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Don’t Hire Graphic Designers In-House - Here’s Why

Why You Shouldn’t Hire Graphic Designers In-House

Graphic design
May 18, 2022
8 minutes

0%

There’s no way your business can survive without professional graphic design. But that doesn’t mean you must hire graphic designers in-house. In fact, this can often turn into a poor choice, and we’re here to explain why.

Why do you need graphic design again? Everything needs to be professionally designed, from the design of your logo and website to every single piece of marketing material.

We’ll discuss how to hire a graphic designer for your business and why. We’ll then move on to explain why hiring in-house isn’t always the best idea.

Why every business needs a graphic designer

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.

Find out how to build a strong and unique brand

Download our guide to learn all about branding and visual identity

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 resort to more traditional channels, design helps you spread your message to the right audience in the right way.

A professional designer can ensure that your marketing efforts are suited to their intended purpose, have the correct format, and convey your marketing messages 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.

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.

On the other hand, if you consider packaging design as a component of the product, then the role of design also becomes evident. 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 look at a few good options on how to hire a graphic designer to join your team.

Your website

Whatever your domain ranking or reach, it’s always good to publish job postings on your own website. Candidates that find out 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 job posting:

  • 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.

Social media

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.

Job platforms

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 (communication and legal are the most important). Still, it can be a way to save up on a full-time hire.

Design meetups

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.

Reasons not to hire a graphic designer in house

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 designers provide a sense of reliability, and they have the opportunity to get to know your brand better** than an outsider ever could.

But does it mean they don’t bring several disadvantages? Definitely not. Here are the main reasons you shouldn’t consider hiring a graphic designer in-house.

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1. It’s expensive

The number one reason why businesses outsource is to cut down on costs. This is definitely true of design as well.

While the average monthly salary of a US designer is $5,000, 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.

Is there an even more affordable solution? Yes! You can get all the graphics you need for as little as $549 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!

Alternatives to hiring graphic designers in-house

Find out how and where to outsource your graphic design needs

Download our guide to find a solution that suits your business

So, how to hire a graphic designer if you don’t want an in-house employee? We’ve already pointed out that 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!

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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!

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Danica Popovic

May 18, 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.