Skip to content
graphic design marketing uk

A Design Agency vs a Freelance Designer

There’s a popular saying that people don’t buy on price. That makes sense. After all, if everyone bought the cheapest cars, we’d all be rolling around in 10-year-old second or third hand vehicles. We don’t know about you, but we’ve seen a lot of new cars on the road recently, and brands such as Apple, Nike, and Ocado certainly show that some people are prepared to pay more than the average amount for tech, sportswear, and food deliveries. It seems that when they have a strong bond with the brand and see value in the products, people will and do pay more.

In the world of brand and design, you have both camps too. Those who are invested in their brand and want the best people to work on it for them, and a strong corner of consumers who cut costs and hire a freelancer over an agency.

Now, firstly, we’re not bashing freelancers here. We all started somewhere and many of us have been freelancers. We think they’re brilliant and that’s not what we’re discussing here. What we’re keen to look after are the benefits of choosing a branding agency over a freelancer for your business design work.

So, with love, let’s dive in…


Better focus makes better results.

Let’s start with the big one. A freelancer is more than a freelancer. They’re a business owner. They have way more on their plate than design!

They have bills to pay, they have emails and calls to answer, they have accounts to do, insurance to manage, and tech to set up, amongst all the other things an SME or solopreneur has to do.

When you use an in-agency designer, this isn’t the case. They work on design for the majority of their working hours. It’s what they do all the time. They get to really work on their craft and we feel that creates a better quality of designer for you.


Designers that work in agencies can offer a wider variety of skills

Our designers work on a large variety of projects and gain a wider variety of skills because of it. A larger agency will attract bigger companies with larger budgets, and they tend to have bigger scale projects with more scope for exciting work.

A freelancer is often left with the little jobs, and these can often be very much the same day-to-day. We all start somewhere, but if you’re looking for depth of knowledge and experience a branding agency might be best – unless of course your freelancer has a wealth of agency experience under their belt.


Having a team of designers in an agency improves creative output

Two or three heads are better than one. Bouncing ideas off one another is common here at Be Smart, and agencies like us. Having a team of designers also increases productivity as the working environment of many people working towards one cause drives the projects forward.

Often, when you’re working on your own, motivation like this can be sparse.


A team can turn work around faster

Branding agencies have more people, and many hands make light work. You’ll often find that behind your contact there’s a whole team working on your design, some client facing and comms, and then some doing the actual design work. This leads to a faster process and more people working on your brand, design, or creative.


Processes are more defined

Another big difference is the process within a branding agency compared to a freelancer’s set-up. A brand agency will have to put in place processes to ensure all the team work well together – especially in this remote working world.

These extra processes mean that you’re more likely to hit a promised deadline, get time booked in to do the work, have timely paperwork, proper contact and meetings booked in, and an onboarding process to help you understand what’s expected from both sides. This means that the client will always get what they’re promised, and the quality is consistent.


There’s always someone there in an agency

Holiday cover and availability for meetings is a big win for agencies over freelancers, too. When a freelancer is sick or on holiday, your project stops. We’ve heard of lots of instances of Covid illnesses meaning deadlines are missed. When you hire a team, you have more hands to the pump to get the project over the line in time.

We know… “freelancers never take holiday!” we hear you say, but that’s even worse. A tired designer is rarely going to put out fresh and successful design. Sorry, but it’s true. We all need a bit of R&R!


Design agencies have a wider range of experience

Agencies work with a wider range of industries, bringing more experience. Freelancers tend to work with a few sectors, and this can be limiting. With an agency you’ll benefit from the experience of all the team and all the clients they’ve serviced. This history and depth of knowledge really does go into your design, and you really can’t compete with that unless your freelancer is from a strong agency background.


You’re in better hands with an agency (most of the time)

Our aim here is not to bash freelancers. At times, a freelancer might be a good stop gap or ideal for smaller jobs.

That said, the benefit of an agency is you get better focus as you’re not trying to balance many projects, design work, and operational stuff in one head. A freelancer will have many responsibilities and other commitments, and this can cause them to be less creative and not deliver on time, on spec, or within budget.


We’ve love to know what you think.


Let us know on social media or drop us a message on the website.


Looking for a design agency to create your next design? We’d love to say hello – contact us right here.


Recent Posts



Chat with one of our Branding  & Digital Experts on WhatsApp

× Message us on WhatsApp