The Ultimate Guide to Design Outsourcing (2021 Update)

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As a business – large, small, or start up- it’s likely your goals look like this:

  • Scale effectively 
  • Provide a better experience for your customer or client 
  • Become a leader within your market

But achieving this is not a linear journey, and quality design plays a huge role in the success of a brand. There will be natural ebbs and flows when it comes to the design requirements of your business, as the needs of your customer or clients change month on month.

To combat this and continue moving forward, a pragmatic and cost-effective move is to outsource design to someone else.

What is design/graphic design outsourcing? 

In a nutshell, outsource design service, design outsourcing, or graphic design outsourcing, means hiring work from a designer or designers outside of your organization. 

There are many ways to do this, through individual freelancers, large-scale creative agencies, or on-demand design agencies like Design Force. 

This effective option can allow your business to achieve increased output within smaller time frames, scale within leaner budgets, and reduce the heavier commitment associated with hiring in-house. Therefore, outsourcing can directly affect your bottom line and maximize your ROI.

How to outsource graphic design

There are many factors to consider when outsourcing design work:

  • Assess the needs of your business. 

What do you need support with? This will help you determine where to begin your search. Do you need a single freelancer to tackle a small batch of banner ads? Or do you need a larger team of expert designers to cover all the bases of your next multi-channel campaign? Read more on how to determine where to outsource, here

  • Be smart. 

Outsourcing design work to multiple designers can mean duplicate briefs and contracts, which are consuming and can ultimately eat into your profit margins. Alternatively, you can use flexible design teams, like Design Force, that include a dedicated Design Manager who supervises your outsourced design team for you. . Your Design Manager will become a single point of contact, understand the requirements for your design work, and delegate the work the most effective way possible. 

  • Consider how your decision will impact your business.

Ask yourself: is this decision profitable? Can I outsource within budget? Will it save me time and/or money? Will I be able to meet (and exceed) the expectations of my customer or client? If the answer is no to any of these, reconsider your options. 

  • Determine the structure you need

We delve deeper into this in this article but consider the relationship that will work for you. For example, will you tell your customer or client that you’ve outsourced, or do you need a ‘white glove’ design? If the latter, a Design Force for Agencies subscription can be the invisible support you need behind the scenes.   

How much does outsourcing design cost?

As with any decision in business, understanding your budgets and keeping finances under control is vital for your ROI.

Freelancers in the United States, on average, charge $60 per hour. Say you need around 45 hours of work per month, which can set you back to $32,400 over the year. Hiring in-house, the average salary for a graphic designer in the United States is $48,561, yet with a Marketing Design Package from Design Force, you could look to pay as low as $1,950 per month, with the option to turn up or turn down the rate of support you need. 

For a more detailed look into the pricing of outsourcing, we’ve covered it here

Design outsourcing: the statistics

  • In 2019 alone, the global outsourcing market reached $92.5 billion
  • The primary reason businesses choose to outsource is to improve efficiency
  • Digital Marketing forms 34% of the global outsourced processes 

Pros and cons of design outsourcing

Should you outsource graphic design services? 


  • Smaller upfront costs, with room to reduce spend when work needs drop
  • Flexibility to increase or reduce the design work needed
  • Save money when done efficiently and effectively budgeted for
  • Save time, especially when outsourcing to an on-demand agency like Design Force as onboarding takes just one day
  • Gain access to professional  designers with specialist skills, to bridge the gap and allow you to deliver exactly what your customer/client needs
  • Bring fresh perspective, innovation and a wealth of graphic design tips to improve your business 
  • Reduce overwhelm on in-house designers/team members when work builds up
  • If it’s not working or isn’t as effective as you planned for, you can make changes with less financial risk


  • Annual finance budgeting can be trickier as prices vary, compared to the fixed costs of hiring in-house
  • An internal, permanent staff member will understand your brand vision and company persona through and through, with increased brand loyalty
  • There’s a potential lack of company culture as outsourcing usually entails remote working. You may prefer to speak with someone just a desk away, compared to waiting for a response from someone who may be in another time zone or state. If you’re interested in learning more about how to create a winning in-house design team, we’ve put together this guide.

So there you have it, our ultimate guide to outsourcing design work in 2021 and beyond!

Think an on-demand agency is for you? Contact Design Force today to discuss your next project, and access our pool of world-class talent in just one day.

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