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Hiring a Designer vs Design Agency

Freelance Designer vs Design Agency
Freelance Designer vs Design Agency

Designer vs Agency


So you decided that you need a professional logo and you won’t try to design it yourself but rather hire an expert.

What are the pros and cons of hiring a freelance designer vs a design agency?

There has been always a debate:

Should you hire an independent designer or a design firm?

If you ever need some type of graphic design work, the chances are that you asked yourself this before and perhaps even tried to design it yourself.

This articles address people who are actively searching for graphic design service providers.

So if you’re weighting between hiring an agency or an independent designer – hey, you’re in the right place!

Advantages & Disadvantages

In this article I will weigh the advantages and disadvantages of working with both.

I will walk you through the benefits of each, so that you can make a better hiring decision.

Should you hire freelancer or agency?
Designer vs Agency: advantages and disadvantages.

For this purpose I’ve distilled 5 important criteria.

These criteria will help you determine who’s best fit for you design project.

I’ve found that these are the most important hiring criteria to any type of clients:

5 Hiring Criteria

Designer vs Agency
Designer vs Agency, 5 hiring criteria
  1. Price
    For big players, money is not a problem but for smaller business’ or startups it might be an issue. The budget can be limited.
  2. Quality
    In theory, quality should be the most important driver in the decision making. But you’ve probably heard the expression before “you get what you pay for” and that is generally true.
  3. Flexibility
    No matter how good the quality or how low the cost is, it won’t do you any good if your project comes in late and you miss a critical deadline.
  4. Experience
    The simple fact is the more experienced you are, the more efficient you are. Hiring an inexperienced freelancer at a very low hourly rate could ultimately cost you more.
  5. Communication
    If you’ve ever encountered unanswered e-mails or phone calls, nothing can ruin a project faster than putting trust in someone who isn’t dependable.

Now, that you understand the hiring criteria, let’s take a look as to how designers and agencies rank in each category.

Hiring a Freelancer

Often, the reason why a professional chooses to become a freelancer is that they are talented at a specific niche skill-set.

For example, if you need an identity design, you should search for an identity designer and not, for example, a web designer.

Wonder how much logo dest can cost? – check my other article.

A freelancer is someone who is dedicated 24h not only 9-5pm.

Why?

Because, he/she will get down to work at their best convenience and won’t be limited to working hours.

And if you hire an experienced designer who worked previously at reputable design agency – you get same quality work, for much less.

For example:

I’m a type of designer who previously worked for some of the top branding agencies.

If you hired, for example, CGH some time ago – I would be designing your logo.

But remember to make distinguish between designers, and hire specialists.

5 Pros & Cons

Working with a freelance designer:

  1. Price
    Advantage
    Many freelance graphic designers work from home office, so overhead costs are drastically lower than a company who has to pay the office rent and all the people working there.
  2. Quality
    Disadvantage
    Most designers are passionate about delivering a quality, but only true expert can do so. Remember to check portfolio for quality work.
  3. Flexibility
    Advantage
    A freelancer will work anytime and anywhere. And if you opt for a fixed price, they will manage their time to meet your deadline.
  4. Experience
    Disadvantage
    There are designers who are multidisciplinary, but for the most part, an agency with multiple designers employed will obviously be able to offer you a more well-rounded collection of services.
  5. Communication
    Advantage

    Because freelancing is supplemental income for many freelancers, they will dedicate to your project and work around the clock.

One of the main considerations when hiring for your design project should be that you like the designer’s work.

When hiring a designer, what you see is usually what you get.

A freelancer’s portfolio consists of projects they alone have worked on.

Hiring an Agency

The biggest advantage of hiring a design firm is the access to an entire multifaceted team.

Ability to accommodate all of your design, development and marketing needs in one place.

Furthermore, since every aspect of the project is delivered by one team, the final product is more consistent and polished.

Professional branding agencies like Pentagram, for example, have accumulated invaluable experience to deliver comprehensive, high-quality projects for their clients.

5 Pros & Cons

Working with a design agency:

  1. Price
    Disadvantage For any particular design service, it is generally more expensive to work with a design agency than to hire a freelancer. 
  2. Quality
    Advantage Design agencies do have more resources but often struggle with creativity. The concepts must go through many hands before landing on your desk.
  3. Flexibility
    Disadvantage Design firms operate within standard office hours, so you won’t get an immediate response when you need that print files overnight.
  4. Experience
    Advantage Design firms with many hands on deck are able to offer you complex services and handle larger work loads.
  5. Communication
    Disadvantage 
    When dealing with an agency, you have to usually reach someone during normal business hours. Plus you often deal with middlemen.

So, these were the basic benefits and drawbacks of working designs agencies.

But going back to our original question:

Should you hire: a freelance designer or a design agency?

While there may not be one answer that’s right for everyone,

I hope this article has given you some insight.

So let’s sum up:

Conclusions

In general, a professional agency is best at delivering complex work.

Especially when the project is not yet defined or the project is of a large scope.

If you're a well-established company, opt for hiring an agency. Click To Tweet

In general, freelancers tend to perform best when hired for a specialized task.

Having a set of needs listed will make it far easier to ultimately choose the best candidate.

Explain your needs first, or let experts interview you  to get a quote.

If you're a startup or a small business, opt for hiring a freelancer Click To Tweet

Have experience in working with both?

Let me know in comments below.

Infographic

Check my infographic about advantages and disadvantages of working with both:

An independent designer vs. design agency – inforgaphic:

Designer vs Agency
Designer vs Agency, hiring for a design project

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