Are you ready to hire a designer?
The great news is there are many talented designers out there who you can access to hire. You’ve got options! The flipside is that options can seem overwhelming. How do you know you’re making the right choice?
We’ve endeavored to break down some of the most common options so that you can more easily reach your own conclusion. We’re comparing different ways to get design help: through agencies, freelancers, hiring in-house or hiring us here at Designed.co.
Here you go…
There is a wide range of design agencies out there, serving anyone from startups to the big brands. Your first task in finding an agency will be to check out their reviews and samples of their past work.
Of course, you can usually expect that the more rich and polished the portfolio, the more they charge. Pricing varies depending on who they serve and the quality of designers. For the few agencies that keep costs low, you’ll find they are quite far removed from the designer. They generally outsource the actual design work to offshore designers who don’t cost as much to hire.
Among the bigger agencies that have multiple known brands in their portfolios, you’ll usually find they charge no less than five figures for a project of around a month’s length. If that’s within your budget, fine, but you also tend to be paying for some of the “fat” that agencies naturally have to cover. They have expenses associated with running a larger business that a freelancer wouldn’t have.
One strong benefit of agencies over freelancers or other individuals is that you pay to have a full design and operations team at your disposal (aka. “DesignOps”). That team also tends to have invested in some of the best tools, including state-of-the-art software to help do the job well.
In terms of availability, you’ll almost always find that an agency has more availability than a freelancer. They’re often more prompt with communication and tend to be reliable in terms of milestones or deadlines as well. But when it comes to agencies you will pay for the time, even some of the ”consultative” phone calls.
Here are some summarized pros and cons:
- High-quality work.
- Better availability and reliability.
- Strength of having a “DesignOps” team.
- Reliable (especially if you’ve done your homework to pick an agency with good reviews).
- They work on many different projects which can be helpful for bringing new perspectives.
- Pricey, sometimes unmetered agency bills.
- Less-expensive agencies often outsource, removing you another step from the design process.
- Can be less personal in some cases. For example, perhaps the person you’re talking to isn’t designing your project.
- They often have contractual limits, for example, the minimum size project, number of changes they’ll do or the tasks they’ll do. You’ll pay for anything more.
With so many options to hire a designer, which will suit you best?
There are thousands of freelance designers. Technology means you can access people from all over the world. That also can be complicated in terms of narrowing down your choices. Much like with agencies, you want to look at reviews and at the samples on their portfolios.
Freelancers run the entire gamut, from self-taught and looking for their first jobs to highly experienced, with a portfolio that includes big campaigns, even agency work. It tends to be a rule that you “get what you pay for.” Sure, you can find a freelancer with super-cheap rates, but the chances are you’ll run into that rule that goes something like this:
“You can have two out of three: cheap, fast or good quality. Cheap and good quality won’t be fast, cheap and fast won’t be good quality, fast and good quality won’t be cheap.”
The best freelancers out there are highly skilled and very conscientious workers, concerned with building or maintaining a stellar reputation. There are also plenty of those who are unreliable, can disappear on you or who perpetually miss deadlines.
Finding a reliable freelancer can be a “safe” option for startups or other businesses on a tight budget. They tend to have flexibility to scale up or back what they do for you and are used to short-term projects.
- There are freelancers for most budgets.
- You can find someone highly skilled, just be prepared to pay for it.
- Freelancer can handle smaller-scale projects.
- No long-term commitments (usually – some freelancers work on retainer).
- Often have experience in many different industries.
- Work on different projects helps bring new perspectives.
- Sometimes no commitment means a lack of commitment and you can find that your project gets pushed down the list.
- They’re a one-person band, so if something happens with them (such as illness or family emergency), there’s no back-up.
- The one-person status can also mean they don’t have a lot of time to reply to messages. You might get a slow response.
- Quality can be an issue with some. If that happens, you might find you have to cut your losses and start over elsewhere.
In-house designers tend to be a good option only if you need someone designing full-time for your business. They tend to cost you more than freelancers because you have burdens that go beyond just their salary, benefits, software and hardware costs.. You also can’t scale how you use them – they’re a full-time cost.
Your in-house designer is there just for your design needs and can respond quickly to any feedback or messages. They get to know your brand and style very well because that’s what they do all day.
You can choose to hire anyone on the spectrum of junior to senior as a designer and pay accordingly, which gives you some choices. You can expect that a more junior designer will need more ramp-up time though.
- They work on nothing but your design needs all day.
- They’re very familiar with your brand and products.
- They’re available to you when you need them.
- Hiring takes a long time (average is 90 days).
- Paying their salary is only the tip of the iceburn in terms of expenses
- Hiring is a long term commitment.
- In-house designers can get bored or stale with working on similar projects all the time.
- Designers don’t necessarily have design skills in every disciplines you may need so you may still need to hire outside design resources.
- Turnover can be a big cost to your company. You need to recruit, hire and train someone new, whereas when you hire an agency, that’s up to them.
When we started Designed.co, we aimed to eliminate pain points that a company contracting out design work can find. To begin with, all of our designers are degree-qualified and based in the US, meaning you’re a step closer to the design process and you can trust that you’re getting knowledgeable designers.
We also introduced highly efficient processes that allow us to effectively prioritize our clients’ projects and to offer unlimited designs and revisions for a flat monthly fee. We are transparent and responsive – you can easily see the status of your project on our online dashboard.
We also guarantee that we won’t charge any hidden fees or royalties, and you get professional, high-quality, original designs. No copyright issues! This has been a pain point some have found, particularly when working with freelancers.
We take a collaborative approach with our clients and don’t require any long-term contracts. For those who do stick around, we get to know you very well and get into a good rhythm.
If you only have a couple of projects and no need for an ongoing subscription, we also offer single project quotes. We work on any size project, no matter how small. There are no egos here!
Ready to talk design? Talk to our team about how you can put Designed.co to work for you.