Creative Market review: I’ll stick with Envato Elements for now

Creative Market seems to be in a downfall spiral right now. It might not be worth your money.

By Matic Broz, the editor-in-chief with 10+ years of experience with design, stock media and licensing, and photography.

Updated on | 2 Comments

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Creative Market review

Creative Market pricing

As the name suggests, Creative Market is a market. You’re buying creative assets from other people selling them, which means they get to set their prices. And Creative Market takes a percentage of that. So far, so good.

In 2023, Creative Market introduced a new feature: memberships that come with something they call “credits.” At first glance, the term might sound a bit confusing, but it’s pretty straightforward. Your “credits” are essentially the money you pay for your subscription, which you can then use like a pre-paid balance to buy assets on Creative Market. If it’s any help, here’s Creative Market’s explanation of credits:

You will be awarded credit for the cost of your membership. You can use your allotted membership credits to purchase any item on the site, and each product page will display the number of credits required to download the item. 

Creative Market discounts with membership

Want to know why you might consider subscribing? One big reason is that with an active subscription, you get a discount on every asset you purchase. The size of your discount varies depending on your subscription plan. If you opt for month-to-month billing, you can get discounts ranging from 5% to 20%. Go for annual billing, and those discounts jump to between 10% and 25%.

Screenshot of Creative Market memberships
Creative Market memberships. Screenshot by Matic Broz/Photutorial

Now, how much does a subscription cost? Prices start as low as $9.95 per month and go up to $99.50. A word of caution here: before diving into a subscription, think about your needs. The higher the subscription fee, the bigger the discount you get. But this makes sense only if you’re buying enough assets to make those discounts worthwhile.

Review for buyers

When you’re scrolling through Creative Market, it’s easy to get swept up in the variety of design assets available. From Photoshop brushes to floral patterns, the options seem endless. But hold on—is this the right platform for all your design needs? First things first, if you’re considering Creative Market for client-based projects, you might want to think twice. Most seasoned designers agree that using pre-made logo packs or patterns for client work isn’t just frowned upon; it’s downright unethical. Imagine using a generic floral pattern for a bride who’s spending thousands on a custom wedding experience. Not cool, right? Plus, relying on pre-designed assets can stunt your growth as a designer.

Now, it’s a different ball game when we talk about stock photos, vectors, and graphics. These are generally accepted in the industry and can be super useful. But is Creative Market the best place to buy these? After reviewing over 30 stock image and video sites, I can confidently say it’s not. You can get far more bang for your buck with platforms like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or Depositphotos. If you want to save some cash, Envato Elements offers unlimited downloads for just $16.50 per month.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Creative Market has its moments. It’s a solid choice for personal endeavors, like crafting unique wallpapers or designing an eye-catching resume. Got a DIY project you’re keen to sell on Etsy? Creative Market could come in handy. While Creative Market might tick some of the boxes, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Experienced designers looking for resources for client projects might want to steer clear. The same goes for anyone in need of stock images, videos, and graphics. But for those fun, creative side projects? Sure, go ahead and dive into the Creative Market pool. Choose your design resource platform wisely, keeping in mind what you actually need it for.

Review for sellers

If you’ve skipped straight to this part, I’d strongly suggest you backtrack and read the “Review for Buyers” section above. Trust me, it’ll give you a fuller picture of what buyers are really after. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty for contributors.

It’s no secret that the stock media market has been flooded for years, and things are only getting tougher with advancements in AI. Remember the good old days, like 20 years ago, when being a contributor could be your full-time gig? Yeah, those days are dwindling. Many smaller contributors are calling it quits, and it’s easy to see why. Platforms are continuously slashing the share contributors get, and Creative Market is no exception. What began as a 30% cut has jumped to 40% and now 50%. You can bet that’s making a lot of folks reconsider their options.

And let’s not forget the other side of the coin: discovering new and innovative designs is becoming a chore, thanks to subpar search algorithms. It’s not just the contributors who are suffering; customers are feeling it, too. Ever since Dribbble acquired Creative Market in 2022, the platform has seen a decline in both customer support quality and sales numbers. To give you an idea, here’s a screenshot from a Reddit user who’s been with Creative Market for eight years.

Reddit screenshot of Creative Market comments
Credit: u/dmitri-ana; r/CreativeMarket; Reddit


What is Creative Market and how does it function in 2023?

Creative Market is a platform where individuals can buy and sell creative assets. In 2023, sellers set their prices for these assets, and Creative Market takes a percentage from these sales. Additionally, Creative Market introduced a membership feature that awards buyers with “credits”, which can be used like a pre-paid balance for purchasing assets.

How do the Creative Market memberships and credits work?

Memberships on Creative Market come with something they term as “credits.” These “credits” represent the money you invest in your membership, which you can then utilize as a pre-paid balance for purchasing assets on the platform. Every product page displays the number of credits needed for its acquisition. An active subscription also entitles members to discounts on every purchase, with the discount percentage depending on the chosen subscription plan.

What are the considerations for buyers when using Creative Market?

Buyers should be cautious about using pre-made logo packs or patterns for client projects, as this can be seen as unethical, especially for bespoke services. While the platform offers a variety of design assets, it’s not the optimal place for stock photos, vectors, or graphics compared to other platforms like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock. It is best suited for personal projects or DIY endeavors.

How has the experience been for sellers on Creative Market?

The experience for sellers has been challenging. The stock media market is saturated, and platforms, including Creative Market, have increased their commission cuts over the years. What started as a 30% commission cut has now risen to 50%. Moreover, since the acquisition of Creative Market by Dribbble in 2022, there has been a noticeable decline in customer support quality and sales numbers.

Are there better alternatives to Creative Market for both buyers and sellers?

For buyers, especially those looking for stock photos, vectors, or graphics, platforms like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, or Depositphotos may offer better value. Envato Elements, in particular, provides unlimited downloads for a monthly fee. For sellers, the decreasing commission share on Creative Market may prompt them to consider other platforms or direct sales models.


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  1. Kenny

    Has anyone tried the new credits system on Creative Market? Sounds interesting, but I’m a bit hesitant. How’s your experience?

    1. Matic Broz

      The credits system is essentially a prepaid balance. It’s fairly straightforward once you get the hang of it. If you’re an active buyer on Creative Market, it might be worth exploring, especially if you’re looking to get some discounts. But I’ve seen some customers complain that they can’t get money back or even losing credits with these memberships.