Having an internal design team or even a single full-time designer can be a boon to any business. However, these internal teams almost always have roadblocks in their growth, as there is usually little opportunity to branch out in their expertise. If design is not part of the core service of a business, the internal team inevitably gets spread too thin and are rarely able to develop sufficient breadth or depth without them having to take a lot of individual initiative. Hiring an external digital design company can sometimes be instrumental in getting internal teams out of a rut.
Here are a few ways having a digital design company supplement your internal team can kickstart their growth.
1.) They expose your team to new ideas
Agency creatives, as a rule, work with far more brands than the usual internal creative. While this often means they are not always in a position to do deep dives into a specific brand, they do tend to have a broader understanding of different design challenges affecting other companies in different industries.
Having a wider pool of knowledge to draw from has often been associated with “eureka moments”, where someone is able to come up with a solution due to their experience in a totally different area. With agency people working closely with your team, chances are some of that knowledge will get passed on.
2.) They can introduce a healthy bit of competition
The hiring of external agencies is often seen as a lack of faith in the internal team’s abilities and relationships between the agency and internal creatives can often be antagonistic.
While this is not the ideal scenario, when there is proper transparency and a correct setting of expectations, this energy can be harnessed into a form of healthy competition. The key is to allow both teams to work closely so that they can interact more freely and develop closer bonds. You might find that after the agency’s contract is up, your internal team has also changed for the better thanks to the regular interaction.
3.) Design companies can give your team an idea of different “best practices”
Digital design agencies are almost always working under a time constraint, and only those with efficient processes can survive. When your internal team works with creatives who experience those conditions, chances are they will be exposed to the processes that allow better designs and faster turnaround times to happen. This will often lead to improvements in your own internal team’s processes.
4.) They can give your team an idea of what’s wrong with your status quo
When you hire an agency, one of the first things they will do is see what specific problems need to be solved. After all, why hire them if there is nothing to fix?
A lot of the time, this initial analysis will reveal issues are not immediately obvious to those inside of the organization. In most cases, it can help lead to some very serious realizations about the brand and the direction of the business. From there, you and your internal design team will have to make serious decisions on where to take your organization.
Many people only consider digital design companies to be hired hands, just more people to fill a specific need at a specific time. While this is mostly true, a smarter way to look at things would be to consider them catalysts for growth that continues well after that first contract expires.