Types of Graphic Design Agencies

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What kinds of graphic design agencies are there?

Types of Graphic Design Agencies

The word "agency" covers a lot of ground, and that means freelancers need to do their homework before deciding to let a graphic design agency market their skills. Here are some of the different kinds of agencies you might encounter:

  • Advertising agencies: Hire designers (full-time or freelance) as part of providing comprehensive advertising solutions to clients. May also include marketing and PR divisions.
  • Design shops: Often small companies that specialize in one aspect of design (such as Web design or trade-show booths). May hire freelancers on a contract basis when extra work piles up. If you join one full-time, you'll often be expected to give up your freelance clients -- or bring them on board with you.
  • Design staffing agencies: Provide companies with creative staffers much as a temp agency provides paralegals or bookkeepers. May provide some interesting work and a chance to scope out multiple organizations in your market, but ask questions if your real goal is to bring in freelance projects.
  • Freelance directories or networks: Often Web-based, these groups can be small or large, banding together to increase their presence in the market and share work. May be beneficial, particularly if you land a project that includes work outside your area of expertise, but most are informal and have no one in charge of marketing their services.



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Lynne Christen