There are many business communication challenges that require a talented design partner to help solve. But, how do you know if you should partner with a design firm or a freelancer if you don’t have an in-house design team?
The answer depends on your company’s particular goals and project needs.
In-House Design Teams: Develop Deep Brand Knowledge
Large organizations that have a steady stream of communication needs sometimes invest in an in-house design professional or team.
An in-house designer or group specializes in the company’s brand and collaborates with other divisions such as marketing and sales and executives to deploy creative for the company’s marketing and internal communication strategies.
Responsible for executing the company’s brand across all channels, in-house design professionals develop deep brand knowledge about an individual company since their sole responsibility is to focus on that singular company’s goals and objectives.
Often, in-house design teams will hire freelancers or design firms to help support surges in work or larger design initiatives such as a re-branding campaign. This extra design expertise helps supply in-house teams an outside-the-box (or company walls) perspective as well as extra design muscle to complete complex and extensive design projects.
Freelancers: Provide Design Expertise on a Per-Project Basis
Design freelancers are hired on a per-project or per-hour basis. They are not on a company’s payroll but are independent contractors who charge a fee for their services and usually work for multiple companies.
Smaller organizations without a high demand for design projects often turn to freelancers to provide design expertise to launch or complete a project such as one-time event materials, a website redesign or new branding.
Freelancers are also an important resource for larger companies when they need additional design support to complete larger or one-time projects when their own design team has too much work on their plates. Since freelancers work with multiple companies on a variety of projects, they bring a fresh perspective from their exposure to how others in and out of your industry are solving similar business communication challenges with design solutions.
In some cases, because freelancers are juggling multiple projects and clients, they might not be as available to your team as you’d prefer. As independent contractors, freelancers don’t have ready access to a team that can help drive creativity and they also don’t have the structure, systems, and processes that design firms do. Additionally, your project is at the mercy of one individual rather than a team which could be less stable for your project.
Design Firms: Deliver Innovative Solutions from a Team of Professionals
As a design firm, we partner with decision-makers in marketing and leadership roles to solve their business communication challenges through compelling design solutions. Most design firms can develop brand strategy, visual identity, and brand standards as well as execute product packaging, websites, advertising, brochures, trade show exhibits, and sales and marketing collateral.
If a design firm collaborates with an organization that already has an established brand, they are adept at following brand standards to create on-brand creative assets to help an organization achieve its goals. Some firms like ours have a primary focus or specialty, while others work across any industry.
A design-centric agency can help you transform what you know about your product and customers into Client-facing communications that are strategically solid, will differentiate you from your competitors, and help you achieve your objectives.
A design firm has more significant overhead including insurance, office space, and tools than a sole proprietor who is a design freelancer. In some cases, companies find they can get a better rate with a freelancer. Depending on the structure and size of a design firm, there may be a client liaison that acts as a go-between from the client to the designer.
A digital agency helps define and deploy marketing strategies that use digital solutions such as apps, retargeting, social media, email marketing, and more. While they might have design professionals on staff to support their clients, their specialty is the digital solutions and strategy but not necessarily design.
Just as design firms can step in to create on-brand materials for companies that have an established brand, they can also support digital marketing initiatives with cohesive print and digital assets that communicate your organization’s unique brand promise and also resonate with your clients.
As you contemplate whether a design firm or freelancer is the right fit for your project, consider the following:
- What are your communication requirements throughout the project and the availability of the design professional(s) to your company?
- Does the freelancer or design firm have the relationships and connections to help support with ancillary needs such as copywriting/editing, photography, print production, development, signage, animation, video, etc.?
- Does the portfolio of work match the design and creativity standards you seek?
At Costello Creative Group we offer a complimentary project assessment to share with our clients how we approach projects with innovative design solutions, a team approach, and attention to exemplary customer service. To schedule your assessment today, please contact us online or call 609-365-1910.
Tell us about your project in the comments below.