Freelancers, agencies and Creative-as-a-Service (CaaS) are the three main types of design services. While there are a number of variables that affect a marketing or creative team’s choice, learning the pros and cons can make the process a lot more straightforward. Get familiar with your options and find the best design service for your needs.
How many times has this happened to you? Your team has been working round the clock to plan a game-changing campaign for your business.
You’ve done the market research. You know your customers better than they know themselves. You know your brand inside and out.
Your campaign has been viewed, vetted and approved. You’ve done the impossible. You’ve made “fetch” happen.
But, now it’s time to bring that campaign to life. You need landing pages, email templates, social graphics, digital ads and all the other assorted creative assets to deliver on your campaign goals. The problem is, your designers are already overloaded.
Who do you turn to in this time of need? The good news is—there are a lot of different types of design services. The bad news is—you have A LOT of options.
Don’t panic. We’re going to break it down for you—focusing on freelancers, agencies and Creative-as-a-Service (CaaS)—including what they offer and their unique pros and cons.
Freelancers are usually specialists in their fields who you can bring on to help with everything from design to video production to motion graphics. Working with freelancers can be great, especially when you find those who can quickly understand your brand and achieve the standards you set.
If you don’t have a great network of freelancers, these sites can be an awesome way to browse portfolios and read reviews from other companies.
The biggest challenge with these sites is that it’s often a race to the bottom when it comes to price vs. quality. Sometimes, it’s better (and more effective) to ask people in your network who they’d recommend for the job.
Fun fact: According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “freelance” first showed up in the early 1800s as a way to describe a mercenary who would fight for whoever paid them. In other words, freelancers were literally “swords for hire.” 🤺
The agency model laid the groundwork for the caliber of design we see throughout the industry and many in-house creative team members have agency backgrounds.
Design isn’t frozen in time. It evolves and adapts as new channels (hello, metaverse!) and market demands emerge. While agencies have struggled to adapt to the demands of digital marketing, CaaS companies, like Superside, have answered the call—bringing you the best of both agencies and freelancers in a unique, subscription-based model.
While some online agencies and CaaS providers advertise unlimited graphic design, be sure to read the fine print and check those disclaimers. Find out how many projects you can submit in a set amount of time, what kind of support you’ll get, how many revisions you’ll get and what happens with overages or unused hours.
Three choices might not seem like a lot, but as you read above, there are many factors to consider. Here’s our four-step quality checklist when you’re considering the options:
Now, more than ever, you have to squeeze the most out of every dollar you spend. When you consider different types of design services, think about how pricing models in addition to speed, scale, reliability and flexibility will help you get the greatest value.
There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right design company or agency. There’s also no one-size-fits-all solution. Part of being creative is thinking on your feet and making the right choice at the right time.
Alex is a freelance writer and newsletter aficionado based in Waterloo, Ontario. When he’s not writing for clients, he’s putting together TL;WR, a weekly culture and events newsletter his mom says is excellent. Alex has worked with some of Canada’s largest tech companies in PR, marketing and communication roles. Connect with him on LinkedIn to chat or get ideas on what to do this weekend in Waterloo.
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