congratulations with the new market, I hope that it becomes a great source of revenue to DN

    4 points
  • Jonathan YapJonathan Yap, over 7 years ago

    Way the go guys! Congratulations, it seems like a good way forward and leverage on the community! Interesting to see this go out on a Friday/Saturday :D

    4 points
  • Yair KatzYair Katz, over 7 years ago

    Good luck. Hope it will push you well above the red line :)

    4 points
  • ポール ウェッブポール ウェッブ, over 7 years ago

    This is fantastic.

    I've been wanting to sell goods, starting with tumblr themes. I've got to make them first, but DN Market came just in time!

    4 points
  • Victor LVictor L, over 7 years ago

    It would be nice to have a link to the preview for any theme or website templates.

    4 points
  • Jon MyersJon Myers, over 7 years ago

    Love it - and love what you all have done with DN.

    Now if we could publish courses directly to DN, and we had something that resembled a Slack channel baked into here. :)

    3 points
  • Saijo GeorgeSaijo George, over 7 years ago

    Nice work you guys :)

    3 points
  • Gabriel Szanto, over 7 years ago

    Great new platform!

    3 points
  • Irving TorresIrving Torres, over 7 years ago

    Great work you guys. Really like the design of the market.

    3 points
  • Febril CuevasFebril Cuevas, over 7 years ago

    Thanks for sharing some of the stats since taking over DN! The DN Market is a great idea. Especially with the potential for awesome curation within the DN community. It's also super unobtrusive which I love!

    3 points
  • A Paul, over 7 years ago

    So how is this different than the other design markets out there? I see it's all the same fonts and themes that are on other markets, so how will this differentiate itself? Or is the main goal just to support DN - so instead of going to another marketplace to buy the same item, we buy it from here so you guys get some of the money?

    1 point
    • Dan SherrattDan Sherratt, over 7 years ago

      I bought a Wordpress theme from there on Saturday afternoon, what sold it for me was transparent pricing. What annoys me about Themeforest is the lack of VAT and 'handling' costs in the price tag, which see a $49 theme pop up to $62 right at checkout.

      1 point
  • Andrew DeakinAndrew Deakin, over 7 years ago

    Is it possible to just search the marketplace?

    0 points