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Should I employ a designer or hire a studio?

We share our thoughts on why you should partner up with a design studio rather than hire an in-house designer.

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Often this is a choice that boils down to cost. For some, one is seen as an investment while the other is viewed as a risk when in truth, they are both investments. An employee is a cost-effective choice on the surface, but one that requires equipment, benefits, sick, and holiday pay along with a salary that typically increases year on year. Whereas a studio may require a larger chunk of your budget.

At Clever Ghost we often work with in-house designers, sometimes passing on brand guidelines that we’ve developed for the wider team to roll out internal communications. In other circumstances we find ourselves pitching for the work to a business owner or marketing manager trying to weigh up the pros and cons of an agency vs an internal designer. 

Let’s look at how the experience, know-how, and skill set of a design agency is more beneficial to your business than building that in-house team.


In-house designers often carry the weight of being the only designer on the team. Being pulled from pillar to post compromises the creative process. If the brand is fortunate enough to have brand guidelines the design team can sometimes become complacent in following them and over time internally generated creative can become stagnant. Larger in-house design teams again might suffer from a lack of a fresh perspective or the design department is not set up in a way to inspire or encourage creativity.

Alternatively, when using a design studio your projects are in the hands of a dedicated team of people who share the load. Studio designers work with a wide range of clients and projects that help rejuvenate their creative repertoire. The agency will have a hierarchy within its design team and structure to its process that will focus solely on your project moving it efficiently along with meeting deadlines with ease and delivering on objectives. The studio hires the right person for the job and your project doesn’t rely on a jack of all trades. All of them experts in their chosen field should give you peace of mind that quality and professionalism is guaranteed.

In practice, that means the creative process is seen through from start to finish without compromise. Projects are nurtured and explored in an environment created specifically to enrich the creative process. Collaboration, internal reviews, and a dedicated Creative Director overseeing progress before a project is presented to a client.


Like a lot of business owners, many decisions come down to cost. The initial cost of commissioning a studio may seem high but compared against the outlay on an employee it becomes a prudent investment.

Working in partnership with a design studio offers flexibility within a budget to adapt to change. They understand that engagement may have to be scaled up, or down in response to varying marketing budgets. 

Whereas downsizing an internal team shouldn’t be considered an option if budget constraints change, risking damage to the morale of the remaining staff if they develop concerns about job security.

It is for this reason that the flexible contracts offered by studios are appealing, meaning you can utilise their services when required.


Working with a design studio allows the creative process to flourish everything from the environment to the company ethos has been designed to aid in the designing. Free from distractions, internal politics, that would disrupt workflow – something that is a possibility with an in-house designer who has multiple tasks on the go at the same time and might be under pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines. This problem is only exacerbated in larger companies where various departments all compete for access to their internal designers. This internal competition will only detract from the company’s overall goals and in the end cost time and money.

Communication in any process is key. Thanks to the digital age we live in and the collaboration tools available to design studios your creative agency team can feel like it is an internal team.

If you would like to discover more about the benefits of working with a design studio, then let’s talk.

Drop us an email to or give us a call on 028 9099 3870

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