Why On-demand Design Beats The Traditional Design Agency Model for Marketing and Business Teams

Simon Constantine
July 18 | 6 min read
Design On Demand, Not Agencies, Will Define Marketing’s Future

For many years, when it came to outsourced design solutions, the agency model was king.

And in some respects, it’s not hard to understand why: with corporate marketing strategies typically centered around a small number of set-piece, multi-year campaigns, a long-term partnership and delivery schedules planned weeks or months in advance made sense.

But the world has changed. The internet, social media and other technologies have propelled us into a real-time, ‘always-on’ age.

That’s as true for content and design as it is for any other part of your business.  Corporate design needs have shifted from the set-pieces of the past to rapid-fire, high-volume and fluid creative, targeted and coordinated across multiple channels. As it has done so, the traditional agency model starts to look increasingly unwieldy, inflexible and outdated.

It’s like asking Tolstoy to go from writing War & Peace to a ten-word tweet: it’s just not something he’s set up for.

Against that backdrop, savvy, efficiency-focused businesses of all sizes are increasingly turning to on-demand design solutions – in particular no-commitment, subscription-based, unlimited graphic design support – to provide the agile, real-time and hassle-free design they need. Here’s why.

Tailored to fit your business

Tailored to fit your business

Modern design requirements are organic: an ongoing series of diverse, time-limited deliverables with demand ebbing and flowing over time. For such fluid needs to be met most effectively, any design solution needs to be similarly agile.

Consider this example: If you were stuck at home but needed to deliver a birthday card to your next-door neighbor, would you ask UPS to collect and deliver it via their premium airmail service or would you ask your partner to stop by and drop it off? It’s a no-brainer, right?

Mapped across to today’s marketing arena, opting for a full-service agency for your day-to-day, essential design will often be the equivalent of opting for UPS.

Design on demand, on the other hand, is the latter route: the same end-result delivered by someone you can trust, but cheaper (since you’re not paying for all sorts of extras you don’t need), quicker and with far less hassle.

So what is design on demand? Well, in essence, whatever you need it to be: a real-time design service cut-to-size for your specific design requirements, delivery schedules and budget.

Whether you’re in need of a new logo or want to revamp your website design and copy, with design on demand you get an expert team, hand-picked at the point you need them and available 24/7, to ensure you get the right mix of design skills and real-time, rapid delivery.

  • Small project one day, complex one the next? No projects this week, but half a dozen next?
  • Want your in-house team to lead the work on a project and “top-up” with external expertise to cover off the gaps in your internal talent?
  • Have an external agency in place but want them to focus on premium, “big-ticket” aspects of your marketing rather than get bogged down in your everyday design needs?

With design on demand, it doesn’t matter. You can have it all. It’s all there, at your fingertips, without the need to invest significant upfront time or financial costs or to commit to a long-term contract.

You can scale up and down in real time to get exactly what you need at that moment, without the time and expense of going for the “all-in” option of a full design contract.

Quicker

Quick

With agility comes speed.

With design on demand, your team is picked from a pool of freelance talent to match your delivery deadlines, wherever in the world you are – so no more worrying about whether your allocated agency team will be available when you need them, whether they’re on vacation, or whether they’re allocated to other work and can’t start on your project for a week.

Design on demand means saying farewell to going through complex negotiations or waiting for an agency to clear their internal approval processes before work can start.

Here at Superside, all it takes is completing a simple form describing what you need, and within 30 minutes a project manager will deliver a quote and delivery timetable for the work – typically 24 to 48 hours (or less) – and hand-pick an expert team precision-molded to meet your creative needs.

More cost-effective

Cost effective

The truth is that for many companies, and particularly start-ups and SMBs, the agency route simply isn’t financially feasible.

The overall cost of the contract, particularly if their design needs tend to fluctuate, is likely to be way outside their budget, with the risk that design needs get neglected altogether. With design on demand, those businesses can now also get agency-quality design when they need it and at a price that makes sense.

And even for established businesses with marketing budgets big enough to support retaining a traditional design agency, design on demand providers are likely to offer keener pricing, as they don’t have the property, employment or other overheads that agencies typically will.

Agency-exclusive benefits? Not any more

Nor is it simply a case of design on demand filling the gaps that agencies can’t fill. It’s equally the case that certain qualities that were once considered the sole preserve of agencies, no longer are.

When the choice for a business was between, say, retaining an agency and finding an individual freelancer, then it might well be that only the agency route could offer a “one-stop-shop solution” or the peace of mind of knowing that all team members are experts and that outputs will be rigorously quality assured ahead of delivery.

The view has also persisted that agencies provide the clearest means of ensuring certainty over costs. Or rather, that other options based on daily or hourly rates or “parts and labor” charging structures, risked projects being deliberately dragged out or going way over their initial time and budget. Anyone who has retained a builder for a project only to see its progress slow and completion dates disappear over the horizon may be able to empathise with those fears!

But with on-demand design the choice is no longer a binary one. It is possible to have the best of both worlds.

At Superside, not only are all our specialists vetted and battle-tested, but you also get the reassurance of a dedicated account manager who understands your business, coordinates delivery and ensures you get the same high-quality end product each and every time.

And you also get a range of clear pricing options – from defined hourly budgets and add-on premium services to monthly subscriptions – each tailored to match your design needs and give you the budgeting certainty you demand and the value for money you deserve.

Corporate design needs have evolved. Isn’t it time the way you solve those needs did too?

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Written by
Simon Constantine
Simon Constantine is a British writer based in Singapore. After years as a lawyer, Simon now splits his time between writing, volunteering and dreaming of once again being able to watch his favorite English soccer team at a reasonable hour.

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