In-house vs. agency designer team. What’s better?

In this article we talk about design outsourcing, when a company works with a game design studio. We do not consider working with freelancers.

The Pros and Cons of Building an In-House Team

Tasks for designers appear in any company. But does this mean that you need to have a designer as a team member? Some tasks will be better done by an in-house designer, and some will be better outsourced. In-house design generally means that game design and animation activities are executed by the employees of the company. Naturally, size of a team can vary. Small companies often have team of one or two designers while big companies have team of 10 or more.

IN-HOUSE VS. AGENCY PROS CONS COST
In-house designer team Know ins-and-outs of company’s design policies

Availability

Focus what’s important at the moment

Simple control. You hire-you fire.

Long recruitment

Employee costs

Software, license expenses

Capabilities

Scalability

Employee turnover

  150,000€ / year
Agency Professionalism

Capacity

Latest software and newest tools

Possible diverse specialties

Easily Scalable

Lower cost

Location

Multiple clients

Control

  4,000€ – 10,000€ / per project

Here are some benefits of building an in-house designer team:

The work of a full-time designer is easier to control, he can quickly perform tasks that managers will most often set him. The in-house designer is part of the team, so he must be involved in the workflow. Before hiring, you need to make sure the designer can match the company’s set overall level of experience, have a set of desired skills and know-how.

Let’s look at some other drawbacks of building an in-house design team:

  • Additional efforts to find, hire, further manage and motivate a designer. Later you’ll have to manage the overhead of their salaries, benefits and time off.
  • In-house designers may not have a skill set as deep or as broad as agency employees will.
  • If you need to scale up your design program rapidly, you may be slowed down by having to find and hire more employees.
  • The in-house designer understands the inner company’s kitchen well, but he will not be able to solve the problem that requires an outside view – a new approach.
  • A key team member can suddenly go on vacation or take sick leave and you are left without a designer for this period.
  • As a rule, a specialist, who solves typical everyday problems does not develop as a professional, gradually loses interest in work.
  • You need to clearly understand who and why you are looking for, what skills and abilities are most important to you.

The creative person hates routine and is inspired by interesting projects. You will need to provide him with a flow of various tasks and come to terms with some “features” of creative personalities: free schedule, mood swings, intolerance of criticism. Ready? Then feel free to take him to your team.

Outsourcing of creative tasks

Many companies choose to outsource all creative tasks to design studios. This is the usual approach of medium and large businesses, when concentration on their own business brings more income and it makes no sense to close all business tasks with full-time employees.

This option is suitable for you if:

  • You have a constant need for innovative and fresh ideas for your casino games.
  • You have high requirements for the level of game design.
  • You have high expectations on designers and animators.

When the volume of tasks for designers crosses a critical threshold, the most obvious solution is to find an agency.

Benefits of hiring a design agency:

  • We are fluent in the best practices of almost every drawing style. We have professionals who have worked on dozens of accounts.
  • We are able to work far more efficiently than an in-house team. Because we handle so much work, we have state-of-the-art workflows and processes that are built for volume, efficiency, and quality.
  • We already have all the necessary specialists and you will communicate with only one person – the project manager. 
  • There are many designers in the agency, and if one of them falls short for your task or creatively “burns out” to your project, another designer or a whole team starts working with you immediately.
  • Over the years of work in a design agency, many different tasks, projects and companies go through the hands and heads of designers – each with its own characteristics, which allows designers to grow very quickly as professionals: it develops taste, quick response, technique, and a general understanding of what works best in game design.

You don’t need to worry about the technical support, development and training of designers: all this rests on the shoulders of the head of the agency. And for us, believe me, these are issues of increased importance: it depends on them whether good designers and money customers will come to us.

Imagine: the day after tomorrow you have a speech, you need to draw a presentation on 50 slides. At best, the in-house designer will deliver it. He will skip the night sleep and rest, give up on current work (there is no time), give up all other tasks – and do it. At worst, he will say, “It’s impossible.”

The agency has the resources to distribute the task to different designers and complete it normally without losing quality. This works not only with urgent tasks, but also with planned ones. What one person spends a week on, the agency will “close” in a couple of days.

So how do you to pick the right one?

When it comes to serious design of user interaction with the product, frequent user testing, the choice between “one in-house designer” or “the whole outsourced team” is obvious.

Design has become a profession that is too big to fit within one company. This is why large companies are more willing to build long-term partnerships with design studios that specialize in design or completely buy out design teams (out staffing), rather than create them from scratch in their own state.

It all come to your priorities. What is currently your goal and how much time or recourses you have to achieve it.

If you have any questions regarding casino game design or animations leave your contacts below and we will contact to discuss how our team could help you.