The Art in Graphic Design: Designers and the Advantages and Disadvantages of their Workplace

In the topic of jobs and careers, it is essential to note that there will always be two sides to everything. You cannot have just the positive ones alone or the opposite; the two sides would always be coexisting. Just like in graphic design, there will always be challenges that graphic designers have to face simply through choosing their own workplaces throughout their career in graphic design. They also have the benefits that come with these challenges.

Graphic Design
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Graphic Designers and the Pros and Cons of their Workplaces

There are three types of workplaces for graphic designers: In-house, Agency, and Freelance. We are here to determine all the advantages and disadvantages that come with these workplaces in order to help aspiring graphic designers to choose what kind of workplace suits their work habits the most.

Being an In-house graphic designer

Being an in-house graphic designer could be very much like a chameleon adapting its color to its surroundings. This means a graphic designer is very much exclusive to one company or established organization, employed, and is working solely for that specific brand. Once they enter the workplace, they would have to conform their designs to the one that will embody the brand the most as well as retain their identity.

Graphic designers with this workplace tend to become the “jack of all trades” and possess a wide range of designing skills in order to present a lot of options and designs depending on the creative needs of the company they are working for. 

Advantages of being an in-house graphic designer
  • They are employed like traditional company employees and could receive the same kind and amount of benefits.
  • There is a separation between the home environment and the workplace, as well as the building of colleagues and professional relationships within the workplace. 
  • Their salary is already secured as long as they have the job and they do not have to worry about finding clients that they would work with because they know who they are working for as long as they are employed.
  • The position is not stagnant, meaning they have the chances to improve and gradually advance into a better position in the corporate career ladder. It is also beneficial as they really learn to start and see the progress of their growth in the company. 
  • Working with only a single brand or a single line of brands would garner a deeper understanding of the people they are working for. They get to have the focus as they do not have to jump from one brand to another, and the familiarity establishes a better grasp at constructing strategies and designs for quality work. 

Disadvantages of being an in-house graphic designer
  • Graphic designers would have to conform to the rules of the company and the brand, therefore additional restrictions that are not as present with other graphic design workplaces.
  • Designs would have to constantly be under the guidance of non-designers and it can also feel confining as a creator as you could feel as if you are not reaching the true potential of your creativity.
  • Extra communication is needed in the workplace as not every person in it could be as in-depth with creation as you are. Every detail should be explained and justified in order for them to see the actual potential of your idea.
  • There could only be a few creators with you inside the workplace, if not only you. You might have to either shoulder a lot more of the pressure to come up with the brand or keep your ideas to yourself until it is complete as there are only a few people to talk to about it.
Being an agency graphic designer

Agency graphic designers often find their work under firms and get exclusive hires from outside clients for their designs. There is little to no exclusivity in the brands that they work with as they take in different clients from different brands and companies to partner with. Work duration for a specific project tends to be short-term and work schedules sometimes tend to be all over the place because of the deadlines.

Graphic designers working in this type of workplace are expected to have a vast knowledge and understanding of design in order to figure out the creative product that would suit their current client the most.  agencies are hired by outside clients to produce creative work. In this environment, designers While their clients vary, their work is usually limited to the identity of those brands.

Advantages of working at an agency
  • Better colleague experience as the workplace would usually be filled with people in the same working field. There is better communication between the people and lesser communication delays and efforts.
  • Professionalism as a graphic designer is highly expected as people are knowledgeable and are/could be more adept and experienced with graphic designing and its environment.
  • New designers would be able to test their own knowledge and skills under senior designers. Advice and processes are more reliable as there are people guiding you through the work and the workplace. They know what they are and they know what they are doing as graphic designers. 
  • Graphic design or designing in general is the main focus. Taking projects that are not related are not always the case so there is only one line of work that new designers can direct their attention on and excel at.

Disadvantages of working at an agency
  • The job is not permanent. This means any project given to you through the agency could be your last. This usually stems from the amount of contracts the agency gets and they match it to the amount of graphic designers since the pay is not always negotiable.
  • Related to the first disadvantage, the pay is not secured as it depends on the projects that you would take.
  • The environment moves quickly and could be the result of stress and sleepless nights. As the schedule is not always the same and it depends on the amount of contracts, you would have to occasionally have to update your schedule to fit with the demands of the projects. 
Being a freelance graphic designer

As opposed to their term, freelance graphic designers are not the most free out of all the workplaces (pun intended). They handle more than just their work and clients. Yes, they work under their own discipline and supervision, so in that sense, they are technically free. However, they have to manage every bit of everything related to their work. The financial aspect and the client connections are also done by them. It really takes a lot to be a successful freelance graphic designer. 

Advantages of being a freelancer
  • As long as you have an internet connection and trusted technology that can manage all your needed softwares, you can work as a freelancer. You can also start and continue working without being required to go to a specific location unless meeting up with your client, meaning working from home is available.
  • You are free in your creative pursuits. The clients would have their demands for the work that you would do but you have all the power to decline and accept the offer. 
  • Your schedule is your own. Yes, there are deadlines for your projects, but you can work at the hours that you are most comfortable with. You can weave in your working hours to compliment your lifestyle, unlike working in-house and through an agency where you have to conform to their schedule. 

Disadvantages of being a freelancer
  • Work is done in one man’s effort and you might feel like the saying “No man is an island” is a lie. Motivation might be compromised without the creative and collaborative environment and might affect your willingness to finish your to-do list for the day.
  • The efforts that you would put into making your projects should be doubled when trying to catch an available client. Projects will not be the apple that will just fall into your awaiting mouth. They are the butterflies that you need to chase until you are sure you have captured it. Sometimes you have to actually extend that effort to sell yourself and your services to your clients in order to gain leverage against your competition.
  • As projects from clients are not fixed so your weekly or monthly income is not the most stable. You manage your own services so supposed company benefits are non-existent and are your own responsibility. 

Work and the environment around us will always provide some sort of challenge every now and then, it’s just natural. Though the more you dedicate yourself to your craft, the more your success is guaranteed and the more it will pay off. Be sure to choose the most suitable workplace that will bring out the best in you and never forget that hard work will always be fruitful in the end.

Read more: The Art in Graphic Design: Who are some well-known graphic designers and what are their designs?


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