We just launched our startup with a designer helping us pro bono to spruce up the design of it. He's asking for compensation now (which is fair) and is willing to trade in his service for equity. Just wondering if it's better to pay than to trade equity for the service.
I wouldn't trade equity for a service like this unless they were going to become a long-term contributing member. You're much better off finding a way to pay for the service. You can also do things like find ways to lower the price as much as possible such as a link at the bottom of your site that says, "Designed by [designer name]," but I wouldn't give up equity for design services.