Written by Rasha AlSharqawi
This blog is a pros and cons summary of hiring local designers vs. non-local designers for your new design project. It provides a quick overview of major challenges and opportunities you as an employer, might experience when dealing with either.
Table of Content:
- General Considerations Set by Your Design Brief
- The Comparison
- The Hiring Process
As a business with a design project on the horizon, one major task that is detrimental to the success of said project is hiring the right designer. And if you’re looking specifically for a freelance designer, then thanks to the internet and technology, you have access to unlimited numbers of designers worldwide who are willing to work with you to achieve your businesses’ goals.
A common question to ask when beginning the hiring process is whether to assign a local designer to the project or find someone from further away (by local I refer to a designer who is either a resident or from the same geographical area as your target audience). Each type of hire has unique characteristics and can add to your design project; however which of both is more suited to your design outcome?
In this blog, I am addressing this issue and hopefully will be able to help you understand the general challenges and opportunities each designer would impose on your design project.
General Considerations Set by Your Design Brief
Your design project begins once your design brief is created. This document provides the first hint on who to hire based on the parameters of your project. Alongside your company ethos and intended outcomes of the project, the design brief provides goals that guide the project, such as strengthening the local customer base, expanding to new consumer groups in the community, or providing our customers with a world-class experience. Such goals stress the capabilities a designer should have such as experience with a specific target audience or familiarity with the audience’s culture or language or even community.
Once your outline the key skills needed by your project, it is important that you compare what a local designer versus a non-local designer would each bring to the table. Based on my personal experience, the best way of addressing a ‘for and against’ comparison is by using pen and paper and listing down the pros and cons of each choice and their impact on your project. Here are some general pros and cons to consider for each designer group.
- They would know the area and can therefore manage using local resources to their benefit
- They are more likely to make decisions that adhere to the business values and common practices since they know the local culture
- Knowing the local culture allows them to understand the do’s and don’ts in different contexts
- They would operate in the same time zone
- They most probably speak the local language or are very familiar with the local dialect and can therefore incorporate local symbols and phrases within the design when needed
- Having a deep understanding of the local users/ clientele is an advantage to your project
- Hiring them empowers local economies
- Meeting with local designers face-to-face would be easier to set up
- Limited choice of designers especially if the project is located in a small town
- Designers are very much influenced by the local context and might therefore have limited exposure and therefore provide an output that is consistent with what is already there
- Can be cheaper especially when looking for designers to provide you with specific tasks
- Many options to choose from
- Provide a fresh outlook on things and can provide new and original ideas which can give an advantage over competitors since they are ‘outsiders’
- Communications between you and the designer or between the designer and audience can be difficult if they speak a different language especially since things can get lost in translation
- Extra time in the project timelines might be added to familiarize the designer with the audience and their culture.
- Dealing with a remote designer might reduce their availability due to different time zones
The Hiring Process
Looking for platforms to find designers through is always daunting since you don’t know where to start. A simple Google search may always come in handy when it comes to hiring design offices whether local or not; freelancers however rely on online platforms such as Flan to find opportunities and post their work or personal networks and word of mouth. On Flan, you can find a network of great designers vetted out by the platform personnel to ensure a great quality of service for you. Additionally, since empowering local economies is one of the platform’s values, Flan’s search algorithm prioritizes suitable designers based on geographical proximity to your project first. That way you are automatically presented with a local pool of designers who will comply with major criteria in regards to your suitable design.
Today, designers are known for their agility and adaptation to different work situations, finding the right designer is a tough decision. Local and non-local designers are equally equipped with unique sets of experiences and skills that set them apart, yet the most important factor is not related to them. It is related to you as a business, your design project deliverables, and your goals. So assess each advantage and disadvantage against what you need, which challenges are you willing to take on or not, and then make a decision.
I hope this blog eased some of your worries when considering whom to hire for your upcoming design project. Comment below to share your ideas and questions, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join FLAN’s community of freelancers and employers on discord and stay updated by following FLAN on its social media platforms LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram.