DESIGN CREATIVE

Why do Brands Outsource Design Work?

Picture of Rishabh Pugalia
Rishabh Pugalia

July 10, 2024

Why do Brands Outsource Design Work

Marketers are always looking for ways to optimize their team’s output and efficiency. One strategy that can help: outsource design work to external agencies or freelancers.

Partnering with a creative agency allows you to scale quickly. It also gives you access to a diverse range of skills – from UX design to animation – without having to make a bunch of new hires.

Let’s ponder on some questions related to outsource graphic design:

  • What are the hidden costs of outsource design services beyond the financial aspect?
  • How can you protect your intellectual property when working with external designers?
  • Does outsourcing design create a disconnect between the brand’s internal culture and its external visual representation?

The idea of handing over creative control can be scary at first. But outsource design work isn’t just about filling skill gaps. It can also offer significant cost savings, greater flexibility, and faster turnaround times.

Here is an example of a SaaS case study design project of Tailwind, outsourced from Content Beta:

Let’s look deeper as to why graphic design outsourcing is a good option for brands, why they work, pros and cons, etc.

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    We have made videos for 150+ B2B & SaaS companies.

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    What Is Outsourcing Design?

    Outsourcing design is hiring outside design professionals or agencies. They handle tasks that would typically be done in-house. Graphic design outsourcing can include a wide range of design services, such as:

    • Graphic design,
    • Web design,
    • Product design,
    • User interface (UI) design,
    • User experience (UX) design, etc.

    Understanding the different types of graphic design is crucial for identifying which outsourcing design services are the best fit for your needs.

    B2B companies often have complex design requirements that require specialized expertise. B2B companies can outsource design work from experienced designers. This ensures that their projects are in good hands.

    Why Outsource Design Work?

    Let’s look into the main reasons to outsource graphic design –

    1. The Financial Upside

    Recruiting, onboarding, and retaining in-house designers can be pricey. Salaries, benefits, equipment, software licenses – it all adds up. And if your design needs fluctuate throughout the year, you may find yourself with costly excess capacity.

    Outsourcing converts these fixed costs into variable costs that you can increase or decrease as needed. You only pay for the hours or projects you need without worrying about downtime or overhead.

    The other financial perk? Design outsourcing gives you access to top-tier design talent at a fraction of what it would cost to hire them full-time.

    Here is an Infographic example that Content Beta made for Onymos:

    Content Beta infographics for Onymos

    2. Flexibility

    Outsourcing also provides greater flexibility to adapt to changing business needs. This flexibility is especially valuable for growing companies and lean internal teams.

    You may not have enough staff to handle big projects in design work, or to cover for in-house staff on vacation or sick leave. Outsource design work from graphic design companies ensures you always have design resources ready when you need them.

    Here is a banner ad design by Content Beta:

    Banner Ad Design by Content Beta

    3. Speed

    Outsourced designers also tend to work quickly. Since they’re not tied down in internal meetings and side projects, they can often turn projects around faster than in-house staff.

    Design agencies and freelancers often have well-established workflows and processes in place. This allows them to efficiently move projects through the pipeline, from concept to completion.

    This streamlined approach reduces bottlenecks and delays, resulting in faster project completion. Also, outsourcing firms set clear deadlines and they stick to them. This ensures that your projects stay on track and are delivered on time.

    Here is an example of Carousel post made by Content Beta:

    Carousel post made by Content Beta

    4. Focus on Growth

    Here’s the plain truth: You can’t do it all. As much as we’d like to think we can handle every aspect of marketing in-house, it can lead to burnout and missed deadlines. And if you’re a lean team, having employees get pulled into design tasks is a poor use of their time.

    Outsourcing design frees up your team’s time. It lets your team focus on high-priority, high-impact work. They can be proactive, not reactive. They can think strategically, and not get lost in one-off requests.

    Here is an example of a GTM Playbook(2023) cover designed by Content Beta:

    GTM Book Covers

    5. Improved Scaling

    Outsourced design services and freelancers are often behind those massive creative campaigns you see from big brands. Why? They have the skills and time to do big, high-quality productions quickly.

    They can also scale their resources quickly to meet tight deadlines and handle large-scale productions.

    Here is an example of a presentation design idea Content Beta executed for Service Now:

    Social Media and Ad Creative

    6. Gaining Fresh Perspectives

    When you live and breathe your brand every day, it’s easy to get tunnel vision. You get attached to a certain aesthetic or get caught up in your product features. It makes you lose sight of what actually connects with customers.

    That’s where outsource graphic design agency work, and designers can bring invaluable perspective.

    Freelancers and agencies work with a wide range of clients and industries. They know the latest design trends. They have experience with a variety of styles and formats, which can bring a much-needed objective eye to your brand.

    Here is an example of UI design made by Content Beta:

    We know how to sell your story using your product UI

    Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Graphic Design

    Here are some of the main pros and cons of outsourcing graphic design work:

    1. Pros

    a. Cost savings

    Outsource design work often costs less than hiring an in-house designer, especially for one-off projects. You pay only for the work you need without the overhead of a full-time salary and benefits.

    b. Access to more talent and expertise

    You can find highly skilled designers with diverse styles and expertise, even if they’re not available locally.

    For Example: Looking to create a motion graphic for your website? Bring in a freelance animator who specializes in that medium.

    c. Flexibility

    Bring in extra freelancers for big product launches, then cut back during quieter periods. Therefore you won’t be stuck paying for downtime.

    d. Fresh perspectives

    Outsource design agencies are not attached to the status quo and can suggest innovative new directions.

    They’re not emotionally attached to the way you’ve always done things. They can look at your brand with fresh eyes and spot opportunities for improvement that insiders might miss.

    e. Time savings

    By delegating design tasks to external partners, you free up internal bandwidth for higher-impact work.

    For Example: Need an illustration for a one-off project? Tap an external illustrator with the precise style you need.

    Here is an example of print material done by Content Beta:

    Print Material done by Content Beta

    2. Cons

    a. Less direct control

    When you outsource design work, you give up a degree of direct control compared to an in-house team. You’re not there to provide real-time guidance and course correction. This lack of direct oversight can result in designs that don’t quite hit the mark.

    b. Inconsistency in branding

    Using multiple graphic design outsource designers introduces the risk of a fragmented brand identity. Freelancers have their own unique styles, and it shows when you put their work side-by-side.

    Note: This is where the importance of brand guidelines comes into the picture. Before engaging external designers, ensure your guidelines cover your brand’s visual identity – logo usage, color palette, typography, imagery style, and more.

    c. Risk of losing intellectual property

    Outsourced graphic design initiatives open you up to intellectual property risks that are harder to control. Unethical contractors could resell your design assets or even share sensitive information with a competitor.

    The more people you give access to internal assets and strategic plans, the higher your risk exposure.

    Here is another print material example. Content Beta created this for Panorays –

    Print Material Example by Content Beta

    Overcoming Common Outsourcing Concerns

    For all its benefits, outsource design work does come with some challenges. Some common concerns I hear from fellow marketers:

    • “What if their work doesn’t align with our brand?”
    • “I’m worried about communication issues and delays with an external team.”
    • “How do I protect my company’s intellectual property?”

    These are valid questions. But they can be managed with the right processes and partners:

    • Provide clear creative briefs and brand guidelines. They will align external designers with your standards.
    • Implement a creative review and approval process with multiple checkpoints
    • Choose design partners with a proven quality track record and positive client references.
    • Establish communication protocols and check-ins to keep everyone on the same page.
    • Protect your IP(intellectual property) with strong contracts, NDAs, and IT security measures.
    • Start with a small test project to build trust and rapport before going into mission-critical work.

    The idea is to view outsourcing as an extension of your internal abilities. It is not a replacement for them. When you find the right external partners and set the right guardrails, outsourcing can be smooth.

    Here is an example of a banner ad design by Content Beta:

    Website and Landing Page Design

    Is it Time to Outsource?

    Ultimately, the decision to outsource design work depends on your unique business needs and challenges. But if any of these sound familiar, it might be time to explore external creative resources:

    • Your team is overwhelmed by design requests and struggling to keep up
    • You lack certain design capabilities in-house
    • Design work is distracting your team from more strategic priorities
    • You need to scale your design output quickly and cost-effectively

    To outsource graphic design may not be the right solution for every project. But using your external talent strategically, you can keep your brand creative fresh, flexible, and efficient.

    Here is an example display ad design by Content Beta:

    Display Ad Design by Content Beta

    Choose Content Beta for Graphic Design Work

    If you choose to outsource design work, choose Content Beta – our Creative as a Service (CaaS) plans are designed to fully support all your creative needs.

    How are we unique?

    • Transparency & Zero Wastage: At Content Beta, we provide transparent pricing plans with no hidden fees. Any remaining credits in your plan or subscription will be carried over to the next billing cycle.
    • Easy Collaboration: Our cloud-based platform enhances seamless collaboration between your team and ours.
    • Quick Response: We ensure a speedy delivery without any compromise on quality. Apart from these, Content Beta offers rapid, same-day responses for quick edits and revisions.

    Ready to streamline your graphic design outsource process?

    Book a demo call to get a quote!

    Conclusion

    Outsourcing is not about replacing your internal designers or simply offloading work. It’s about giving them the breathing room to excel at what they do best. They can focus on projects that give high value while your external partners carry out the creative work.

    The brands that benefit from outsourcing treat external creatives as part of the team. Outsourced design services make sure that they share clear briefs and maintain regular communication, which gives them a real stake in the outcomes.

    So, don’t think of outsource design work as a compromise or a last resort. In a way, it allows you to expand your creative capabilities without expanding your headcount.

    Outsourcing isn’t about giving up control – it’s about empowering your team to do their best work. And that’s a win-win for everyone involved.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Clear and frequent communication works best in design outsourcing. Begin with a detailed brief, schedule regular check-ins via meetings or calls, and utilize project management tools. Set clear expectations regarding deadlines, deliverables, and feedback channels for seamless collaboration.

    Content Beta meets all of the above criteria. It has extra benefits as we work in your Slack and have a dedicated project manager.

    The average cost involved in outsourcing the design work of a quality team is around $2,000 to $10,000. The price varies based on project scope, designer experience, location, and pricing model (hourly, per project, or retainer).

    You can ensure a successful outsourcing relationship by:

    • Prioritizing open communication,
    • Providing a comprehensive brief,
    • Giving timely feedback,
    • Developing trust and respect,
    • Having a clear contract outlining project details,
    • Payment terms and intellectual property ownership.

    The best practices for outsourcing design work include:

    • Thoroughly research and crosscheck potential designers,
    • Define your project needs clearly,
    • Establish a communication plan,
    • Create a feedback loop and agree on a payment schedule,
    • Ensure legal protection with a contract,

    Lastly, aim to build long-term relationships with designers whose work you value.

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