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Two weeks back, on 12th January I posted a blog entry, titled Who will design your Logo – Design Agency or a Freelancer where I asked all my readers/visitors  to guide one of my friends, who can come up with better results for her logo – A design agency or a freelancer. (You will get a better hold of the topic if you the prelude of this post before you join in here)

I must say…the response was overwhelming but confusing as well :( the comment section was filled with loads of wise comments but I failed to come up with a final word. As the discussion seemed endless to me, with the visitors constantly commenting to prove their choice correct, I decided to come up with another post. Here, I share the comments which made design agencies sound a better option to me.(this was the hardest part, for sure).

The debate started when an Indian guy, named Shrish Agrawal (as the name suggests) wrote:

“Its always better to hire professionals to design your logo because most freelancers do not give the much needed devotion to bring quality perfection”


A rather critical statement to pass but instantly it was supported by another lady named Sara Sentor, saying:


“This post reminded me of my worst experience with freelancers. I think it’s just sheer luck that you get good freelancers who work like professionals. Mostly freelancers are after big bucks; they take all the projects coming in their way, give u wrong deadlines for project submissions & top of it all… never admit their mistakes.”


Famous blogger/designer David Airey also got into the conversation in a rather diplomatic way denying the above given remarks, as he said:


“Stating that freelancers aren’t professional is quite far off the mark.”  But this does not mean that he favored all the freelancers, as further he said, “Not all freelancers offer unlimited revisions, it really just depends on who the freelancer is and what their offering is. “


So, I must say it was a good way to keep both the options open.
Well, these first few comments made me also change my way of considering Design agencies….even I started thinking that getting your logo designed from a Design Agency can offer better options, like wise:

  • In a design agency a team of creative people is working on every project, so you get ample variety in thought and style to choose from.
  • A freelancer might be only good at designing a logo but only designing won’t do. A logo requires promotion as a brand image. Professional design agencies have a professional hired staff comprising of web programmer, interface designer, copywriter, SEO expert and social marketer, which make the business promotion of a client convenient.
  • Design agencies cater the big companies well who want their logo to be appropriate, aesthetic and reliable. The design agency meets with the company and discusses the company’s philosophy, services and culture. The client picks one that he likes or may ask for another round of discussion, if the designs are not up to his expectations. I think the freelancers cannot give so much of time as he is the only person handling other projects as well.
  • As I mentioned in the earlier post that if a designer is sick or have any personal issue, companies immediately ask another designer to step in and get the work done. But if your work is being looked after a freelancer, chances of delay increase if the designer gets sick or have some other personal issues.

I think these points are really valid to favor the design agencies but as I scroll down the comment section, I find another interesting argument going between John Milton and Gary Gary, both running authentic design sites on net.


Mr John Milton states:
“Its always best to hire a professional design agency rather than a freelancer, as a freelancer web designer would be working on many other projects because of which he would not be focusing on all projects which are handled by him”


Gary Gary confidently replied:

“I’m not sure of any employee at an agency that is only working on one project or letting many people work on one project alone. Not forgetting that many employees of big agencies also freelance on the side (if they work for a place that allows it)”


John Milton well defended his point saying:

“As when they are working in an agency they will be working as a team, because many people will be involved in one project, where as a freelancer would be working alone and other thing is that he too might be working on more than one project because of which it might hamper the quality of the design.”


So friends, with these comments the discussion seemed to come to a standstill but honestly most of the points got me positive vibes about getting a logo designed from a Design Agency.

Wait, wait, wait…however, this doesn’t mean that the story ends here. Any one, who finds my positive opinion and the supporting remarks for design agencies wrong, is more than welcome to come up and prove his verdict but the replies must be strong enough to defend your vote of favor.

At the same time, guys favoring design agencies should also not loose their grip on the topic and keep commenting to prove yourself right ;)

  1. Alex Villegas On January 28th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    Some of those arguments are silly. It all depends on who the freelancer is and what agency it is you’re talking about. You can’t make generalizations. The fact that some of those people are equating agencies with “professionals” is way off the mark.

    The best type of freelancer is someone who has had experience in the agency world. Someone who has been exposed to the inner workings of the machine, who understands the entire range of brand promotion and the new models of communication. Someone who also understands, that agency or no agency, what makes good creative is a solid vision. An agency staffed with mediocre creatives will produce mediocre work, period.

    When looking for someone to promote your company, the best way to find them is to seek out two things - a) passion and b) experience. Whether you find those qualities in an agency or in an individual does not matter. Don’t get caught up in the labels and conventions. Seek deeper.

  1. Mr Kuzio On January 28th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I work in an agency and I can say this: in an agency you have a team that work for you.

    The best solution is to give the job to an agency.

  1. santhosh m kumar On January 29th, 2009 at 1:51 am

    hi! i am a graphic designer since 9 years in hyderabad, india. i studied these arguments and found interesting. first of all thanks for the debate.

    i work in an advertising agency at the same time undertake some freelance projects. but i never missed the balance. in my opinion only who are have big projects will go to an advertising agency only because of their size, and people whose businesses are medium size can hire freelancers. as an individual can exactly know ‘what a client is expecting?’ better than a group of people in an advertising agency. and end of the day cost & time are also considered by the client. it is easy to a client change a hired freelancer if found not satisfactory, than to change an agency. finally what my opion is ‘size does matter’.


  1. Jamesterdude On January 29th, 2009 at 4:36 am

    I disagree about an agency It Depends of what your wanting and needing and your own size company all are important in making that decision ie I just had a job and my work replaced an agency why because I listened to what the customer was wanting and I wasnt full of myself to push my ideas on them i think it is your company size thats the deciding factor the bigger your company (the more an agency should charge) oh no just kidding is it will reach that point where you know a freelancer may not offer enough that an agency will provide.

  1. Jamesterdude On January 29th, 2009 at 4:38 am

    But then Again I neither Freelance nor work for agencies any more I have evolved……………………………………………………. into a content provider LOL

  1. Billie On January 29th, 2009 at 5:18 am

    I think i’m just about caught up with this debate and if I were a more sensitive lass I’d be offended at some of the comments. lol.

    I am a freelance designer of eight working years in both corporate and freelance environment and since freelancing I have three large design agencies on my books that use me as holiday cover resource or when they are stretched. My passion is design and I work to 100% of my ability whether that is for the agency or my own client base. To say that freelancers are not as professional as agencies is in-accurate.

    When working in an agency I am briefed by a third party ‘the account handler’. This has its ups and downs. If you get a good one who has worked that client for a while, they know what they want. If not the brief is panicked and just a stab at what the client has asked for. In an agency environment time is so tight because there are so many things going on in the studio and in the account handling office. Its a rare treat to work in a team on one project. Plus quite often you are picking up someone else’s work and as much as we adapt as designers, even within one studio there are very different ways of working, and someone has always used a font without putting it on the server! - time spent sorting systems is time not designing. That said when you don’t have the time to read up on the latest design news it gets discussed and keeps you in the loop.

    When I work directly with my clients I too build the relationship with them that allows me to learn and know what they are after. It also allows me to maximise design time and not ‘system’ time. It also means that I can help the client understand why it is sometimes better to print or design one way rather than another. I give realistic deadlines and can stick to them because I manage the workflow and time for each client.

    I agree it depends on the client’s needs, but in times such as these when budgets are tight, why spend so much money with an agency when you can get quality one on one results with a freelancer?

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On January 30th, 2009 at 2:51 am

    Admin here..

    Hi Billie…read you comment but disagree with you. As you write:
    “In an agency environment time is so tight because there are so many things going on in the studio and in the account handling office.”
    I think this point is more valid for freelancers because a single person has to look after after so many tasks…assignment, payment issues, client dealing and I believe it gets really hectic.

    Hey Santosh and JamesterDude, I agree that “size matters” but I don’t know why Santosh thinks that assigning work to a group of people is not a good idea because it helps to present bulk of innovative ideas to clients.

    Mr Kuzio, thanks for your vote of support, as we stand on the same side of fence :)

    Alex I really enjoyed your new perspective of looking at this topic, as you say “The best type of freelancer is someone who has had experience in the agency world. When looking for someone to promote your company, the best way to find them is to seek out two things - a) passion and b) experience.”

    And I am sure these things are well considered when agencies hire their creative staff….so again this point favors Design Agencies.

  1. Billie On January 30th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Hi CharlieB Johnson, I totally see your point about time management, but that is the key and a good freelancer manages time very carefully. I don’t promise what I can’t deliver but make sure I deliver in good time. When I work in agencies I have to do what the account handler or the production manager says and in many cases ‘he/she who shouts loudest”… So if i’m working on one ‘urgent’ thing I can easily be pulled off it to do something else that’s supposedly more urgent and the client gets pushed back.

    I guess the agencies have to make sure they always have more than enough work just the same as freelancers. they just have to deal with the extremes of that a lot more. ie when they are quiet there’s possibly 3 or 4 sitting doing not a lot and at busy times they have to disappoint somebody because promises have been made before workload is checked. I know how much I can handle and what’s booked in so the extremes are avoided and the service is consistent.

    We all have to work extra late and extra early but its very rare that I can’t deliver on the surprise jobs as well as keeping other deadlines.

    Don’t get me wrong - i’m in the blessed position of having experience on both sides and appreciate the opportunities to work along side other human beings occasionally! lol. (as she chuckles to herself!)

    I guess it comes down to size and people power - do all companies have people with the time to handle what the account handlers in an agency do or do they just need to hand it over and get on with what they do best? if that’s the case they will probably be impressed by the size of agencies, but should the money wise seek out the experienced, passionate freelancer and save at least 50% of their hard earned profits?

  1. Jamesterdude On January 30th, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    wow glad I at least still have both Mac and Pc would hate to mention that outloud here lol

    But listening/reading the back and forth here I have no regrets leaving the corporate world behind. Yes For the Record I have been Published in books and magazines and received accolades and trophies and even had my life when i was and advertisor portrayed in a cable show with quite a few too many details about me in. LOL even can brag about one ad surviving and ran for 12 years un changed and in print for each and every week of those 12 years I left both Freelance and Agency work to go into an even more demanding position Editor and Grahic editor of a magazine
    yes even more demand and stress so my resovle? I am now just an artist in both print and film media I create for Myself
    No stress No worries or deadlines Just actual honest to goodness art and expression. Wow look what it took and the 20 plus years to achieve it Artistic Nirvana

  1. Imad On February 2nd, 2009 at 3:43 am

    Qtishat Graphic Design is a total design studio geared towards providing clients with the ultimate creative solution for their business or personal needs. We provide services such as cartoon drawing, tattoo design, logos, slogans, graphic design and total advertising solution.

  1. Lucy On February 2nd, 2009 at 5:19 am

    I think that it is wrong to think that one can offer you a better service without seeing a design portfolio you really can’t answer the question and then the answer would only be a direct comparison between that freelancer and that design agency. As said most freelancers do work for design agencies so you are good design.

  1. RipFish On February 3rd, 2009 at 12:15 am

    I’ve actually worked for both an agency, and done quite a bit of freelancing. And while this is totally anecdotal, I think this is telling: I did good work for the agency I worked for, but at the end of the day my paycheck was the same. When you freelance, your reputation lives or dies by the work you do. The motivation to do *excellent* work comes from the desire to put food on the table for your family. I feel there’s more at stake for a designer to produce quality work when he’s out on his own rather than as a member of a larger team.

    Just my .02.

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On February 3rd, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Hey Billie, I agree to you when you say that the freelancers try to make the best to deliver their work on time but still I think their work really affects when one person tries so hard to keep up with client commitments, family and friend promises and to look after so many other tasks while working as a freelancer.

    Hi RipFish:
    I liked that punch line of yours “The motivation to do *excellent* work comes from the desire to put food on the table for your family.” but I think it also goes for the people working at agencies. Even they also try hard to prove themselves to their bosses.

    Well, I agree with you that designers are at more stake to produce quality work when working on their own.

    Hey Lucy, in the prelude post even I mentioned about having an impressive portfolio and strong list of clients which I think design agencies have lot better than freelancers…wat say?

    Anyways, knowing your opinions is really exciting and I am enjoying these defending replies from you all…good going :)

  1. Manz On February 10th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Now… comments made by Billie really stand out for me here!!

    Apparently I seemed “diplomatic” in the last round of comments, so I’ll try to be more direct!

    Who would I hire to do my company logo? My company - so an agency is the straight forward reply!

    But that doesn’t contribute much to this conversation ;)

    My main point I wanted to make in the last post is that it’s not that clear cut anymore, and that an agency can be comprised of more freelancers than full time staff these days. So my point… if you get the chance to use a freelancer, than do it!

    Part of what I said last time was…
    “We use freelancers ONLY for our biz. It results in an agency with less overheads that can be passed onto the client - so you’re giving them the best service an agency can provide, with some of the benefits that a freelancer can provide.” and “As for the freelancers work, they are always professional in my experience. There is also a greater risk for them if they do a bad job!”

    Just a parting comment… I know clients who shy away from large agencies because of the “impersonal” factor - they don’t like getting a different person each time they call about a project. So that’s another point for freelancers!

  1. Your career advice guide On February 13th, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I think both come with their own advantages and disadvantages. It is upto you to decide your budget and the work that you need to get done and then choose the right option. For small work within a limited budget, you can always go for a freelancer. And if you plan to get much more done than just a logo, and are looking at a long term professional relationship, it is best to go for a design agency.

  1. Freelance Designer London On February 19th, 2009 at 9:42 am

    have worked fulltime for large & small agencies and I’m now freelance. I always give 100% to any job whether it be freelance from home or freelance in an agency. I’ve nearly been working 10 years, so also have a great network of freelance designer friends, so that if I need help (eg. more web based stuff etc) I can call them in. Whether to use a freelancer or an agency is more down to the specific job and who is available when you need them and obviously cost. With an agency or a freelancer the most important thing is that you can trust them and they have a good track record. From a personal level, freelancing is better for me as a designer, due to being able to manage my own time and having a bit more creative freedom. However any good designer will never just ‘keep on presenting design samples until the customer is completely satisfied’ as it is our responsibility to produce good work that answers the brief , that we believe in from the very start.

  1. Alek Mlynek On February 27th, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    This is a great debate, however, like most things in life it will not have a clear answer. Because you are dealing with people, there is no B&W. You will find freelancers and agencies on both side of the “good and bad” scale, it really depends who is doing the work.

    The only way to judge which way to go, agency or freelancer, is to look at your specific goals and see what is important to you.

    For instance, if you have a low budget you probably cannot afford an agency. Overhead costs will often guarantee higher prices - in this scenario a freelancer may be your best option.

    In my experience, I have seen designers and agencies output similar products. Also, please keep in mind that often times agencies will bring multiple freelancers together.

    Having said that, freelancers aren’t always your best choice either. You can benefit from having multiple bodies hover over your design as oppose to a single freelancer.

    There is no clear cut answer to this question. I would start by assessing my goals, needs, and wants. The second step would be to seek out agencies/freelancers and evaluate their portfolios to find a style I like.

  1. Jeff Schader On September 13th, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I own a design studio called The Skins Factory. While we develop user interface designs primarily, we also offer brand identity creation. To weigh in on the topic, I think a studio is a better choice.

    I can’t tell you how many times clients have come to me over the last 10 years and told me they hired a freelance artists and were less than thrilled with their performance.

    I think for the client, a professional design studio offers a certain guarantee of professional behavior and performance. A freelancer can easily take the money and run, while a studio has roots and a reputation to worry about. Now, I work with freelancers, but these are guys i have worked with for many years. I rarely take on new freelancers for the reasons i stated… you just never know what you’re going to get.

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