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October 29, 2014

Advantages to Keeping All Design Work with a Single Firm

Advantages to Keeping All Design Work with a Single Firm

We understand. With an abundance young and attractive graphic/Web designers — all salivating over the opportunity to secure a new client — you might reasonably experience a wandering eye; the desire to recapture your youth with a brief but exciting new relationship; a need to experience the unbridled joy of paying approximately one-third of the price for what is promised to be design studio-quality work.

Don’t let the allure of the specialized freelancer turn your head, mister. Your design firm has been with you through thick and thin, when you were a total nobody, desperate to scrape together a few scattered sales on Etsy.com. Now that you’re some kind of big shot with your own thriving web presence and robust growth, you think you can just run off with some twit who makes you feel important? Who do you think you are?

Sorry, we get emotional on this subject, and it’s only natural. We realize that there are hungry freelance designers out there, a lot of them have pretty good portfolios, and all of them have 101 reasons why you should jettison the design firm and go rogue with a graphic art maverick. We’re here to save you from what could be a terrible, costly mistake. Here are a few reasons to keep your design firm. And make your design firm happy. And buy your design firm a bouquet of flowers once and awhile.

1. Sophisticated Market Research Capabilities

Since when can a single freelancer initiate quantitative and qualitative research? Will he or she moderate design focus groups? Will the freelance designer conduct one-on-one interviews, perform demographic isolation, research consumer buying habits and analyze the retailers that will carry your products? Don’t make us laugh!

Sketching design options is a surprisingly small part of what successful design firms do. The goal is to sell your products, after all, and you can’t sell products without really knowing how and what your consumers buy. Freelancers will give it their best guess, but guessing isn’t anywhere near good enough.

2. The Firm Knows You and Your Brand

If you’ve already been working with a firm on your web site design, your logo design and, possibly, your packaging and label designs. After developing solid strategies and analyzing the nuances of your brand identity, your design firm knows precisely the image you want your organization to project. In short — they know you, and they know what you want. We could make long-term relationship intimacy jokes here, but we’re way too classy for that.

3. All of the Design Elements Will Cohere

Using an entire firm for all of your design requirements will help you to create, or recreate, your brand across multiple platforms in a smooth and harmonious fashion. If you take the piecemeal approach to design, you might save some money, but you are juggling multiple designers who might consult with one another over certain elements if you insist upon it, but who aren’t obligated to listen to each other or work together in any way.

4. You’re Working with a Well-Oiled Machine

Freelancers, if their work is promising, very often cram more projects into their schedule than they can actually manage. As a result, you could be dealing with a designer who is chronically behind, inaccessible, only able to communicate with you via emails that have been sent at 3am and prone to bursting into tears when asked for updates.

Design studio workflow is implemented to balance project requirements efficiently. There are established protocols that spread the responsibility of different projects to multiple team members.

5. Long-term Support

A freelance web designer will give you a tutorial right when the project is completed, but good luck getting meaningful support down the line. Freelancers make their money turning over projects, not sticking with you and offering assistance during a crisis.

6. Greater Variety of Solutions and Strategies

Design firms, due to the combined experience of diverse team members, will be able to accommodate you in more profound ways than scattered freelancers can.

A freelancer probably won’t be able to satisfy an especially broad spectrum of design and technical issues; freelancers are one-person design organizations, and there is no way that an individual can be made responsible for your web design, logo design, marketing strategies, branding, SEO, tech support and all of the countless other attendant issues that will inevitably crop up during the design process.

We don’t want to give the impression that freelancers have no place being hired for any reason. When your business is just starting out and you have absolutely nothing, by all means, use a freelancer to design your logo. However, once you work with a design studio for comprehensive branding solutions, going back to scattered freelancers is like going from a chauffeured Town Car to public transportation. It’s grim, inconvenient and very likely won’t take you exactly where you want to go.

author

by Kevin Smith
Managing partner at SmashBrand. We're a group of experienced brand owners, thinkers and world-class designers united by an obsession for creating category disrupting brand experiences.

Purposefully selective, we work with brands that want to stand out and also stand for something.

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