Think about a situation during which your organization should quickly redesign its cell app to include AI options like picture recognition, customer support chatbots, and residential screens tailor-made to person preferences. Nevertheless, your price range is tight, and your in-house designer hasn’t labored with AI options. Coaching will probably be costly and time-consuming, and can distract your designer from their core duties.
Given your timeline and restricted price range, you determine to rent a contract designer who focuses on AI and has intensive expertise implementing the options you want. When the freelancer joins your group, they apply learnings from earlier tasks and rapidly ship a research-informed prototype. After a short technique of testing and iteration, the brand new options go stay, and the venture concludes on schedule and below price range. This isn’t a dream—I’ve seen situations like this play out for 15 years as a contract UI/UX designer, throughout which I’ve partnered with various shoppers resembling Royal Financial institution of Canada, Xello, and Rocket Properties Actual Property. I’ve additionally been a part of a number of time-sensitive, cash-strapped tasks requiring specialised abilities and insights. It’s all the time inspiring and gratifying when my work positively influences my shoppers’ merchandise and their in-house designers.
As extra extremely expert workers turn to freelancing, enterprise leaders are seeing that productivity and creativity improve once they work with impartial expertise. Let’s look at three of the most important advantages that freelance designers can carry to your organization.
1. Entry to Rising and Specialised Expertise
Freelance designers are inclined to work on quite a few tasks and infrequently purchase new abilities to handle their shoppers’ extremely particular design issues. Stewart Pressney, Toptal’s Design Matching Staff Lead, says that entry to specialised abilities is likely one of the fundamental advantages of hiring freelance designers. In response to Pressney, impartial specialists are particularly efficient when firms carry them on for various levels of the design course of. “You may have somebody who’s nice at ideating and arising with ideas go their concepts off to somebody who’s good at implementing and creating pixel-perfect designs,” he says.
Freelancers are additionally a superb alternative for exploring cutting-edge tendencies and expertise. For example, you would possibly rent a contract illustrator who focuses on 3D modeling and rendering to create photos that make your digital content material extra compelling and simpler to grasp. Or you would have interaction a contract UX designer so as to add AR/VR options to your e-commerce app.
Think about generative AI brokers like OpenAI’s ChatGPT: These applied sciences have immense potential to rework digital services and products for the higher, however if you happen to’re at a startup or small firm, you might wrestle to draw design expertise with AI abilities. In such circumstances, impartial expertise could be a terrific strategy to fill the talents hole and reap the pace, effectivity, and customization AI affords.
2. Elevated Innovation and Creativity
For firms of any dimension, various views are important in finding effective solutions. As Toptal product designer Eric Müller Moreno says, outsiders have “extra freedom and openness to speak about harsh truths,” including that impartial specialists can uncover organizational inefficiencies which will have hindered earlier design efforts. Having consulted on product growth and design technique for Common Music Group, Deloitte, and the United Nations, he has the uncommon perspective of an business veteran who has partnered with organizations of all sizes.
For example, Moreno was employed by a subsidiary of a distinguished media model to refine the stay beta of its robo-investment app for buying shares and ETFs. The app prices customers primarily based on the funding kits they select. When Moreno got here to the venture, there was an MVP and a small person neighborhood, however the display group was clumsy, and the app provided restricted selections for investing. Most of all, it didn’t replicate the maturity and distinction of the father or mother model.
In some methods, the answer was hidden in plain view. “What I made a decision to do was, actually, simply observe the [parent company’s] model information,” Moreno says. “There was good work accomplished. It was fairly concise … we simply wanted to raise it.”
To try this, the group developed subscription-based investment kits. Customers may decide from a number of funding methods, unfold their investments throughout sectors and fund sorts, and determine what share of their portfolio they needed allotted to every. The app’s algorithms then monitored and managed the portfolio, leveraging an AI agent to make sure diversification and safety towards draw back dangers.
The venture started as a beauty intervention, however Moreno’s perception into the subscription fashions of SaaS merchandise outdoors the fintech sector elevated it to a brand new degree. His wide-ranging design experiences knowledgeable new options, together with thematic buying and selling choices, an funding dashboard, monetary purpose setting, and an improved onboarding movement. And, the choice to carry better transparency to the cost mannequin contributed to a 144% improve in income per person, a 275% improve in belongings below administration development, and a 40% improve in total product development.
3. Value Financial savings
One cause firms would possibly hesitate to rent freelance designers is perceived price. At face worth, an impartial expertise’s hourly fee seems increased than an worker’s. However firms hiring freelancers don’t should pay for 401(okay) plans, well being and incapacity insurance coverage, parental and medical go away, inventory choices, or efficiency bonuses. Moreover, most freelance designers work remotely on a per-project foundation, that means firms can theoretically additionally get monetary savings by utilizing smaller offices and never paying underutilized full-time staff throughout lulls within the product growth course of.
Companies can even rent impartial specialists to fill short-term roles which can be usually carried out by high-earning staff. For instance, Jake Kahana, a Toptal model designer, just lately partnered with an actual property company on an app design venture that wanted to be accomplished rapidly. The company lacked the funds for a full-time inventive director, however Kahana gave the corporate the strategic management perspective it wanted at a fee that labored for its price range. Overseeing a group of junior designers, he directed a fast-tracked effort to get the app up and operating whereas constructing belief among the many company’s shoppers that the design imaginative and prescient was grounded in enterprise targets. Kahana entered the position with vetted experience and effectively delivered an answer the company wouldn’t have been capable of afford in any other case.
Select the Proper Freelance Designer for Your Subsequent Mission
Whether or not you want a graphic designer, UX researcher, or AI specialist, the advantages of hiring freelance designers are clear: Companies that accomplish that are capable of leverage the nuanced abilities of design professionals who carry contemporary views to tasks—whereas preserving prices in test. The designers, in the meantime, get to be extra intentional in forging their profession paths, getting access to various and significant alternatives that may speed up their skilled development. It’s a win-win scenario.
“As an impartial designer, you get alternatives to see totally different firms, totally different organizations, and other ways of doing issues. You’re capable of be reactive in a manner an in-house particular person may not be. Professionally, I’ve had entry to tasks I by no means imagined I’d have had,” Moreno says, pointing to his current work on an AI-powered database for the United Nations. “Whenever you do one thing like that, it actually provides you a way of function.”