Design Agency vs In-House Designers: What is Better for Businesses?

The Importance of Design for Businesses

Design plays a crucial role in the success of any business. A well-designed brand identity, website, packaging, or marketing collateral can help businesses stand out from their competitors, build trust with customers, and create a positive image in the minds of their target audience.  

Design can also influence consumer behaviour, as customers are more likely to make a purchase or engage with a brand if they find its design visually appealing and easy to navigate. Design is a powerful tool for communicating a business’s message and values, helping to create a strong brand identity that resonates with customers. Investing in design can help businesses improve their overall performance, increase their customer base, and boost their revenue.

That’s why it’s important to know where you get your designs from. Let’s explore two options, hiring a design agency vs in-house designers below. 

What Is a Design Agency?

A design agency is a company that provides design services to businesses for a fee. These agencies have a team of designers with a diverse range of design experience and expertise, which allows them to tackle a variety of design projects.

Choosing a design agency might be the best decision you make for your business. We’ve explored a few benefits below. 

Access to a Team of Experienced Designers
One of the key advantages of hiring a design agency for your business is that you get access to a team of experienced designers. These designers have experience working on a wide range of projects across different industries, which means they have diverse skill sets and can bring fresh ideas to the table. As a design agency typically employs multiple designers, they can work on multiple projects simultaneously without sacrificing quality.

Their experienced team will also have a finger on the pulse of the latest design trends and techniques in the industry. This means that they can provide your business with cutting-edge designs that are both visually appealing and functionally effective. By taking advantage of their expertise, your business can maintain a competitive edge in your industry.

Hassle-Free Design Process
When you hire a design agency, the process of designing your project becomes extremely convenient. You don’t have to worry about finding the right designer or managing the design process yourself. A good design agency will have a streamlined design process that ensures your project is completed on time and to your satisfaction. 

They will work closely with you to understand your business goals, target audience, and brand identity, and then use this information to create a design that aligns with your business objectives. This hassle-free design process frees up your time and resources. This will allow you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Equipped With Top-Notch Design Tools
These agencies use the latest design tools and technologies to create high-quality designs that are both visually appealing and functionally effective. They will also have access to a wide range of design resources, including stock images, fonts, and templates, which can be used to create customized designs for your business.

This way, your business can access high-quality designs that would otherwise be out of reach. This can help your business maintain a professional image and compete with larger companies in your industry.

Design agencies have their share of disadvantages. Without research to find the ideal fit for your business, you may fall prey to the cons outlined below. 

High Cost
One of the major disadvantages of hiring a design agency for your business is the cost. Design agencies often charge higher rates than in-house designers, depending on the packages they offer. This can make it difficult for small businesses to afford their services, especially if they have a limited budget.

Additionally, design agencies may require a minimum project size or a retainer fee, which can be too pricey for some businesses. This can limit your options and force you to either pay more than you can afford or settle for a lower-quality design. Luckily for you, this is not the case with all design agencies so a little research can help you find the perfect fit. 

Difficult Communication
A potential disadvantage of hiring a design agency is that communication can be difficult, particularly if you’re not in direct touch with the designers. Many design agencies have account managers who act as intermediaries between the client and the designers. This can result in miscommunications and delays, as messages may be lost in translation or the account manager may not fully understand your needs. However, if you’ve chosen an exceptional design agency, you won’t have to experience these worries. 

Misalignment with Brand Tone
When you hire a design agency, there is a risk that the agency may not be as well-aligned with your brand tone as an in-house designer. Since design agencies work with multiple clients across different industries, they may not have the same level of familiarity with your business as an in-house designer would.

The design agency may not be able to capture the nuances of your brand tone and voice, which can result in a less effective design. This can result in designs that are not fully in line with your brand identity or that don’t effectively communicate your message to your target audience. 

Who Are In-House Designers?

In-house designers are full-time employees of a company who are responsible for designing. These include various materials, such as logos, packaging, and marketing collateral, for their employer. 

Easier Availability and Communication
One of the main benefits of hiring an in-house designer is that they are always available to work on your projects. This means they are open to making any necessary changes or updates to your design work. This can be particularly useful if you have a tight deadline or need to make any last-minute changes to your design. As you can directly contact them, you can also minimize doubts and misunderstandings quickly. This will assist in creating a steady flow of quality designs.

In contrast, working with a design agency may require scheduling time for a designer to work on your project, which can lead to delays or missed deadlines.

Top-Notch Understanding of Brand Guidelines
Having an in-house designer also means that they have a better familiarity with your brand identity, which can lead to more consistent and cohesive design work. Since they work exclusively for your company, they are intimately familiar with your brand values, mission, and vision, and can tailor their designs to align with your company’s unique personality.

As in-house designers are part of your team, they are invested in your company’s success, and their designs reflect that. They have a vested interest in producing high-quality work that will help your business achieve its goals, whether that’s increasing brand awareness, improving conversions, or driving sales. This investment can lead to more innovative and creative designs that are specifically tailored to your business’s needs.

There are many disadvantages to maintaining these designers dedicated to your business. A few of them have been explored in detail below. 

Maintaining In-House Designers Can Be Difficult
Hiring and maintaining an in-house designer can be expensive. You will have to pay their salary, taxes, benefits, and other expenses. Moreover, if your design needs fluctuate, you may have to hire additional designers, which can add up to your costs. 

For example, Sarah is a small business owner who hired an in-house designer to create her logo. Although the designer did an excellent job, Sarah found that she didn’t have enough design work to keep the designer busy full-time, making it a costly investment for her business.

Limited Creativity
Another disadvantage of hiring an in-house designer is that they may not have exposure to new design trends and techniques because they only work on your business’s design requirements. As a result, their creativity may be limited to what they’ve learned in their previous work experience.

How To Make A Final Choice

67% of 19% of companies in a survey by Piktochart that don’t use designing of any sort were interested in doing so if they could find a quick and cost-effective way to implement it. Choosing the right designer depends on your business’s unique needs, goals and your business’s financial status. It’s also crucial to do your research and compare your options. 

To put it out simply, if you have a steady flow of design work and can afford to hire a full-time designer, an in-house designer can be a great option. However, if you have fluctuating design needs and want access to a broader range of design experience, a design agency may be the better option. 

Choose The Best: Hire A Branding Agency Instead

Finding a designer that matches your brand’s objectives after quality research aside, you have one more option. Look out for branding agencies that offer design services. Such agencies know exactly how to create designs that resonate with your brand identity while having a well-equipped expert design team. In the battle of design agency vs in-house designers, a branding agency is an unexpected opponent but definitely a worthy one! If you’re looking for one such branding agency, with quality communication with reasonable investments, Alapra is here for you. With our aim to provide impactful branding, your design services are in safe hands. Contact us now!

Let's Connect