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3 Surefire Ways to Outsource Graphic Design for Your Clients

3 Ways to Outsource Graphic Design at Your Agency

Marketing
June 22, 2022
8 minutes

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Is it wrong to outsource graphic design work? Definitely not. Plenty of agencies are already using this method to cut costs and provide an even better service to their clients. We’ll explain 3 fantastic ways to outsource graphic design for a professional agency.

Outsourcing brings a lot of benefits to the table. You’ll usually pay less than hiring a full-time graphic designer. In addition, you can combine different outsourcing options to access professionals with astute skills in a specific area. And you avoid all the unnecessary hassle of managing another full-time employee.

According to Cella’s latest creative industry report, here are the top reasons why agencies outsource.

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Of course, many agencies are happy to outsource their back office design. Still, many agency owners get a little nervous when it comes to client work.

Is it wrong to outsource graphic design? What if your clients don’t like the work? Can you still be in control of the process? Let’s address those concerns.

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Is it wrong to outsource graphic design?

Yes, the benefits are there. But, of course, there’s a difference between outsourcing back office projects and client work.

Presenting someone else’s work as your own can sometimes just feel wrong. On the other hand, if clients expect you to deliver graphic design, it can also be difficult to admit that you were simply overseeing someone else.

Of course, you can always be honest and tell clients that you plan to outsource graphic design work. I guarantee that in most cases, this shouldn’t be a problem. At the end of the day, you know best what type of client you’re working with and how they might respond.

So, why is it actually acceptable to use graphic design outsourcing, even if your clients don’t know about it? Here are a few reasons.

1. It’s in the client’s best interest.

Outsourcing graphic design means that you can offer high-quality designs, more creative options, and a faster turnaround time. What’s not to like? Although they might be hesitant about the idea, in theory, your clients will love that you outsource graphic design work. Even if they don’t know about it.

2. You are still in control of the creative process.

With that in mind, you should remember that when you outsource creative design services, you don’t necessarily outsource creativity. It’s still your job to understand and study the client’s brief and pass on their hopes and expectations to the outsourced design service provider. You should have a quality control process to ensure that any designs given back to the client are in line with what has been agreed upon.

This way, you can also preempt client dissatisfaction. Of course, clients can still dislike the work, even if the brief has been followed. Extra options you get with outsourcing help define a preferred direction and avoid future dead ends.

3. Your clients’ privacy matters. But you can protect it.

This is possibly the most significant issue agency clients have with graphic design outsourcing. Suppose they’re working on launching a new product or website. In that case, you can imagine they’d be frustrated to see it on a random designer’s portfolio page before the official launch.

So, how can you ensure your client’s privacy is protected if you outsource graphic design? Many professional services (including ours at ManyPixels) are bound not to share any work without their client’s permission. In other cases, you might need to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) with a freelancer or other service. It’s a bit of an extra step, but it’s necessary if you want to outsource graphic design work meant for a third party.

3 ways to outsource graphic design

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Now that we have all the moral dilemmas out of the way, let’s learn how to outsource graphic design with three outstanding types of design service providers!

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Freelancers

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If you ever considered outsourcing, this is likely the first option that came to mind. With a vast majority of designers working freelance these days, this is the best way to find the perfect match for virtually any type of graphic design project.

Regarding price, freelancers are the most affordable outsourcing option for one-off projects. However, they can become an expensive option in the long run, as paying on a per-project basis increases costs quickly.

With vast choices comes the massive task of finding the perfect person for the job. When you first start searching through freelancing platforms, you might feel overwhelmed. Here are a few tips on hiring the right freelance designer.

1. Write a detailed job description

Those applying for any job probably won’t bother reading the fine print. Providing freelancers with as much information as possible is a way to ensure they deliver designs in line with your client’s wishes. However, it also helps distinguish the really qualified candidates who will spend a long time working on a project that allows them to play out their strengths.

2. Interview

When you outsource back design, interviews aren’t always necessary. Many freelancing platforms, including Upwork and Fiverr, have stellar communication dashboards that help keep designers and clients accountable.

However, when outsourcing client work, you shouldn’t underestimate the personal touch. You really need a freelancer who’s going to go the extra mile, as you have your reputation on the line. That means someone willing to dedicate a little extra time to understand your client’s brand, industry and market, and target audience. You can only really do this during an interview, where you can talk openly about the freelancers’ availability and commitment.

3. Give them a test task

It’s the golden rule of working with freelancers. However, when looking to outsource client work, it’s a clever idea to have back design as a trial task. This is because you’ll be able to assess the quality of the task better when it’s connected to your own brand and susceptible to any usual quality control processes.

Of course, you should always pay freelancers for any trial work. This way, they will likely put more effort and care into it and show the full scope of their creative capabilities.

Why outsource design with freelancers?

So, why should you outsource client work with freelancers? Here’s the rundown.

  • It’s affordable for one-off projects.
  • You get access to specialized skills.
  • It’s flexible

Why shouldn’t you outsource design to freelancers?

Freelancers are versatile, skilled, and flexible. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t hire freelance designers:

  • The costs rack up quickly.
  • Freelancers can be unreliable (unavailable when you need them).
  • It takes a lot of time and effort to find the right one.

Designer contest

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Everybody knows about freelancers. But another terrific way for agencies, particularly, to outsource graphic design.

Designer contests work like this. You submit a project, and the community of designers submits their project pitches. If you like an entry, you can decide to purchase it. If no design fulfills your expectations, you don’t have to pay anything.

For creative agencies, this is a terrific opportunity to get ideas. Depending on the platform, you can even pick multiple contest winners and provide your clients with different options.

Of course, it goes without saying that the designs usually aren’t polished or perfectly in line with the creative brief. Designers know that they are competing with many others to win the pitch, so they usually won’t spend too much time perfecting the design

Why should you outsource design through a contest?

Let’s recap the main benefits of this type of design outsourcing service.

  • You get a lot of ideas and can come up with multiple concepts to present to clients.
  • There’s usually no financial commitment involved.
  • Turnaround is pretty fast.

Why shouldn’t you outsource design through a contest?

You know the old saying, there’s no such thing as a free dinner. Design contests are a bit like that: low risk, low reward. Here are the main downsides of this design outsourcing model.

  • Quality is usually low.
  • It’s not viable for the long term.
  • It might turn out to be a waste of time.

Unlimited design service

The third and final way to outsource graphic design work is a subscription-based design service, often called unlimited design service.

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How does it work? Simple! You pay a fixed monthly fee and request as many projects as you want. Of course, that doesn’t mean you get an endless supply of graphics. Each service usually has an estimated daily output which allows you to calculate how many projects you can get for a month’s subscription.

We like to think that unlimited services combine the best of both worlds: hiring designers and graphic design outsourcing. You don’t have to hassle with contracts or spend time searching for a skilled designer.

Unlimited services employ a team of designers with different skills and various styles. Many creative agencies work with unlimited services because they can request different types of designs.

The only downside of unlimited design services is that you don’t really get your money’s worth for a one-off project.

However, since creative agencies usually require much more than a single project, the benefits of this type of graphic design outsourcing are evident:

  • Access a whole team of professional designers for all your projects.
  • You get a variety of styles to please any client.
  • At around $500 per month, it’s the most affordable long-term outsourcing solution.
  • It’s fast (most requests take just 1-2 business days).
  • Flexibility that fits agency work. (Pause or cancel as you go.)

Ready to outsource graphic design for your agency?

Outsourcing graphic design saves time and money. More importantly, it allows you to provide a better service to your clients and boost your agency.

Although freelancers and design contests have their perks, there’s no better way to outsource than unlimited design companies.

Learn how to get started with our unlimited graphic design service

Download the ManyPixels User Guide — you’ll find all the useful information there

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Danica Popovic

June 22, 2022

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.