4 Drawbacks of In-house Design Teams


In-house design teams are a necessity in some types of businesses. In others, they can be a luxury.

It all depends on the size and requirements of a business. A law firm will not need as many design assets as a small retailer, even if they employ as many people or have similar income levels.

However, it’s clear that most businesses in this day and age will have to employ designers at some point, simply due to the fact that good design is a necessity if one wants an effective online presence. Websites, social media pages, videos, and other types of media are now part of the current small business landscape, when just a generation ago, the only time one needed to employ designers was when you had a sign or business cards made.

What’s more, these designs assets often need to be updated fairly frequently. This makes the idea of employing in-house designers more attractive than it’s ever been. But while there are definite plusses to having your own in-house team, there are also a number of drawbacks.

Here are four drawbacks to maintaining an in-house design team.

1.) They’re expensive to maintain

We’re not talking about salaries either. You also have to spend to make sure they have the equipment they need and to ensure their skill are up-to-date and well-developed. You’re also paying for downtime, if any.

Outsourced designers on the other hand, already have their own equipment and can be paid on a per-project basis. If you only need a low volume of design assets, outsourcing to a digital design company is usually the best option.

2.)  They’re often overburdened

Having an in-house design team will free up a business to do all sorts of things. What often happens is, the amount of work for the team (or the single designer) will be greater than their ability to perform it well. Many business owners are also unwilling to invest in additional capacity if the current team seems to be doing OK. As a result, most in-house teams tend to accumulate a sizable backlog.

3.) Creativity usually stagnates

In-house designers can quite easily get stuck in a rut, especially if they’re working on the same projects day in and day out.  It’s easy to see how one’s imagination can stagnate if you don’t get to work on more varied projects. Outsourced creatives, on the other hand, may often have fresh perspectives on your business from working with a wide variety of other clients. This is especially true for experienced digital agencies who can even assign someone with experience in your field to your project.

4.) Internal teams are usually jacks-of-all-trades – and masters of none

This is especially true in a small business setting where a small team of designers, or more often, just one designer is tasked to perform a variety of different tasks without ever getting the opportunity to truly master them. There are exceptions, of course, especially in larger businesses or in businesses that are design-oriented themselves.

However, the reality of most small in-house teams is that they are often made to do all manner of different design tasks that may be out of scope for their specialization. While there are benefits to this, efficiency can suffer on some types of projects.

Are there other drawbacks to internal design teams? Drop us a comment!