8 awesome reasons to use an independent creative brand designer
You have approached a few brand agencies and the prices quoted are crazy! But you recognise that you really need that level of high-quality strategic brand design to grow your business.
So what are your options?
Business owners see working with an independent or ‘freelance’ designer as a potential risk. For sure, definitely there CAN be risk. An inexperienced art college graduate with no design chops or using outsourcing online platforms are very inexpensive – but promise much and deliver disappointment.
There are many seasoned designers out there that deliver great work with no quality risk at all – you just need that extra effort bit of digging around on the interwebs.
I think there are a whole bunch of benefits – quite apart from the indisputable fact that we are MUCH less expensive than the bigger brand agencies.
So here are eight good reasons why it might be a good choice to use a smaller-scale creative partner for your next branding design project.
1. Overhead fees. The cost of great brand design does not need to be huge
Freelance brand designers or small design outfits have a hot-desk or a small shared office or works from home. This means we do not have the massive overheads of an established branding agency – such as office space rent, a multitude of staff, and the CEO’s Ferrari.
If you’re hiring a brand agency, their rates will be factoring in the cost to them of employing staff who do other things that are not at all relevant to your particular project – so a chunk of the fee you pay is paying their wages. There is a huge cost saving that you can easily make when choosing a smaller scale corporate branding expert for freelance brand design.
2. Attention to detail
It’s very easy for your business branding project to become one of very many when you’re working with a bigger brand agency.
Freelance brand designers/small design outfits tend to work from project to project or have only a few brand projects active at any one time. This means we have a greater level of focus on your exact requirements. Also keep in mind that larger agencies might frequently get a more junior designer, less talented staff to roll out subsequent design after the initial pitch/agreement. For example; I carry out ALL creative and do not outsource design at all, so the attention to excellence is constant throughout our relationship.
3. No confusion. A direct channel of project communication
If you’ve ever previously worked with an agency – say on a website, you’ll find that you’ll have to go through an account manager, who then passes on your queries, requirements and amends to the art director, who then briefs the designer who then briefs the web developer – who then implements them and then it is the same chain of communication in reverse. So what can take a day for an agency, can take literally minutes with a freelance brand/web designer – the time is billable money.
Freelance brand designers are experts in handling both the client liaison aspect of the project as well the actual implementation of all the requests – you’re actually passing your requests directly to the person who will be doing all the work – so there is no confusion as to what has to be actioned and it gets done immediately.
4. The need for speed
Dealing directly with the freelancer who is working on your project often shortens the time to completion of your project. There is no chain involved in getting your project requirements implemented and any changes can be done straight away rather than falling into the inbox of a designer in an agency who may have 20 other jobs their boss has asked them to complete by the end of the day.
5. Your brand design project is more important to us
A bold statement perhaps, but freelancers tend to work from project to project, so your brochure, website or brand identity will the most important project we’re working on. Agencies operate with many more clients and prioritise the work schedule based on the size of the approved budget from the client. If your project is competing for a much more valuable job then there’s a distinct possibility your own project may be bumped down the list in favour of the bigger client’s deadline.
6. We’ll always go that extra mile
Freelance brand designers are much more flexible and we are hugely passionate about what we do. You’ve got a much better chance of pushing your project through quickly with a freelancer. We’re interested and find value in building long-term relationships so that hopefully we can become your permanent Satellite Design & Marketing Department. So if you’re very nice to us, we may just opt to work on your project outside of traditional office hours if there is an emergency deadline.
7. We have great networks
As a business owner, you may now be almost convinced about trying the freelance route when it comes to branding/rebranding but are perhaps thinking that if you engage an expensive agency, you’re not only hiring someone who is specialised purely in brand, web, and graphic design – but who also offers a cohesive turnkey solution which also provides PR, social media marketing, video, copywriting, search engine optimisation.
Of course, this is correct; by hiring an expensive agency, you’ll get extended services – but the cost of the project will certainly reflect this. As freelancers, we have great networks of contacts that can carry out all these functions, and guess what? at a far lower cost. We refer each other and work together on client projects based purely on specific requirements, rather than keeping multiple staff on a salary.
8. So who is actually doing the work?
This might come as a surprise, but that project you’ve just paid an agency AED6,000 a day to complete – well, a freelancer actually did it for you – but for much less money!
Brand agencies often call in freelance brand designers to work on design projects that they don’t want to turn down, but don’t have the in-house resources to complete at the time. When I first started my career in London, I signed to a “temping” agency and worked on a bunch of cool blue-chip projects with a wide range of brand companies. These agencies collected a huge client pay-cheque at project finalisation and paid me less than a quarter of this. Why not just remove this excess cost from the get-go?
To sum it all up
Many business owners I meet in Dubai and globally, struggle to find the huge budgets charged by the bigger brand agencies for that high level of quality they are seeking. Yes, the big boys absolutely deliver excellent results, but there is an alternative solution within your budget if you shop around and look hard enough.
Although we don’t have the big bucks for marketing our services and are harder to find; businesses are discovering that excellent, strategic, and affordable branding is available from us freelance brand designers. We have the expertise, experience, and creativity to visually transform your business – at a fraction of agency prices, but with that same high quality, you need.