Knowing that you love art and you love graphic design is one thing, but knowing where you want to offer this passion is quite another. In general, graphic designers have three options when it comes to employment: In-house, agency, and freelance. Although designers will be doing similar jobs in each situation—creating ad campaigns, tag lines, graphics for a website, etc.—the environment provides a very different experience.
Many designers do shift from one to another back and forth, but the majority of designers stick to one type of graphic design job. If a designer is used to working in a design agency and has the experience, this is usually where he/she will stay. Therefore, it is important to realize the pros and cons to each type of job so that you can make sure you’re working in the environment that is right for you. Consider below some of the differences between these three options:
( Photo credit: inhousedesign )
Graphic Design in an Agency
Working in an agency simply means that you would be working with a group of graphic designers and have several different clients. You would be working in an office with other designers as your co-workers, and you will be working on several different projects. A client may call a design agency and ask for assistance with a project. This project would then get delegated down to you, you complete the project, and then you move on to the next client.
Graphic Design In-House
Working as a graphic designer in-house means that you are working for one company and working in the office of that company. This means that your co-workers will be your typical business department workers such as accountants, marketing professionals, IT staff, and salesmen and saleswomen. In some cases, there will only be one or two graphic designers. Your projects will be projects for that company every single day whether it be creating a banner ad for that company, helping create a logo for that company, or trying different website photos for that company.
Graphic Design as a Freelancer
Being a freelance graphic designer means that you are your own boss and operate your own business. You get to choose your schedule and the clients you work with, but you must make sure that you have a solid portfolio for others to see. It is also your responsibility to find your own jobs and find your own clients. You may even want to consider creating your own website for those interested. Many graphic designers become freelance designers after working at either an agency or in-house first.
Many designers take the first job they can find, which is not a bad idea. Times are tough, and beggars can’t be choosers. However, there will come a time when you get your experience and more job opportunities open up, and this is when understanding these key differences will matter.
Do you work as an agency, in-house, or freelance designer? What has been your experience?
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to business proposals. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including VoIP phone systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business directory, Business.com.