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Graphic Design: Should you outsource or hire in-house

Many times when we need to make hiring decisions , we’re confronted with a dilemma: Should we outsource or insource?  

While some entrepreneurs rave about the benefits or outsourcing design work, others have given up due to unpleasant experiences. Well, learn in my friend. 

We’re about to tell you everything you need to know about both hiring options, so next time you have to make staffing decision, you know exactly what to do.

Why your business needs a graphic designer?

Okay, so we’re not in the ’80s anymore.

In the current age of social media and all-pervasive digital presence,  the important of visual strategies to boost brand awareness and attract new customers is greater than ever before. Image are processed 60,000 times faster than next and people tend to spend 10% more times on website images than next. These stats alone are enough to tell you why good design matters when it comes to scaling and leveling up your game. and businesses need the  help of talented graphic- designers to do this. A skilled designer knows how and where to hit the audience with their designer to achieved the desired result. 

So here’s rule number one: don’t cut corners by asking a friend or doing it yourself. 

There are two main reasons companies hire graphic designers: 

  1. To establish brand look and create initial brand assets.
  2. To continuously create branded material for advertising and internal purposes. 

But while doing so, companies can face myriad challenges: 

  • Design work being very time-consuming.
  • Different brands and different projects requiring a wade variety of style and skills.
  •  Keeping up with the ever-changing trends in customers design preference can be overwhelming. 

On top of that, the questions of the where to find the talent? How to gauge the talent? To in-source or outsource? 

Outsource your graphic designer

Entrepreneur.com defines outsourcing as, “The practice of having certain job functions done outside  a company instead of having an in-house department or employee handle them: functions can be outsourced to either a company or an individual”.

Meanwhile, Deloittle’s 2016 Global Outsourcing Survey shows the top reasons companies outsource: 

  • 59%- reduce or control costs 
  • 57%- Focus or core functions 
  • 47%- solve capacity issues 
  • 31%- improve service 
  • 28%- Gain access to expert talent and knowledge 
  • 17%- Manage the business environment 
  • 17%- Accelerate organizational transformation 

These are all reasons a company might want to outsource their graphic design, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its flaws. 

Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing designers to see if it’s the right move for you. 

The pros of outsourcing graphic design

1. Lower Costs

From a financial point of view, outsourcing graphic design is usually cheaper than hiring an in-house employee. When you outsource you have the flexibility to decide how much you spend on each task or project as each on will likely have a different scope or even a different person fulfilling it.  You can set your own fixed budget on the importance and complexity of the project at hand.

In contrast, payments for in-house designers do not have any direct correlation to the amount and complexity of the projects they complete. 

2. Flexibility

This flexibility extends to other things as well. 

The beauty of outsourcing graphic design is that you can always scale your team depending on your work volume. If it’s a busy month, hire more freelancers. If it’s a slow period, counting on only one designer should be fine. (And once again, scaling down at your whim helps you save money. You can’t do that with someone staff). 

3. Talent diversity

You can also always outsource work that requires skills your team is lacking. Suppose you have three in-house graphic designers. 

You have a new campaign that requires some custom animation, but no one on your team has experience in creating them. You can outsource this Or let’s say you’re an agency and you get a client who needs great visuals for marketing their yoga studio online, but your designers are only experienced in the fields of media, tech, and real estate. 

What should you do? 

If outsourcing is an option, you can find a designer who has experience creating this type of content. This way, you can satisfy and retain clients from across all  types of industries, even those that aren’t normally a focus of your company.

4. Fresh Ideas

Outsourcing is an interesting way to spice up your designs as well. By hiring someone from outside the company, you are exposed to new perspectives, opinions, and style. This can offer some exciting new visuals to attract a new audience or even re-engage some existing customers. 

Long terms, this can even inspire the rest of your team and boost creativity.

The cons of outsourcing design

1. Divided focus

One of the disadvantages of outsourcing graphic designer is that you never really know how many projects the freelancer may be working on. In most instances, you probably won’t have a freelancers undivided attention.  

This can result in poor or faulty design outcomes which could mean more revisions, wasted time, and more budget. If you are running on a tight deadline, this can ultimately hamper your whole project. So, you to be careful while outsourcing designers. it is a good practice to select pre-vetted or reputed designers with a proven track record.

2. Difficult to find a good fit

Every hiring manager who has outsourced knows it can be a bit tricky to find the right fit for the job.  Entrepreneur.com also highlighted the importance of making sure the freelancer you hire can really do the job. 

You need to get and check references. “ Ask former or current clients about their satisfaction…. Find out what industries and what type of workload the firm or individual is accustomed to handling.” But finding and verifying all this information is not always easy, so the possibility of hiring the wrong person does exist.  Another aspect that could cause concern is time differences, as outsourced designers can come from all over the world. 

Hubstaff point out that “Working across continents can mean business hours might not line up. Make sure you discuss what regular work hours are if you’re working with professionals in the other locations. “

3. Management and reliability

Another downside of outsourcing graphic designers is ultimately your lack of control. Unlike someone on your team, you can’t really control their business stability or their ability to meet deadlines. There’s a constant fear that they may go AWOL or end up providing sub-par designs. What will you do then? 

Furthermore, regardless of the length of the relationship, you will need someone to manage your freelancers as well as deal with recruitment, legal issues, payments, and to create trusting relationships.

These tasks can take a lot of time, especially if you are outsourcing directly to a designer and not through an agency or third-party business. (Note: Many of these issues fortunately can fade away if you have a long-term relationship with a designer or agency.) 

Keeping these drawbacks in mind, how can we utilize graphic design outsourcing to its fullest potential? 

Well, the trick lies in knowing when to outsource design and how to do it the right way. If you do it right, there’s a lot to gain. 

Working with in-house designers

The alternative to outsourcing talent is hire in-house designers, also called insourcing. 

This often involves strenuous hiring and training timelines, but there are plenty of advantages. For example, as your in-house designers grow in experience and skill, they can apply what they learn to future work with your company. 

Let’s dive into some of the specific pros and cons.

The pros of insourcing designers

1. Cohesion

When it comes to creating and sustaining a brand image, you want a consistent aura or vibe throughout your materials. this is exactly where a closer and long-term familiarly between the designer and the brand becomes crucial.

In-house designers tend to be more cohesive to your brand and company than freelancers as they live and work in it every day. They are more familiar with the company culture and niche. However, if you develop a long-term relationship with a talented freelancer, you can also get the same benefits. 

2. Sense of ownership

An in-house designer, as a member of your team, will likely feel a greater sense of ownership and accountability in the final product.

They likely will have a greater drive to achieve the company’s goals, which motivates them to put their best foot forward and can make their work feel more authentic. Unlike an outsourced designer who may be working with many brands, they are likely to be more invested in your project and success. 

The cons of insourcing designers

1. Hiring process

Working with in-house designers is a long-term commitment and therefore can involve more money, time, and effort than outsourcing. After all, you don’t just get an in-house team, you build one. You need to put the word out, wait for applications to pour in, sift through the applications to get to the ones that matter, and then finally start the interview process. 

So, we are talking about at least a month-long process to hire a single designer. This is a lot of time and effort. But there are situations when you simply have to devote the time and effort to hiring an in-house designer. 

2. Cost

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a full time graphic designer in 2019 is $49,000. Unlike the flexibility that comes with outsourcing, the salary you’re paying an in-house designer is a constant. 

So before you hire someone in-house, make sure you look at your budget from an annual perspective to decide if it make sense financially and from a productivity standpoint.

Blurring the line

Ready to make a move? wait, there might be more options!

With the rapid rise of the gig economy, the lines between outsourcing and insourcing are also fading away. Many companies are adopting a dynamic mix of both to get the most out of a global talent pool and accomplish their goals.. 

As the lines blur even more between outsourcing and insourcing, one thing is clear: the end of the “classic” outsourcing model is close. The market is teeming with new, inventive sourcing models. 

For example, you can insource design work by integrating a third-party platform with your team’s workflow- or even with your own, like Zooms Design.  

At Zooms Design, we are committed to providing professional graphic designers, at a flat-rate, who are ready when you need them to seamlessly integrate with you and your workforce.

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