Graphic design is a skill that takes years of practice to develop. Even with the right skills, the time it takes to create graphics for your business can be a major bottleneck. This is why so many businesses choose to outsource graphic design.
Outsourcing your website, branding, and social media graphics can make you more efficient. It can help you achieve a level of quality, consistency, and volume you may not be able to accomplish on your own.
Outsourcing is often also more cost-effective than hiring a full-time designer. There are several other advantages too, which we’ll cover shortly (keep reading!).
If you’re thinking about hiring a freelancer or agency for your graphic design needs, this guide is for you. We’ve compiled all our tips, tricks, and best practices for outsourcing to make sure you get the most bang for your buck and avoid any costly mistakes.
Why Do Companies Outsource Design Work?
Some large companies do go down the route of building their own in-house design team. But for most startups, small to medium businesses, and digital agencies, it makes more sense to outsource at least some of their design needs.
According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for a full-time graphic designer is over $50,000 a year. That’s a lot of money to spend on one employee, especially when considering all the other costs associated with having someone on staff (benefits, office space, equipment, etc.).
If you have more work than one person can do, you’ll have to hire a whole team. You’ll also have to factor in advertising and interviewing, training time, vacations, sick days, and so on. So how to grow a graphic design business without spending a fortune on staffing costs? Outsourcing.
Outsourcing is a much more cost-effective option for most businesses. You can find talented designers who will do high-quality work for a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee. You can also scale your budget up or down to meet the needs of your business over time.
In-house designers can take weeks or months to design a logo, website, social media graphics, etc. Your output is limited by the size of your team. If you have only one or two designers, you likely have a backlog of work that never gets done.
Outsourcing gives you access to more designers. Your output is limited only by the size of your budget and how many freelancers or agencies you can manage at once. If you have more work than your team can handle, and you need it back ASAP, all you need to do is increase the budget.
It’s more flexible
Some weeks you might only need a few hours of work on some social media graphics. Other weeks you might need a full-time graphic designer to work on a new website.
Hiring a freelancer or agency for your design needs gives you the flexibility to scale up or down as needed. You pay only for what you need, so you can save money when business is slow.
You get more expertise & variety
In-house designers typically specialize in one or two areas of design, such as web design, logo design, or print design. Outsourcing gives you access to a wider range of skills and specialties. For example, you can find freelancers who are experts in specific types of graphics, such as infographics or illustrations.
You can also find design agencies, which in its turn means – a range of designers, who specialize in different industries or niches.
In addition, using designers from outside your company can help you get a fresh perspective and new ideas. Bringing in someone new always helps to stimulate creativity and innovation.
It allows you to focus on your core business activities
Finally, outsourcing frees up time that is often better spent elsewhere. Even if you’re not strictly designing yourself, managing an in-house team takes time and effort. You need to make sure they’re staying on schedule, meeting deadlines and producing high-quality work.
If you can outsource design work, you can focus on what you do best — running your business.
How to Outsource Graphic Design Effectively
Outsourcing can be a win-win for you and the designer, but only if your expectations are clear. Here are some tips to make sure your outsourcing relationship is a success:
Choose an outsourcing model
There are many different ways to work with freelancers or agencies. For example, you can hire them on a project basis. Alternatively, you can pay for retainer services for a set amount of regular work. You might work with several freelancers or opt for an ongoing relationship where the same designer works closely with your team.
The suitable model will depend on what type of design work you need, the volume of work, and the frequency at which you need work completed.
For occasional one-off design projects, it’s quick, cheap, and easy to hire a freelancer through an online platform like Fiverr or Upwork. However, the quality of work you get will vary, and the whole process can be a bit hit or miss. In general, the adage that you get what you pay for applies.
If you need more regular design work, it makes more sense to work with an agency. Agencies usually have set rates for different types of design work, and they’ll take on a certain number of clients at once.
Be clear about your requirements
Most outsourcing disasters happen because of poor communication.
The more information you can provide up front about your design needs, the better. If you don’t give enough direction before they start work, you might end up with something that doesn’t fit your requirements at all.
It’s best to set out in detail what you want out of the arrangement. This brief should include:
- The exact deliverables you expect. For example, you might specify that the final product must be delivered in high-resolution PNG and JPEG formats.
- Any restrictions on what type of designs or styles you’ll accept. Providing detailed brand guidelines is essential to maintain consistency.
- The deadlines for each project, including time for review and revisions.
- You should also ask for a quote and timeline up front to avoid any misunderstandings later in the process.
Establish a good working relationship
Being clear about your requirements is just the start. You also need to establish a good working relationship with your designer or agency.
Regular communication is key, especially if there are any delays or problems with meeting deadlines. You should also give feedback on their work regularly. Both positive and negative feedback helps designers improve and understand your needs better.
It can take some time to find a designer that you really mesh with, so if things aren’t going well, don’t be afraid to end the arrangement and try someone else.
Pros & Cons of Outsourcing and Who Benefits from It Most
Have we done a great job of convincing you to outsource your graphic design work yet? Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet. While outsourcing has many benefits, it’s not the right choice for everyone, and it does come with downsides.
- It’s a quick and easy solution for short or one-off graphic design projects.
- It allows you to access highly-skilled design talent without the need for an in-house team.
- Outsourcing is usually more cost-effective than hiring full-time employees.
- It’s easy to scale up or down as your needs change.
- It can be challenging to find good, reliable designers through online marketplaces or agencies.
- You have less control over the design process, which can be problematic if you’re on a tight deadline.
- Communication tends to be more challenging when designers aren’t in-house. Lack of communication or unclear instructions can lead to disappointing results.
- If you already have in-house designers, working with a freelancer or agency can cause conflicts and tension within your team.
When Not to Outsource
So how should you decide if outsourcing is the right path for you or not? There are several reasons why you might decide against using an outsource design company:
- You have a talented and experienced in-house team that can manage their workload.
- Outsourcing requires you to relinquish some control over the design process. If you tend to keep a tight rein on your designers, it can be frustrating for all concerned to work with an outsourced team.
- If you’ve tried outsourcing on several occasions and haven’t had good results, it might be time to reconsider your options. But try a different model before you give up on outsourcing completely. Some businesses work best with an agency and a team of designers, while others prefer to work directly with a single freelancer. It’s worth experimenting to see what works best for you.
Who Benefits from Outsourcing Most?
Outsourcing may not be the best option for large businesses with the budget and resources to build a great in-house team.
If you fall into one of the following categories, there’s a good chance that outsourcing is the right choice for you:
- You’re a small business or startup with a small team that doesn’t have the skills or time for graphic design.
- You’re an advertising or digital agency and need to scale up production so you can take on more clients.
- You’re wondering how to grow your graphic design business.
- You need to outsource a one-off project or projects that are too short-term or infrequent to justify hiring an in-house designer.
- You don’t have the budget for a full-time graphic designer.
- Your in-house team is already overworked, and you have a backlog of projects to complete.
- You feel that the designs produced by your in-house team are becoming stale and you need to inject some new life into your branding.
- You want to be able to quickly and easily scale up or down your design needs depending on your business growth or fluctuations.
To Outsource or Not to Outsource? The Choice is Yours!
If you’ve made it this far, you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not outsourcing is a good choice for your business. You also know a little bit about different outsourcing options and the pros and cons of hiring an agency or freelancer.
Now that you’re armed with all this great information, what’s your plan going to be? Are you ready to find some designers online and get started outsourcing today? If so, we hope our guide has given you some ideas for getting the most out of your outsourced graphic design team.
The price of outsourced design work depends on several factors. These include the type of design work that needs to be done, the level of expertise you require, and how many designers you need.
While some websites will allow you to outsource a project for as little as $5, you shouldn’t expect high-quality work for that price. epiic design plans start from $445 a month for unlimited design requests from a skilled graphic designer.
Outsourcing in graphic design is the process of hiring a freelance designer or agency to complete all or part of your design work. This could be creating a logo and branding guidelines or designing marketing materials and website layouts.
Outsourcing is more common than you might think. It’s becoming even more popular with the trend for remote working. Over one-third of small businesses use outsourcing to save time and money and get better results with greater flexibility.
Jan 13, 2022