Is Hiring an In-House Graphic Designer a Good Idea?
Hiring an in-house graphic designer might seem like a smart decision if you need graphics daily. But is this such a good idea? There are at least 4 reasons why it’s not.
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There’s no way your business can survive without professional graphic design. But that doesn’t mean you must hire in-house graphic designers. In fact, this can often turn out to be a poor choice, and we’re here to explain why.
Why every business needs a graphic designer
Why do you need graphic design again? From your logo and website to every single piece of marketing material, visual design plays a crucial role in the success of any business.
Numerous stats confirm it’s always better to hire a graphic designer rather than sloppy DIY designs. Here are just a few:
- 38% of people will stop interacting with an unattractive website.
- 75% will judge a company’s credibility based on the look of a website.
- 75% of people claim logos are the most recognizable brand identifiers.
- 60% of consumers avoid brands with unattractive logos.
- Almost 70% of ads in 2021 were created from scratch (not templates).
And the list goes on. But let’s dive a bit deeper and see why graphic design is integral to the success of any business.
Logo & branding
A logo is often called “the face of a brand,” and for a good reason. It’s well known that Pepsi beat Coca-Cola in blind taste tests. On the other hand, over 90% of the world’s population recognizes the Coca-Cola logo. The conclusion? People sometimes remember your logo better than your product!
Of course, a logo design dictates the entire look and feel of your visual identity. So, designers must understand color theory and psychology to ensure your visuals speak to the intended audience.
There’s no marketing without design
Speaking of other critical business operations, there’s also no marketing without design. Whether you market your business exclusively online or on more traditional channels, design helps you spread your message to the right audience in the right way.
A designer can make sure your marketing design looks good, and gets your message across clearly.
It’s the most powerful way to communicate
Of course, the power of visual communication extends far beyond marketing. Some of the most remarkable ad campaigns are proof of this, as these visuals stay remembered for decades to come and even become iconic pieces of popular culture (e.g., the Got Milk campaign).
They can be remarkable even when they purposefully stray away from the strictly defined brand identity guidelines. This is because visual communication is more universal than language and often produces a more powerful emotional effect.
Don’t quite understand what I mean? Look at how these ads convey a clear and memorable message with very little or no text.
Want to know more about it? Check out this article on all the ins and outs of this type of service, as well as its key benefits!
It improves usability
You may think design is just surface-level, but this is far from the truth. Unless you’re selling food or chemical products, design can be a tremendous asset to your product.
Of course, the most obvious example is digital UI/UX design. The look of a website or app is a significant factor in its usability.
If you think of packaging design as part of the product, then the importance of design becomes clear. Just think of all the iconic packaging hacks, such as a Heinz ketchup bottle with an opening at the bottom or the shape and packaging of a Toblerone chocolate bar.
Where can I hire a graphic designer?
So now that we have you manically googling “graphic designers near me, let’s first consider what is an in-house graphic designer. This is a person who’s an integral part of your team. They usually work in the same office space as the rest of the team, and collaborate closely with them.
The list of in-house designer responsibilities can be as vast or as limited as you like. However, remember that smart delegating is vital when you have one or two people creating all your professional graphics.
But, before we dive into in-house graphic design pros and cons, let’s see where you can find a designer to join your team.
Whatever your domain ranking or reach, it’s always good to publish job postings on your own website. Candidates that learn about the position through this channel are probably genuinely interested in your business/industry.
Moreover, it helps to create a sense of transparency. Here are some ideas on what you should include in your in-house graphic designer job posting:
- Experience: A degree in graphic design is definitely not the only prerequisite for a successful designer career. However, if a theoretical knowledge of design is as important to you as specific skills, you should specify the desired education level (BA, MA, etc.). If you wish to hire an in-house graphic designer with more practical experience, you can specify the minimum number of years of experience that you’re looking for.
- Necessary skills: Graphic design isn’t a skill. Instead, specify which areas of design are vital (marketing design, website design, illustration, motion graphics, etc.). You should also specify skills in specific design software. Otherwise, you might have to purchase a different software that a designer has used before.
- Bonus skills: This might include experience in your particular industry or a type of project. Additional skills such as video editing, social media, or photography may come in handy to a graphic artist.
- Salary: Many employers are hesitant to specify a salary range so that they can leave room for negotiation. However, remember that hiring in-house usually means you must comply with minimum wage requirements and some general salary expectations for your location and industry.
- About the company: Don’t underestimate this section! Presumably, you want to hire an in-house designer so that they can develop a deep understanding of your brand.
Hiring on social media has similar benefits to hiring over your website. However, it usually allows you to reach more people.
On the other hand, detailed targeting that you can use with Facebook Ads Manager also helps to make your search more focused. As a result, you get responses from graphic designers for hire that meet specific criteria.
It’s a good idea to write a detailed in-house graphic designer job description in the post itself, to make the application process easier for potential candidates (they might respond to you directly on social media).
Nobody likes the thought of being swamped with portfolios and CVs. But to find the best candidate, you have to cast a wide net.
We're already mentioned that salary expectations are greatly dependent on the location your designer is in.
So, if you're wondering, "where can I hire a graphic designer remotely" the answer is job platforms. You've probably heard of giant sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor. But you should also look into more regional websites such as Eurojobs (to hire graphic designers from Europe), Job Rack (Eastern Europe), or Naukri (India).
Of course, hiring remotely doesn't come without its challenges. For example, they might work in a different time zone, or you have to consider the legal provisions of hiring graphic designers working in a different country.
It's probably the most unconventional way to make hires, but it can be rewarding in the long run. Attending specialized conferences, meetups, or speaking events can help you connect with fantastic designers, often those with a knack for innovation.
You can always look out for interesting TED Talks (the D stands for design) or something events that are pertinent to your industry.
Why hire graphic designers in-house
We’ve promised you a list of in-house graphic design pros and cons, so let’s start with the good stuff. How do in-house graphic design teams work, and what do you get by forming one?
The most important reason for hiring a designer in-house is that you can depend on them. Of course, as we’ve already mentioned it’s vital to define their graphic design duties. For example, if you hire a marketing designer don’t expect they’ll be experts at creating websites or skilled illustrators.
As with every other team, working in-house helps to build a sense of camaraderie and trust. This isn’t to say that you can’t develop long term relationships with outsourced designers. However, the process is much faster when you have someone working in-house.
Understanding of your brand
An in-depth knowledge of a brand’s core values and principles can be a huge asset in graphic design. If you’re wondering “how does an in-house graphic design team work”, the first step in the process is getting to know the brand. It’s a good idea for them to understand the relevant trends, competitors, and industry standards. This can help with creating unique designs that also speak to your target audience.
Reasons not to hire an in-house graphic designer
Now that you know how important design is, it makes sense that you want to have someone on your team taking care of this vital business operation.
Yes, in-house graphic design provides a sense of reliability, as designers work closely with your brand and get to know it better than an outsider would.
But does it mean they don't bring several disadvantages? Definitely not. Here are the main reasons you shouldn't consider in-house graphic design.
The number one reason businesses outsource is to cut costs. This is definitely true of design as well.
While the average monthly salary of a US designer is around $6,000, the average hourly rate for freelance designers on Upwork is $25. So you can basically get a freelance designer working for you full-time for around $4,000. Ok, it isn't that much of a saving. Then again, people usually don't employ freelancers on a full-time basis anyway.
With in-house graphic design, you have less access to specialized skills compared to hiring multiple freelancers.
Is there an even more affordable solution? Yes! You can get all the graphics you need for as little as $499 per month with unlimited design services! This solution also eliminates the need to hire graphic designers additionally, as you get access to a whole team of designers with different skills. We'll talk more about this solution in the final chapter.
2. Limited skills
Remember how vast the application of graphic design is? That means there are also numerous areas in which graphic designers specialize.
As a business owner, ideally, you want someone who can do it all. But I will tell you right off the bat that this is virtually impossible.
When looking for graphic designers for hire for your business, you should consider candidates with a vast range of skills, so that you don’t have to hire additional designers. Does that mean you usually won't get to hire top talents in a very narrow design area? Probably. So, one way or another, you’ll have to make a compromise between quality and price.
3. The output is smaller
As we mentioned already, hiring is often a lot more expensive than some other graphic design service providers. But it's not just about the money. It's also important to consider what you're getting.
At first glance, in-house designers seem like an inexhaustible source of graphics. But is this really the case?
All in-house employees are entitled to holidays as well as sick leave. What happens when you urgently need some last-minute graphics? You might need to spend more time and money looking for a freelancer to step in. Or, even worse, you might have to patch up a last-minute DIY design.
The point of hiring in-house is to build a company culture. As numerous studies have shown, a healthy and happy work environment leads to better productivity, so this is something you should put some thought into.
However, that also means your in-house designer might spend a lot of time on meetings, team-building activities, and professional development, such as courses and training.
4. Change is more difficult
I know what you’re thinking. If I manage to hire a graphic designer I like, why should I think about changing?
Well, it's not about changing designers - it's about switching up your graphic design. Graphic design trends come and go, and even if you're not the trendiest business out there, you still don't want to be dated. With an in-house designer, and especially one whose work you like, you'll be inclined to maintain the status quo.
This doesn't mean inevitable doom. But, if you want to expand, test new products, or run a groundbreaking campaign, the old and trusted approach can become a hurdle. Don't underestimate the power of a fresh perspective!
So, how to hire a graphic designer if you don’t want an in-house employee? We’ve already suggested you might consider finding a freelancer through a graphic design website like Behance or Dribbble or a reputable freelancing platform.
However, freelancers can become expensive in the long-run. Costs pile up quickly on a per-project or hourly basis, and revisions are often charged extra. Moreover, you need to spend a lot of time finding quality graphic designers for hire. So in that respect, freelancers usually require some sort of tradeoff regarding quality, price, and speed.
An alternative that gives you the best of both worlds are subscription-based design services. You get the affordability of freelancers (we've already said that the monthly rates are a fraction of a designer's salary). On top of that, you benefit from a reliable service that works for you year-round. No holidays or sick leave to worry about; there's always a designer standing by!
Want to know more about it? Check out this article on all the ins and outs of this type of service, as well as its key benefits!
Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.