my personal experience is that MOST designers are really lacking in inspiration, browse their work and its all very samey. i believe if you want anything designing thats for marketing online use or in print you need to ask somebody who has no connection to any paid design company ,so youll get something totally fresh.
Maybe it is because some of those company who offer design, do not actually design, but cut and paste from royalty free inmages. That is not how you do graphic design. Real graphic design does not take 5 minutes or a day and certainly does not cost you £5 either. We have done a lot of market research in the past two years before starting our business. Fresh ideas comes from speaking to your client, understanding the message and profile they would like to convey to their audience. The values and ethics behind their business and how they would like to present themselves. It's looking into their workplace and taking inspiration fromtheir environment. The visual image has to carry meaning and helping to tell a story.
Agree - good design costs money, because the creative process takes time. It's the same with my industry PR. Just as a lot of people expect a designer to conjure their perfect graphic out of thin air, some assume that hiring PR agency, is going to see them on the front page of The Times.
Design, like PR takes research, creativity and consultation. That said, the number of designers I have met who can just 'get' a project straight away I can count on one hand.