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In-house designer vs. design subscription: which is better?

In house designer vs a design team tug of war
In house designer vs a design team: who will win?

As a content writer for Deer Designer, I have my own deer (graphic) designer who creates illustrations for the articles and social media posts I write. And what do you know? I need more designers.

A few months after ChatGPT was created, she couldn’t keep up with all the requests for designs. I realized that when tools made it easier to make content, clients expected more from the one designer who worked in-house.

Speed is how the content game is played right now, and as a business owner, if you don’t produce consistent posts, your services will get lost in the mountains of content your competitors are making every day.

The question is, which digital design partner is best for a small or medium-sized business like yours? Let’s find out.

The decision of whether to hire designers in-house or use design subscription services is an important one for business owners. 

This choice can affect how good the company’s designs are, how well it can compete, and how much money it makes.

Pros of having in-house designers

If a company has its own designers, they can collaborate closely with other teams like marketing, sales, and product development. This means you can count on their work being well-coordinated since they work so closely together.

Most of the time, direct-hire designers know more about the company’s brand because they are trained in-house for months. 

Even though it takes a long time to train them, this is done to make sure that all of their designs match the style and message of the company.

Drawbacks of having in-house designers

In-house designers may have limited expertise in certain design styles or deliverables. You can’t expect a designer to know everything, right? Focused on churning designs, they have no time to adapt to new design trends.

It can be expensive to hire and keep in-house designers, especially if they need ongoing training, pay, and benefits. 

If they work in an office, you also have to provide their equipment. Especially for small or medium-sized businesses, these added costs can put a dent in the budget.

In-house designers may be too busy to work on additional projects when needed, such as when there are high workloads or tight deadlines. This can result in delays and missed opportunities.

It’s worth mentioning that in-house designers can sometimes get stuck in a rut. 

Since they’re working for one company and most times by themselves, they might not have the same exposure to different design styles and trends that a collaborative team of designers might have.

They may also experience burnout if they are overworked or lack variety in their projects. This can result in a decline in the quality of their work and decreased productivity, or worse: they might leave you.

Relying solely on in-house designers can sometimes make it harder for a company to handle big changes or unexpected projects. 

If the design team is mostly made up of new hires or if their leader is still getting the hang of things, it can be tough to take on bigger challenges.

And what happens when you throw five new clients at them right off the bat? That’s a recipe for disaster, my friend. It’s enough to give anyone the heebie-jeebies.

Why design subscription services are good

One of the best things about on-demand design services is that you get access to a whole bunch of designers. 

This means you have a wide range of styles and perspectives to choose from. You can pick a designer whose style matches your needs, or you can try something new and different.

Another benefit is the ability to scale up and down as needed. This can be helpful for businesses whose design needs change over time because they can easily upgrade or downgrade, without the additional headcount costs to the business.

Unlimited design services are great because they’re flexible. They can handle any project, no matter how big or complex. Need a simple logo design? No problem! Need a 50-page brochure? They’ve got you covered.

Designer-on-tap services can also be really cost-effective. Due to the subscription model, you can get as much design work as you need without breaking the bank. 

It’s usually cheaper than hiring designers on staff because the business only pays for the designs it needs.

Design trends are always changing, but unlimited design services are always up to date! They use the latest design tools and technology to make sure your designs look great and are on-trend.

Finally, design subscription services are scalable, which means they can quickly adjust to changing needs or priorities. 

Need more designs one month than the next? No problem! They can adjust their workload to make sure you get what you need when you need it.

Cons of design subscription services

If you check most design services out there, an account manager delegates the tickets to a random designer to do your requests. 

This is not the case for Deer Designer. We know that the quality dwindles when it’s passed through different hands.

That’s why we pair our clients with their personal design teams. And clients get their own dedicated designer. This way, their design team gets to learn their preferences, avoiding revisions and long turnaround times.

Outsourced designers might not know the company’s brand and goals deeply, but since design is always changing, what matters is having a current branding guide and being able to come up with new designs that fit the brand.

Some subscription services may also limit the number of revisions or customizations you can make to your design. But with Deer Designer, we’ll make as many changes to your designs as needed until you’re 100% happy with them.

This may not be a problem in and of itself, but you have to be clear about what you want so there are fewer changes and the work is done faster.

Which is a better choice?

When it comes to the question of whether in-house designers or design subscription services are better, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. In the end, the choice depends on what each business needs and what its circumstances are.

Some businesses may find that the benefits of having their own designers outweigh the costs, while others may find that subscription services give them the flexibility and cost-effectiveness they need.

Before making a choice, it’s important for businesses to think about their options and weigh the pros and cons. They may even decide to use both in-house designers and design subscription services to meet their design needs.

The good thing about Deer Designer is that you can always try it out, and if it doesn’t work for you, you can still get a refund. No brainer, right?