You Don’t Need An In-House Creative

Creativity doesn’t thrive under captivity.

It is arguable that a structured environment is not optimal for creative inspiration. All artists work in different fashions, but breaking out of routine to invent something new often requires a free space and variety. Office walls, agenda heavy meetings and streams of emails to answer interrupt the ability of an artist to achieve a focused state of flow where the magic happens. Free range chickens produce the best eggs.

Once a creative problem is solved with a fresh perspective, stagnation follows.

When a creative challenge presents itself, it is full of potential outcomes. So much potential to make it better through design. The artist focuses their energy in finding the best possible solution, works with the client to achieve their goals and collectively provides results. After that initial victory, the production cycle comes around and new opportunities arise to tweak and further hone the product. But as more and more cycles return, without the vigor of reinvention, the results start becoming the same. The problem has been solved. 

It isn’t cheaper to domesticate.

The hourly or project rate of a freelancer or agency can sometimes be a shock, and the first counter-response is that it would be cheaper to hire an in-house creative. On paper, their hourly rate will be less than the rate of freelance talent. But, consider these factors:

  • Do you need 2080 hours (1 year) of freelance work?
  • Do you factor in the cost of benefits?
  • How many hours in an 8 hour day are in-house staff creatively productive?

If you add up the total hours of work that you need, subtract the cost of benefits and count that all billable hours are productive hours. More often than not, it is more cost effective to outsource.

Joining the company culture is too close for comfort.

The argument for an in-sourced creative member is that they know your company culture. The unmentioned part of this is that as you become more infused in the company culture, the more departments want to bring in an outside perspective. Perspective is something that you gain from outside of a system. After the honeymoon year, it’s all bargaining and politics.

You need a Creative Partner.

Someone who knows you, but brings in an outside point-of-view.

Think of your family doctor, mechanic or tradesman that you call in a pinch. If you have a problem, you call in a specialist that does this all of the time and has seen all kinds of situations before. You don’t hire a mechanic to hang out at your garage every day.