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Friends, today I haven’t got any treat for your eyes presenting amazing miracles of graphics, infact this time I bring you a hot debatable topic which I think you all will like to give your verdict on. Last week, when one of my old friends (who started a clothing line some time back and managed to make it a successful venture within a short span of time) came up to me asking if she should get a professional logo designed for her business from a freelancer or a big design agency. After all, a logo is the visual soul of any business.

Over past few years, as a designer, I have worked with both large/small design agencies and freelancers and observed both have their own advantages and disadvantages. But now, with the advancing technology and media, I believe circumstances have changed drastically.

Therefore, I list below, benefits of both the choices and want to know from you all … whom do you think we should hire to get a logo designed for our business –A Design Agency or A Freelance Designer?

Reasons why it is better to hire a Design Agency?

  • No one supervises a freelancer’s work:
  • Many people think that new freelance designers come up with too complicated logo designs - incorporating too many elements or colors, making confusing the customer too. While, a professional agency have many designers working for them at the same time and make sure that their designers fulfill the requirements of their client.

  • Good at dealing large project accounts:
  • For large projects, professional designing companies create detailed documentation and are well versed in dealing with large accounts.

  • One Stop Shopping:
  • A freelancer might be only good at designing a logo but professional design agencies have a proffessional hired staff comprising of web programmer, interface designer, copywriter, SEO expert and social marketer, which make the business promotion of a client convinent.

  • History of Excellency:

    A long list of prestigious, trustworthy clients assures you about the quality of work you will receive and assures you about the quality of work.

  • You can expect variety of ideas and concepts:

    In a design company there is a group of designers collaborating on ideas and then come up with a broad range of outcomes.

  • Design companies have better resources and experience:
  • Large projects are generally better handled by bigger companies because they have much better resources and have particular employees to keep a detailed check on every project.

  • You don’t have to risk the completion of your project:
  • When a design company is looking after your design project you’re not reliant on the health of one person for the successful completion of your design project. If a designer is sick or have any personal issue, companies immediately will assign another designer to step in and get your work done.

                 Design- Agencies-competing-Freelancers

    Reason why it is better to hire a freelancer?

  • Dealing is much simpler:
  • From the very beginning you stay in contact with the same person, so there are fewer chances of confusion and blunders.

  • No Corporate Maze:
  • Your phone calls and guiding details are directly received by the designer himself making it easy for you to convey your requirements and you get a quick answer without getting stuck in the corporate maze.

  • Don’t complain about working more:
  • Unlike big designing companies, freelance designers keep on presenting design samples until the customer is completely satisfied.

  • Freelancing costs cheap:
  • Low cost is the major benefit you receive by signing a freelance designer. Usually big designing companies include their overheads in their charges. Most freelancers work from a home office with little overhead and you pay them hourly rate and not a project contract.

  • More Flexibility:
  • As freelance designers do not overburden themselves with lots of projects they tend to deliver the project earlier than larger design companies. Freelancers are more flexible in making changes till the end whereas big companies do not believe in giving extra favors.

  • Offer Extra Favors:
  • Last minute changes to a job before it prints or goes live can be quicker and cheaper with the freelancer.

Aim of this post is to highlight the positive aspects of both the choices. I just wanted to tell that gone are those days when big projects and big benefits were only meant for the big boys. Freelancer was thought to be some one who ignores rules and misses deadlines but nowadays, this isn’t true.

Nah…I am not favoring freelancing, I am keeping my vote safe with me because first I want to listen what you all have got to say about this and I am sure you all will defend your choice in a stronger way. Let’s see who do you opt to design your business logo…the choice is yours!

(If you think i missed any of the positive aspect of freelancing or designing agencies, don’t hesitate to add to the list.)

  1. Shrish Agrawal On January 13th, 2009 at 2:06 am

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

  1. Amanda Vlahakis On January 13th, 2009 at 5:06 am

    How is a freelancer not a professional?

    I’ve been designing professionally (as a freelancer) for hundreds of clients for over 7 years now and offer outstanding customer service and quality.

    I’m surprised to read that you feel all freelancers are not professional, I’ve never heard that opinion before.

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On January 13th, 2009 at 5:49 am

    Hey Shrish, thnks for sharing your opinion but I think most of the people won’t agree with you…lets see :)

    Hi Amanda, you got me wrong buddy, I never said that freelancers are not professional, if you read the article again I wrote that once freelancer were thought to be unprofessional missing the deadlines but nowadays, this isn’t true.

    Infact, I think I have favored freelancing more in the post…don’t you think ;)

  1. David Airey On January 13th, 2009 at 5:52 am


    I second Amanda’s sentiments. Stating that freelancers aren’t professional is quite far off the mark.


    I had a similar discussion on my blog a few days ago, linked to through my name. Some of your sentences are coincidentally the same as mine.

    There’s a point you raise I feel is worth mentioning:

    “Unlike big designing companies, freelance designers keep on presenting design samples until the customer is completely satisfied.”

    From my experience, this just doesn’t happen, unless the client has an unlimited budget.

  1. Amanda Vlahakis On January 13th, 2009 at 6:08 am

    Charlie I was responding to Srish’s comments rather that your blog posting - you were fairly neutral in your bog I felt overall.

    Srish seems to say that all freelancers are less professional compared to an agency and will produce inferior results.

  1. Amanda Vlahakis On January 13th, 2009 at 6:09 am

    “Unlike big designing companies, freelance designers keep on presenting design samples until the customer is completely satisfied.”

    When I read that I thought the same David. Not all freelancers will offer unlimited revisions, it really just depends on who the freelancer is and what their offering is.

  1. David Airey On January 13th, 2009 at 6:27 am


    “Not all freelancers will offer unlimited revisions, it really just depends on who the freelancer is and what their offering is.”

    Yep. That’s a much better way to put it.

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On January 13th, 2009 at 6:58 am

    While preparing this post I came across may other blogs as well who have covered this topic, so I did not intentionaly picked up a topic from your blog.

    As for the point of freelancers offering more revisions, David and Amanda,I agree that this is a much better way to say:

    “Not all freelancers will offer unlimited revisions, it really just depends on who the freelancer is and what their offering is.”

    But anyways, I really appreciate you guys sharing your opinions..thnks!

  1. Sara Sentor On January 13th, 2009 at 6:59 am

    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 will never admit their mistakes.

  1. Emily Reed On January 13th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Whoever works the best! ;)
    But with professional freelancers, I don’t know why, but I feel you have more options and can get good choices.

  1. ArtByLetters™®© On January 14th, 2009 at 12:32 am

    Freelance …I favor

  1. Mark Chappell On January 14th, 2009 at 5:22 am

    A little ironic isnt it that on the right hand side of the screen theres a link to “free logo design” lol

    Ive used designoutpost a few times because, more often than not, a really well designed website can put me off a little because you associate that level of quality with serious cash (I speak from a website running point of view)

    When I started up funds were more than limited and a lot of freelancing sites that hit the lower end of the cash spending market are aimed at startup websites that want toget up and running.

    Saying that though Im working on a project soon where I will tender for agencies and see whats on offer from start to finish as for me, getting the artwork and design is one thing but implementation is often where that extra help is needed.

  1. Ralfy On January 14th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Shrish Agrawal seems very dismissive of freelancers. I wondered why so I clicked his name which took me to his website - - who will design you a logo for only $149! Bargain!
    They have a contact address in London (a suite in an office block), but also listed is an address in Calcutta, India. They claim to have a team of 80+ designers who will work on your logo (could they be freelancers in India, or do you think they are all crammed into the suite in London?).
    Sounds like a real bunch of professionals to me!

  1. Manz On January 14th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    First up, I agree that “Not all freelancers will offer unlimited revisions, it really just depends on who the freelancer is and what their offering is.”

    As for the corporate world, at one point in time a select number of agencies would be aksed to tender for the job. This process was a PAID for process - today I don’t know of many (companies or freelancers), who get paid for a proposal. It’s a change that we as designers have created… I think that the quoted statement speaks volumns about that. However, I’m a supporter of donating some time to worthy charities - build into the contract that you will do the first round of changes to their brochure free-of-charge (as an example).

    To the question, who would I hire? - hard one for me to answer without maybe coming across as having an ego… but here goes.

    I actually think that the idea of an agency can be totally different today - especially with the number of EXCELLENT freelancers out there and the world of the internet. 10 years ago, myself and partner were lucky to purchase an agency that had around a 15 year history and a list of clients. (I had worked for the agency full time for 3 years). Anyway, 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.

    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 - you’re only as good as your last job in both situations - but if you stuff up as part of a team in an agency, you still have your job (unless you really are to blame). But, if your stuff up as a freelancer, chances are you just lost part of your income.

    If anyone is thinking of using a freelancer, don’t be afraid to check refs/portfolio - call and check what that freelancer was like. Or even find an agency that handles freelancers and hire one through them.

    Parting comment, to Mark… I think that it’s unfortunate that you feel that “a really well designed website can put me off a little because you associate that level of quality with serious cash (I speak from a website running point of view)” - why not respect what they have done, and put in an email asking them for a quote. Even tell the agency of freelancer that you have a lower end budget and you were wondering what they could offer you. Chances are that they will surprise you with the scope of what they can do for you. It never hurts to ask :)

  1. JamesterDude On January 14th, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    I myself do my own logo work but I am a graphics advertising person,but have noticed computer oriented people tend to come to me with their own at least ideas if not logos
    while other non or lew level computer oriented folks just trust in others ideas and expertise.

  1. Charlie B. Johnson On January 14th, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Admin says:

    Hey Ralfy, it seems u have run a good investigation on Shrish;)

    Manz, it was really informative knowing your experience and opinion.

    Jamester, I simply agree with you.

    Mark I think Manz have a point tellling you that agencies can surprise us with their package.

    Anyways, thanks all for sharing your opinions :)

  1. Sean Bogue On January 15th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    welp i have lived on both sides of the fence.

    Corporate world will spend gobs of money to choke themselves to get a client and just about burn out there designer, in the process.

    A freelancer can still walk the dog, and take that big job on Sunday afternoon and have it by Monday morning, Sipping a cup of coffee. Ready for the next Graphic Strategy needed. A full time freelancing Designer is more available. Seems like quality of work is better too. Little more time to make it right.

    The Corporate world of the design factor is like ADHD with out medication, Screaming into Home plate.

  1. harmonsmith On January 16th, 2009 at 12:41 am

    I think it is better to make logo from professional companies. A good logo helps a company have a clean, professional, polished look. The more clean, stylistic and original a logo is, the more chance there is that it will stand out from the competition and help get those extra salesAlthough I am not a designer but I am running a small business in pennsylvania and I design my Logo through a company called logoguru.

  1. Martin @ creatopia On January 16th, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I have worked for agencies large and small, companies large and small and, for the last 6 years, myself.
    In my experience big companies (ones that are not forward thinking enough to employ an internal design team) go straight to agencies, small companies go to freelancers. The main difference for them is economic.

    It is usually an obvious choice. If I had a £$20mill marketing budget I would go to an agency. I would be looking at an agencies past record and client list.
    A Freelancer would not be able to cope. Whilst I, like many of you would love this sort of contract we don’t have enough man-hours in the day. We could sub-contract but an agency already has the infrastructure in place.

    Conversely if I were a small business with the need for some sort of marketing push and a budget of a few thousand £$ I wouldn’t be on the phone to Saatchi. I would be googling for local freelancers and basing my decision on their site, their portfolio and communications with them.
    Speaking for myself, I am very client orientated. I know the client knows what they want but just cant articulate that so I act as a tool, give them a few options and we whittle it down together. I will advise if they are wanting something rediculous (or, occasionally I wont do ;) ).

    I would love to see a few with balls start farming out some of their work to the little guy. We are good and I think it fair to say most of us have done our time in the industry and know what we are doing.

    We freelancers need to stick together. It is gonna be tough out there this year. Budgets will be cut, companies will be folding.

    As a final note, I have been looking to get back into full-time employment for a while. I like freelancing but the other half is not too keep on the financial insecurities. It seems companies don’t like people who have been freelancing. I am finding myself passed over for work that I am emminantly qualified for with a background to match. I can only assume they feel we would not integrate back into the office environment well. Who knows.

  1. Jo the freelancer On January 17th, 2009 at 2:11 am

    come on guys, this is silly. The difference is obvious. Bigger companies have more resources but charge you more because of their overheads. Freelancer of course, charge less but doing it solo.
    Regarding whether who is more professional. It’s a f#@# coin toss. You could have a retard employee in the big company. Come on you know who they are. Anyway, I’m a freelancer and my answer is big corporate should go for big agency. Mid-size business have a choice. Mom and Pop stores has a freelancer.
    As a bonus, big agency could even use the freelancer. So what the hell. It’s a win-win for everybody if we ever stop stereotyping things.

  1. CJWitte On January 20th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    As the owner of a graphic design company, i think the key is to know what you are negotiating. If you can get a freelancer to work on a per project basis (not per hour) and they have a good portfolio that meets your design expectations, and get them to agree to do revisions and a redraw at no extra charge, go for it. Too often the companies that hire a freelancer “hope” that their project comes out ok. A professional company SHOULD have this all laid out and have the background and terms and conditions and a good portfolio ready to go.

  1. john milton On January 22nd, 2009 at 7:18 am

    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, where as a professional web design agency would have many people who would be working on one project which would give better results.Because our website should be designed in such a manner as it will be viewed by many users all over the world. So it is better to hire a professional web design agency rather than a freelancer.

  1. gary gary On January 22nd, 2009 at 11:03 am

    @ john milton: I’m not sure of any employee at an agency that is only working on one project let alone many people working on one project….At least NOT HERE! :)

    also let’s not forget that many employees of big agencies also freelance on the side (if they work for a place that allows it). Yes I know the focus of the article was on full-time freelancers but this is just something to think about.

    Finally…AMEN to Jo

  1. john milton On January 23rd, 2009 at 5:37 am

    Hi Gary

    I do agree that many people who are working in big agencies do work as a freelancers and also they will be working on many projects in their companies, but its the quality which matters.

    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. And other thing is that, benefiting a free lancer would not benefit the company.

    So in that case isn’t its better to hire professional designers.

    thanks gary……

  1. 25

    [...] weeks back, on 12th January I posted on blogentry, titled “Who will design your Logo – Design Agency or a Freelancer” where I asked all my readers/visitors  help one of my friends telling that who can come [...]

  1. Your career advice guide On January 30th, 2009 at 12:58 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. Dr On February 1st, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    “Don’t Complain About Working More:
    Unlike big designing companies, freelance designers keep on presenting design samples until the customer is completely satisfied.”

    I got to this and just stopped reading.

    Ive worked as a freelancer and at (and still am at) well known international agencies.

    this is total rubbish and a bold claim.

  1. Logo designer On February 4th, 2009 at 11:33 am

    We should avoid hasty generalizations; not all the design agencies are great nor all the freelances are #@@$#.

  1. Freelance Designer On February 11th, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I think doesn’t matter agency or freelancer. What matters is the integrity of the designer.

  1. Freelance Designer London On February 19th, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I 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. atommedia On February 22nd, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Choose the one who has both experience and a track record and don’t listen to the salesmen who only wants to sell you anything they can

  1. Mike Erickson On February 23rd, 2009 at 12:21 am

    For the Record, many design agencies hire out freelancers.

  1. Steve Smith On February 27th, 2009 at 2:24 am

    What comes first…….?

    Sorry but I think you are only looking at half the problem here.

    A logo design is not just a graphic. What about the name?

    Many companies commissioning a design company or a freelancer expect a “catchy” name as well as the pretty symbol that goes with it.

    I am working on a logo for a Burger King new product in Indonesia (speculative at this stage).

    So first things first. What do I call it? I have thought of several alternatives. Its important to get the name right first before I can even start to scribble the way it looks.

    If your freelancer has a background in advertising he or she may have a better solution than one that is only interested in the design element alone.

    I agree with Joe the Freelancer - Horses for courses.

    A mate of mine here,(Jakarta) wants to start a Gourmet Sandwich Delivery Service to the local biz community.

    His suggested name for this was “Pie in the Sky”. Quirky I thought. Googled it to find dozens of other small co’s with the same name.

    Point is you have to think about whether your name has been used before or has been registered as a trademark.

    This can make your logo design much tougher to solve.

    If your client has already registered a name then it would be far easier to design a logo.

    Most co’s want an established design agency to come up with both name and design. And provide a creative rationale for both.

    As for Burger King I still haven’t got a clucking clue where to start ;)

  1. Steve Smith On March 2nd, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Sorry forgot to include my URL.

  1. Seattle Graphic Design & Designers - Get Bids & Save | MiNeeds On March 12th, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Most of the logos are designed by the graphic designers. But these days, many freelancers giving their service to the business people in right time. Really a good thing!! But i suggest you to post the need in, so that you can get the services from the graphic designers. Also providers can post their bids in their favorite category…

  1. cassandra pfaff On June 5th, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Get your logo done at a small agency. Best of both worlds.

    As a small agency executive, my own agency is kind of in-between the two arguments here. While we are small (3 people at the moment, have had as many as 10 back in the late 90′s), provide one-on-one personal service, can do quick turn arounds, etc., we still have Fortune 500 companies as our clients, can handle large projects (we’ve done everything from business cards for the local bakery to 800 page catalogs for multi-national companies). Being small also has afforded me the opportunity to utilize all of my talents in one project, for example, I’ve planned, written, photographed, designed, produced, press checked, and taken every client call for a project when needed.

    We also can do web, multi-media, photography, television commercials, and radio spots all in-house. And we currently work out of our house, have low overhead, and lower rates than an agency.

    The majority of work I’ve seen from freelancers points directly at what the article states above: No one is supervising them. If you’ve never worked for an agency, there’s a lot of things and technical details about projects that they just never teach you in school. I’ve been extremely unhappy with the majority of the freelancers we’ve tried to use for work overflow. It’s really a shame, but technology has afforded just about anyone to call themselves a designer, undercut quality small agencies on price and take their work, and produce inferior design.

    Design schools keep churning out graduates, 90% of which have no real talent, have not been taught many basic design skills, and have no real hope of succeeding long term in this industry. It’s diluting our value as designers. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of applicants when we’ve hired, and believe me, I know what I am talking about here.

    To anyone who is a qualified former agency designer, who has legitimately gone out on their own, I don’t consider them to be freelancers. They own small businesses, produce great designs, and are an asset to the business. They’ve paid their dues in a corporate setting and know how to get the job done for you.

    Personally, I think any of us as designers ought to lobby schools to either teach graphic design properly, or stop pushing graphic design as this “awesome job” where you do things like “merge a person’s face over a chimp’s” (real actual commercial for a national school with a design program)

  1. Don On August 30th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Yes:) too may words,back to work…

  1. Clippingimages On October 11th, 2009 at 5:10 am

    I think its a never ending issue … any way your mentioned terms are attractive

  1. John On August 27th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I don’t feel it is helpful to genarlise about freelancers or agencys. There are both poor as well as extremely experienced versions of either.

    I believe when using either option you should first check out not only their previous work but also get in touch with previous clients.

    The original list of pros and cons seems fairly well complete.

    The main points I would say are: That work is usually overseen at an agency. And that you can expect a variety of ideas from different perspectives.

    Communication is often simpler and there is usually potential for a lower price due to lower overheads.

    I think the potential for high quality work is available with either option.

  1. John On August 27th, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Sorry for the typo. ‘generalize’

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