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As businesses look to expand their reach and grow their customer base, effective marketing design services are more important than ever. 

A well-designed marketing campaign can make all the difference in attracting and retaining customers and ultimately driving revenue. But who should you turn to for your marketing design needs? Many variables go into making that decision. 

In this article, we’ll explore how to make that choice. We cover the pros and cons of hiring an in-house designer, a freelancer, or an agency and other key considerations. 

ICYMI: Digital Marketing Design Done Changed

Digital marketing design has seen tectonic shifts over the past five years or so. This adds complexity to the process of hiring designers for your brand, with major shifts in both designer workflows and available tools — such as generative AI.

With more and more people accessing content on their phones and online, designers have had to shift their focus to digital and user experience (UX) design. That means creating designs that work well across many different devices and that help users navigate content easily.

More Than Just Pretty Pictures

There’s also been a big push towards data-driven design, where designers use analytics and target audience analysis to guide their decisions. By analyzing how users interact with a website or app, designers look to create designs that are more effective and engaging to those users.

All of these changes have made it more challenging for companies looking to hire designers. They need to find designers who are well-versed in these digital design trends and who can handle a range of tasks from UX/UI design to responsive design.

Plus, with the demand for good design work on the rise, there’s more competition for designers and higher rates for freelancers and agencies. Companies need to be willing to invest in top-tier design to stay competitive and meet the needs of their customers. 

In-House vs. Freelancer vs. Agency

Deciding where and how much to invest in design services is challenging. Today, there are various onboarding options available for designers. So, should you opt for traditional in-house hiring, temporary freelancers, or partner with a design agency? Let’s explore.

In-House Marketing Designer

If you need design work done on an ongoing basis, an in-house designer may be the best option. This can be especially true if your company has a high volume of design needs, such as for product packaging, social media graphics, email campaigns, and website design. 


  • In-house designers have a deep understanding of your branding guidelines and can create designs that are tailored to your specific needs.
  • As part of your staff, this ensures that designs are delivered on time and on budget.
  • They are available for ongoing projects and can create a consistent look and feel across all your marketing channels.


  • Hiring an in-house designer can be expensive, as you’ll need to provide a salary and benefits and dedicate time to get them up to speed on your in-house workflows. 
  • Top-shelf designers will require top-shelf salaries. 
  • They may not have the same level of expertise or breadth of experience as an agency, especially if you’re looking for specialized skills such as motion graphics or UX design.
  • Hiring an in-house designer may require more time and effort to build and train a team with the specific skills and experience you need.

Freelancer Marketing Designer

If you only need design work done occasionally, a freelancer may be a better fit. Freelancers are independent professionals who work on a project-by-project basis. Pay-as-you-need freelancers can be ideal if you have specific marketing and graphic design needs but require ongoing support from a designer.


  • Freelancers can provide specialized skills and expertise, such as visually appealing illustration or animation, that you may not be able to find in-house.
  • They tend to be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house designer, as you’ll only pay for the work you need.
  • Freelancers can be more flexible than an in-house hire or agency, as they may be able to accommodate last-minute requests or work outside of regular business hours.


  • Freelancers may not be familiar with your brand, company culture, or graphic design principles, which can result in designs that don’t align with your branding guidelines.
  • They may not be available when you need them, especially if they are working remotely and working for multiple clients.
  • Freelancers may lack the project management abilities of an agency, which can complicate coordination with other members of your marketing team.
  • Freelancers may lack access to resources and technology, which may limit their ability to meet project requirements and deliver high-quality work.

Marketing Design Agency

If you want access to specialized skills and a wider range of design options, an agency is the way to go. Digital agencies specialize in digital marketing design, and they typically have a team of designers with expertise in a variety of areas. In terms of the best bang for your buck when you need ongoing design work, hiring a design agency is hard to beat. 


  • Agencies have a team of marketing designers with a range of skills, which means you can get all your design needs met in one place.
  • They will provide a high level of project management and marketing effort, ensuring designs are delivered on time and on budget.
  • Most agencies have the expertise to provide strategic guidance and can help you develop a comprehensive marketing campaign.
  • An agency can give you instant access to the latest design tools and technology without paying for each one yourself, keeping your brand at the forefront of design trends.
  • Agencies provide access to industry insights and market research, informing design decisions and keeping you ahead of the competition. 
  • You can choose from a local or national marketing design agency that helps cater to your exact audience. 


  • Top agencies can be expensive, especially if you’re looking for comprehensive marketing materials to go out through multiple marketing channels.
  • Agencies may not be as familiar with your brand or company culture as an in-house designer, though they likely have a specific system to streamline this process. 
  • Agencies may have a longer lead time than a freelancer, as they typically have a larger client base and may be working on multiple projects simultaneously.

[Related readings: The Executive’s Guide To Hiring A Digital Marketing Agency]

Consider Your Company Culture and Brand

Before making a decision on whether to hire an in-house designer, a freelancer, or an agency, it’s important to consider your company culture and brand. Maintaining brand identity requires accurately reflecting a brand’s values and messaging through its designs.

For example, if your company places a strong emphasis on sustainability, it may be important to work with a designer who has experience creating designs that align with eco-friendly values. 

And if your company is known for its edgy and modern aesthetic, try to work with a designer who has experience creating designs that are bold and eye-catching. 

While company culture is likely the most important for in-house hires, it still helps to consider freelancers or agencies who can play nice with your current marketing team. 

Other Tips for Hiring the Right Designer

Beyond personal design styles and avoiding any culture clashes, here are some other marketing design tips to consider when sizing up your future design superhero:


Design agencies offer the flexibility to scale up or down the scope of work as needed. They can offer à la carte services like access to graphic designers and web designers, allowing you to pay only for what you need when you need it. Freelancers can also offer flexibility in terms of project scope and timeline. In-house designers, however, may be limited to the workload and projects that are already in-house.

Cost Effectiveness

Hiring an agency or a freelancer can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house designer. With an agency or freelancer, you’re only paying for the work you need to be done. There are also no additional costs associated with maintaining full-time staff, such as health insurance, paid vacation days, sick days, or a 401k. That leads to a better ROI for your brand

Design agencies also have account managers who act as liaisons between you and the designer(s) working on your project. A dedicated manager eliminates the need for you to micromanage the project. By saving you time, the agency is also saving you money.

[Struggling to figure out what to spend on marketing? Use this marketing calculator.]


Design agencies often have staff members who are more experienced than entry-level in-house designers. They’ve likely worked with a variety of clients across different industries and have a broader range of skills. Freelancers can also be experienced professionals who have worked on multiple projects across industries. Just remember, if they’re poor communicators or slow to respond to messages, there isn’t anyone else to liaise with. 


Working with a design agency can save you the headache and stress of having to find, interview, hire, and train new designers when your workload overwhelms your current staff. In a similar vein, if a designer working on your project is unavailable, agencies can easily replace them with another qualified professional. Freelancers are one-person teams, so no luck there.

Whether you decide to hire an in-house designer, work with a freelancer, or collaborate with a design agency, clear communication is essential. You want to foster a solid working relationship that helps you achieve the best possible results.

Hire the Best Marketing Design Agencies

You should now have a general idea of the right hiring path for your brand. If you’re considering hiring an agency for your marketing design needs, here are a few top agencies to consider:

  1. Avalaunch Media

Avalaunch Media is a full-service Utah digital marketing agency specializing in web development and advanced marketing services. They have worked with clients in industries ranging from Finance to eCommerce and more. Avalaunch Media offers services such as SEO content writing, web design, WordPress website design, and others.

  1. Elevato

The web development and marketing agency Elevato specializes in “All Things Web,” and with over thirty-five years in business, they have the expertise to deliver. Elevato provides services like web development, database architecture, and SEO, among others. They have worked with clients in a variety of sectors, including food service, finance, eCommerce, and more.

  1. Envigo

With over thirteen years of experience, they are a full-service digital marketing agency with a team of over ninety professionals who provide an array of services, including digital marketing strategy, B2B lead generation, search engine optimization, UI and design, web and app development, paid marketing, social media management, content strategy, and content development. Their team consists of digital marketers, strategists, designers, and technologists who build digital experiences and craft visual storytelling spanning web, mobile, and digital platforms.

  1. Search Nurture

Search Nurture is a full-stack digital marketing agency specializing in marketing design for B2B SaaS and eCommerce. They offer customized services in organic search, content development, paid search, social ads, and retail marketing with major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Instacart. As a remote-first agency, they hire top professionals in SEO, SEM, paid social advertising, and retail advertising to provide superior strategies, design elements, and guidance for their client’s marketing efforts.

  1. Conversion Media

Conversion Media is a specialized marketing design company that helps innovative organizations generate traffic, leads, and revenue by producing and distributing high-quality content. They believe in creating engaging and informative content/visual design to meet your target audience where they are and guide them toward becoming customers. Their services can help businesses become industry leaders.

  1. Ignite Visibility

An industry leader in digital marketing with innovative design principles, Ignite Visibility offers specialized marketing plans created by top authorities in each field. Among the many services provided by Ignite Visibility are web design and development, search engine optimization, and global search marketing. They have worked with clients in a variety of fields, including real estate and telehealth.

  1. Mabbly

Mabbly is a leading strategic design firm that is driven by data analytics, market analysis, and digital technologies. Mabbly offers a wide range of services, including web design, brand recognition, and content development. This agency powerhouse has worked with clients in a range of industries, such as food services and health.

  1. Canal Digital Studio

Canal Digital Studio is an NYC-based boutique digital marketing design agency specializing in marketing design for DTC, SaaS, consumer products, and eCommerce brands. Their team delivers high-quality designs that result in more traffic, better rankings, and more conversions, while being less expensive and less risky than a full-time hire.


When it comes to marketing design, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The decision ultimately depends on your specific needs, budget, and timeline. With this article, you should now understand how to make that decision in confidence. 

Just remember the goal of working with the right design partner: to create eye-catching marketing collateral that is an extension of your brand identity and voice. 

Find The Best Agency for Your Business–with Credo

If you’re looking to hire a digital agency, you can find the ideal match on the Credo Platform.

To that end, Credo has a dedicated network of vetted digital media agencies that can help you find the perfect TikTok strategy for your specific business. You can start with those on the list below.

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