Design Agency vs Freelance Life ...


As designers, we often get asked what is better, freelancing or working at a design agency? To be honest, there is no correct answer but there are certainly perks and pitfalls of both. I hope you find the following article useful .. :icon_biggrin:

The Work / Workload
As a freelancer, you get to choose when you work and what type of projects you want to work on, however this perk comes with much more behind-the-scenes work such as marketing yourself, doing paperwork, emailing etc. Consequently, this means you will be doing less of what you love (designing).

At an agency, the behind-the-scenes work is being done for you, which means you can do more designing but the downfall of this, is that you don’t get as much say on the type of projects you work on… however, if you find the right agency, this shouldn’t be a big problem.

Rewards / Freedom
Nothing is more satisfying than running your own successful (freelance) business. As a freelancer, you can choose your own clients, set your own rates and most importantly, work when you want to. This allows for much more flexibility, more vacation time and overall, an arguably better way of life. (eg. no daily commutes, more time to yourself, etc.). The monetary rewards are also generally better than working at an agency as well, though this of course depends on your experience / roll as well as how hard (smart) you work.

Agency life also has its perks, the main being job security… the fact that you know you’re going to get paid and when. There are also other fringe benefits of working at an agency such as health insurance, parties, work outings, etc.

The ‘Fun’ Factor
Freelancing can get lonely at times, especially if you don’t have anyone else around the house or office, however, you do get more freedom, which essentially means you can go out with your non-work buddies more often… and wake up later.

An agency atmosphere is going to be a lot livelier than if you were freelancing at your own home / office as you can talk, laugh & collaborate with people at the office. You also have outings with your work buddies such as lunch breaks, movies, day trips, sport games, etc.

Your Opinion?
I would love to hear what your opinions are re freelance / agency life? If you’ve worked in both, what do you prefer and why?
I miss the really big projects I used to get when I was agency side. Travelling to Andalusia for two weeks to art direct a car shoot, that kind of thing. Be nice to do that again.

I'll keep working on it...