Case Study: Freelancer vs. Employee of a Design Agency

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Nowadays, the logo designers are living a very bad paradox: a part of them doesn’t have clients interested into their services while a part of the clients desperately needs logo design services. More annoying is that some designers have so many projects in queue that they must give up to some clients. Altogether, as long as there are both clients needing logos and designers ready to work it’s clear that the situation may be corrected. The market is relatively equilibrated, there aren’t too many clients or too many logo designers, but the lack of communication influenced this paradox.

Under these circumstances, it’s perfectly natural for a logo designer to ask himself how to proceed in order to merely have a constant flow of client works. Many of them are employees into a creative agency and more or less, the worries regarding the lack of clients are reduced, but these will never disappear. Other logo designers prefer to work for their own by embracing a freelancer career. Both solutions have advantages and disadvantages, it depends on each one preferences. A single fact is unquestionable: no matter, freelancer or employee, the quality of the services provided is the guaranty of having more and more clients.

Freelance vs. Employee

Every freelancer, at a time, would imagine himself working into an agency and every employee, annoyed by a boring chief, would imagine himself being a freelancer. For both parts, we tried, as objective as we could, to establish a list of advantages. In spite of our trying, you are the single one responsible for your future. Our intention is to help you making a good decision, but you decide. It will be great to share with us your opinions about; the more, the better!

Advantages of working as a freelancer

#1. Working from home

Comparing to the average employee that must work into an office, the freelancer is seriously advantaged because he/she may work from home. Working in an office supposes some limitations and it may negatively affect the effective power. The freelancer may dress however he/she wants, work from bed or from a bistro. Definitely, this high degree of freedom is a huge plus for freelancing.

#2. Own selection of the clients

Let’s be honest- sometimes the client requirements are too high and they are truly annoying. Of course, there are many designers that consider themselves being the centre of the Universe and that they are always right. I prefer having no clients than being hired by two that wouldn’t be ever satisfied. The advantage of the freelancer is that he/she may select the clients. Working in a creative agency won’t allow this luxury and willing or not, each client must be satisfied.

#3. The lack of disputes with other team mates

Definitely, being part of a team has many benefices – each one has his design part to cover, the exchange of ideas has always positive consequences and you may ask for help in some situations. Still, there are some inevitable disadvantages and the most important are the disputes with the team mates. A freelancer may work as an individual or part of a team. Once again, the freelance position allows more freedom in selecting the team mates.

#4. No office rent or transportation costs

A creative agency needs an office where the employees should work. The rent for it may be pretty high and this cost must be added into the final price of the services offered. Also, even if these aren’t so big comparing with the office rent, the transportation cost is playing its role. Usually, a freelancer is working from a home based studio and it means that there is no rent or transportation cost to pay.

Advantages of working as an employee

#1. A challenging environment

The way of crafting websites evolved and it automatically determined the evolution of logos crafting techniques. In order to stay competitive is mandatory to quickly adapt to the novelties and create only high quality logos. As a freelancer, the necessity of self-improving and become a better specialist is present, but it can’t be compared with the situation of an employee. A design team is made up from many designers and it’s the fundament of a positive competition amongst them. Also, to remain competitive on the market as a design team, the members should non-stop improve their skills.

Under these circumstances, it’s crystal clear that being part of a creative agency is a huge pressure, but, at the same time, it’s the best environment for turning into a very good specialist.

#2. Doing just design

A logo designer employee in a design agency should do a single job: good logos. Practically, he/she may focus on a single task and nothing more. This “luxury” can’t be achieved by a freelancer that must search for clients, talk with them and take care by the various taxes to pay. Personally, I think that it’s a very important aspect that should be never neglected.

#3. High salary and additional advantages

The overall image is that a creative agency is more reliable than a freelancer. Even if the quotes are bigger, a creative agency is the preferred solution for the most clients. As a consequence, on average, a freelancer is less paid than an employee. Also, an employee benefits from various additional services as health insurances, vacations or other rewards. These are just chimeras for the most of the freelancers. Altogether, there are enough freelancers that are asking for pretty high quotes and have tons of projects on their plateaus.

#4. Future perspectives

Across time, any member of a creative team will evolve and will occupy better positions, from junior designer to creative director. By sure, being part of the team doesn’t automatically mean that sooner or later everyone will become creative director or CEO. It’s all about hard work, self-preparation and just a little bit of good luck. A freelancer will remain a freelancer- he/she is at the same time junior designer, tax accountant, creative director and so on…

Conclusion

The world isn’t divided into black or white, there is a multitude of grey shades. The same idea is applied here- being freelancer or employee isn’t a matter or good or bad, it’s just about which situation fits better to the logo designer. I consider that the best idea is to try both of them and determine which the best is for you. What do you think, am I right?

– Written by Daniel –

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