When searching for someone to take on your design project, you will no doubt have a selection of freelancers, creative design agencies, and professional graphic designers at your fingertips to contact. There is a general assumption that freelancers and graphic designers are similar in what they do, and many businesses will select the freelancer based on the lower rate many of them provide. However, there are key differences to consider, especially when it comes to the quality of the finished product.
To help with your hiring decisions, here are some things that separate graphic designers from freelancers:
Hiring a Freelancer
There are millions of freelancers available at any time, many of them charging very low rates. However, many of those same freelancers are self-taught and might not have access to the best software. Some of them have hundreds of skills, while others may specialize in just a few areas. Few will have all the technical skills required to do a complete project, such as a major branding overhaul that requires redesigns of logos and other branding material.
That is not to say that freelancers are not beneficial. You can find many with excellent portfolios. If you have a small task that needs completing, such as a logo design or business card template or something similar, freelancers can save you time and money.
Hiring a Graphic Designer
Similar to a freelancer, graphic designers come in a number of flavors or specializations. Some are better with digital design while others excel in print. However, the key difference between a learned graphic designer and a freelancer is that the graphic designer should have had some kind of formal education and will have a more well-rounded understanding of standard design software and design methodology.
Graphic designers will have a bigger portfolio, will communicate more efficiently than a freelancer, and will be able to provide insight and solve problems.
You can find graphic designers as part of an in-house team, in creative agencies, or even freelance graphic designers. Agencies or design firms often employ those with talent and experience, so if you are looking for total quality work and are not worried about the price, design companies are a wise decision. If you want more flexibility, an independent graphic designer can be of service.
Here is something that surprises many people: freelancers can cost more. Oftentimes, you will find that you need various freelancers for different sections of a project, because one person might not be well-versed in one type of software or another could have technical difficulties. This makes the project much more complicated than it needs to be and will consume a lot of time. At the end of the day, hiring multiple freelancers to work on layers of a single project will cost you more than paying a single professional graphic designer to do everything.
While there is nothing wrong entrusting a smaller, less complicated project to a freelancer, you should always go with a pro or a design agency for bigger projects and smoother process.
The main difference between a freelancer and a graphic designer is subtle, because freelancers can be graphic designers. You have to look at their credentials, their experience, and their portfolios side-by-side to determine which one is more skilled or a better fit for your project. Freelancers may end up costing more than hiring a graphic designer from an agency; but in the end, the decision is based on your deadlines, budget, and project specifications.