While Freelance Designers Struggle with Design Agencies, Hybrids Win the Battle
15th of May, 2019 | Infowithart
Do you need a cool infographic, appealing banner, easy-to-understand e-book, modern website landing page or any other fabulous design masterpiece?
Let’s say, you want to create a couple of infographic pieces to empower your visual marketing strategy. You’ve read our “How to Create Infographics” series backwards and forwards. Anyway, you decided that online infographic services lost the battle to custom infographics and that you need some professional help. Still, the hesitation isn’t over. Are you not sure whom to trust with such a creative assignment? Should this be a team of professionals? Or, would you rather leave it to a single player? Maybe, there’s some third option available?
Well, let’s check the list of standard factors that influence our decision and, firstly, compare the pros and cons of freelancers and agencies.
Experience & Level of Expertise
You may find a highly experienced and professional freelance designer. At the same time, there’s a tendency that designers perform better if they work in a team and communicate with other designers. Your colleague may help you see the same thing from a different perspective. Plus, a Senior Designer or your Art Director may point out some things you might have missed out.
So, if you hire a freelancer, you’ll get the results of his/her experience and expertise solely. If you deal with an agency, you’ll have the accumulated power of the experience and expertise of each member involved in the project.
Communication & Availability
Undoubtedly, a freelancer can be a magnificent designer but his/her communicational skills may leave much to be desired. Nevertheless, there are many designers who are great communicators as well. Anyway, agencies have the advantage here too.
The thing is that freelancers should answer e-mails, market their services, look for the new customers, deal with the edits and oh… make designs, of course! That’s why freelancers may not answer your e-mails when they’re deep inside the creative process.
The agencies usually have a project manager whose primary task is being the main point of contact and answer all your queries.
Trustworthiness & Flexibility
While staying on the flexibility topic, we’d also like to touch upon trustworthiness as well. Why these two come together?
Well, freelancers are used to working on several projects at the same time. Thus, there’s a possibility that the person just may not fit into your tight schedule. Especially, during the hot season. But, again, it depends on the person and his/her ability to manage time.
Agencies also run several (and usually “several” means “many”) projects simultaneously. But they have enough resources to back up a project manager who’s fallen ill, shift the project to another designer if the current one cannot cope with that scope of work and so on. Most agencies will make sure they deliver your project on time because they care about their reputation.
There’s one more thing regarding trustworthiness… Let’s say, you need to contact the designer who created a landing page for your website 6 months ago to do some redesign. If that designer was a freelancer, you’re playing a lottery here. His profile on some freelancer-dot-com site may be gone for good. Or, the last time he was online on Skype was actually 6 months ago. With the agency, the chances of reconnection are higher. Unless it went bankrupt and no longer exists, you’ll know exactly where to find the contact person. And even if the designer who worked on your project doesn’t work there anymore, they still have your records and will be able to provide you with a solution.
So, as you can see, everything’s relative. These advantages and disadvantages are circumstantial. Obviously, each case is individual. Anyway, today we’re living in an era of constant change. Thus, there’s a new hybrid player that’s been gaining popularity. This hybrid is more likely to win the battle as it accumulates the main pros of both agencies and freelancers. We suggest skipping all the factors listed above since all of them come down to the two pillars which all customer decisions are based upon. Of course, this is the balance of price and quality.
Apparently, the significance of this factor depends on your financial capability. If you are a big player, money is not a problem. But for a smaller business or startup, it may be of greater importance.
Therefore, those whose budget is limited, seek lower prices. You might think that freelancers celebrate a landslide victory here.
Well, they charge for the work of a single person. The agency charges for the teamwork. Plus, the latter also has to keep in mind office space, insurance, and other expenses which freelance designers don’t need to care about.
But here’s the hybrid coming! Nowadays there are little studios/agencies that offset these expenses. They can ]rent the office in suburban neighborhoods. Sometimes they chose locations in small towns. Some of them practise distant employment of some team members. Obviously, their prices are lower than their colleagues’ from large enterprises. Moreover, their hourly rate usually is at the same level as the one of an average freelancer.
As we’ve already mentioned, everything’s relative. You may receive the high-end result from a rockstar agency as well as a small unknown studio or a professional freelancer.
As a general rule, the scales are tipped in favor of agencies and studios here. Because they simply have the advantage of teamwork and multi-level review and approval system.
They’ll do their best to make you a satisfied customer who would leave positive feedback and come back with more projects in the future. Thus, they would have a team of at least one designer, art director, and project manager dedicated to the completion of your project.
Moreover, agencies and studios usually develop a multi-tier approval system. The final design is reviewed by the senior-level designers and art director before the client sees it. The hybrid agencies/studios have the same advantage here.
In turn, freelancers are a designer, project manager and art director rolled into one! Plus, they usually work on several projects at the same time.
In summary, we see that the score is 1-1-2. Freelancers are more attractive in terms of price. Agencies – in terms of quality. But hybrid studios beat those two taking advantage in both fields.
Don’t believe in hybrid design studio infestation? Do you think they are too good to be true? Let us reassure you. Hybrid design studios are not unicorns. We exist for real and do our best to make our clients happy. Contact us to see for yourself 😉