10 min to read

Outsourced or In-House UI/UX Design: Which Is Better for Your Business?

Oct 05, 2023

In-house vs. UI/UX design outsourcing


According to the five-year-long McKinsey Design Index study, companies who constantly invested in their design outperformed their peers at nearly twice the rate in terms of revenues and shareholder returns. No wonder since design is the heartbeat of your brand. And great UI/UX design is the catalyst that makes you stand out from your industry counterparts. 

Developing sleek, user-friendly interfaces requires deep industry expertise and a keen understanding of human-centered design principles. And here come two options to cover that need — outsourcing design or hiring in-house specialists. Both of them can help you cope with a task, but each has its twists. 

This article will dive into the ins and outs of each option and highlight the cases where they work best. 

Why Choose Design Outsourcing: Pros and Cons

Outsourcing entails delegating design-related tasks to third-party design agencies or freelancers. The 2022 Deloitte global outsourcing survey stated that the absence of a proper retention strategy, high operating costs, capacity gaps, and talent scarcity are the most common reasons for companies to refer to outsourcing.

Reasons for outsourcing design services

But is the game worth the candle? Let’s consider the pros and cons of outsourcing design services to find out.

Pros of UI/UX design outsourcing

Outsourcing is quite diverse in its nature. The outcomes of cooperation may differ significantly depending on whether you hire a professional design agency or a freelancer. Design agencies usually have established processes for project management, quality assurance, client communication, and data security. This means they can efficiently handle long-term partnerships and provide continuity and support as your design needs evolve.

Here are the benefits cooperation with a design agency can bring to your company.


  • Access to diverse talents. Outsourcing gives you access to a wide range of expertise and helps you reduce homogeneity. Working with designers from diverse backgrounds can help you eliminate biases in design creation and bring fresh ideas and a different perspective to your projects. This fosters inclusivity,  innovation, and creative problem-solving.
  • Faster time to market. Outsourcing design to a specialized design studio lets you quickly assemble a team of skilled designers with focused expertise in the field. This expedites the commencement of your design project, allowing you to meet tight deadlines and respond promptly to market demands.
  • Scalability. App design outsourcing provides the flexibility to choose a cooperation model and scale your design needs up or down quickly. Whether you need a small design task or a large-scale project, outsourcing allows you to access the right level of expertise without hiring and training additional in-house designers. This is particularly valuable for projects with fluctuating workloads or tight deadlines. 
  • Cost efficiency. Outsourcing UI/UX design to countries with more affordable rates can result in significant cost reductions compared to hiring in-house designers. In fact, 59% of companies report they achieved cost savings by choosing an outsourcing model. The savings come from reducing the risks of hiring and managing in-house design staff (e.g., turnover, training costs, benefits, or paid sick leaves).


To sum up, UI/UX design outsourcing provides agility, access to specialized skills, and cost-efficiency while freeing up your internal resources to focus on core business activities.

Cons of outsourcing design to an agency

Outsourcing UI/UX design can work well for many companies, but there are also potential drawbacks and additional efforts that you should consider. 


  • Remote work. Outsourcing often entails collaborating with companies from overseas, which could mean time differences impacting real-time collaboration. Managing a team from afar will require additional efforts like establishing overlapping working hours so there’s dedicated time for discussions and problem-solving.

Tip: Bridging the gap between geographically dispersed teams is crucial. Use digital communication tools like video conferences, chats, and project management software to maintain seamless communication. Schedule regular check-ins to ensure everyone is on the same page.


  • Cultural differences. Working with remote design teams might stumble upon differences in communication styles and cultural nuances. Establishing clear communication channels and setting expectations from the beginning is crucial to ensure a smooth workflow.

Tip: Share your company’s values, culture, and brand guidelines with the outsourcing team. Encourage a collaborative environment where they can understand and align their designs with your vision.


To reap all the benefits and mitigate potential cons, check the agency’s portfolio, case studies and ask for references before starting cooperation. Websites like Clutch and Superb Companies list independent reviews and can help you make the right choice.

Pros and cons of UI/UX design outsourcing

Why Hire a Full-Time In-House Designer

Bringing a dedicated, permanent design professional to the team allows for greater alignment with your brand vision. Just like UI/UX design outsourcing, the process of recruiting and training in-house designers comes with several pros and cons.

Pros of having an in-house designer

While having an in-house UI/UX designer may not be the initial choice during the early stages of a business, it becomes a crucial decision as the demand for design work grows.

Here are the benefits you get by hiring a dedicated designer.


  • Immediate supervision. Hiring in-house specialists lets you directly manage their work and oversee the process. They can collaborate closely with your team members, allowing for real-time feedback and revisions.
  • Instant communication. In-house designers are physically present within your organization, making communication more immediate and efficient. You can easily have face-to-face meetings, collaborate in real-time, and provide instant feedback.
  • Incorporated expertise. In-house designers can become more integrated into your team, allowing for a deeper understanding of your company’s goals, projects, and branding. They can provide ongoing support and be readily available when new design needs arise.


Besides, while the initial cost of hiring an in-house designer may be higher than outsourcing on a per-project basis, it can be more cost-effective if your design needs are ongoing and require continuous work.

Cons of hiring an in-house designer

Having an in-house designer comes with its own set of challenges and potential drawbacks. You should carefully weigh the key weak points before bringing internal designers on board. Here are some of them.


  • Limited access to talent. With remote work becoming a new normal, candidates tend to choose the most beneficial option over local positions. This makes finding and keeping talent with the right skills at a reasonable cost a main internal challenge for companies to meet their strategic priorities. 

Tip: Consider hiring remote UI/UX designers or collaborating with outsourcing design agencies to fill in the talent gap. This will give you access to a wider pool of candidates with diverse backgrounds (which is especially handy when your software product targets other countries’ markets).


  • Costs. The average UI/UX designer’s salary depends on many factors, including experience and location. For instance, a designer in the United States earns around $ 72,000 per year, while in Eastern Europe, it could be three times less. Yet, hiring and maintaining an in-house designer involves expenses beyond just salary, like benefits, office space, equipment, software licenses, and ongoing training. These costs can add up significantly.

Tip: Hiring designers from countries with more affordable rates can help you minimize expenses while working with experienced professionals. 


  • Recruitment delays. The process of recruiting and onboarding an in-house designer can be time-consuming. Recent studies show that finding a suitable candidate takes around 44 days. And if we take the time to get them up to speed with your company’s processes and culture — this would take additional weeks or even months, which could delay important design projects.

Tip: Collaborating with design agencies can help you find reliable candidates faster, as the agency will take over the hiring process. So, you’ll get vetted experts to work remotely with your in-house team.


  • Risk of employee turnover. In-house designers are subject to the same turnover risks as any other employees. If your in-house designer decides to leave the company, you may face disruptions in ongoing projects and must invest time and resources in finding a replacement.

Tip: Having a talent pipeline can help you expedite the process of hiring a new designer. Also, consider hiring remote professionals or collaborating with design agencies to ensure that your ongoing projects continue without major disruptions.

Pros and cons of having an in-house designer

Now that we’ve explored the advantages and disadvantages of hiring an in-house designer, it’s essential to consider how this decision fits into your broader design strategy. So, let’s look at the factors that can influence your choice.

Choosing Between In-House Design And Outsourcing: What To Consider

When deciding between outsourcing design services and hiring an in-house team, several critical factors come into play. Carefully evaluating these factors will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your company’s goals and resources. 

Here’s a comparison table to help you choose the right fit for your project.

Hiring an in-house designer vs. design agency

In a nutshell, hiring an in-house designer is a strategic choice when your organization requires immediate responsiveness, budget predictability, alignment with company culture, and long-term dedication. Chose this option if you:

  • Need to stick to the defined budget and have predictable ongoing costs (e.g., regular monthly salary and outlined benefits)
  • Require quick response times for design changes, updates, or last-minute projects
  • Have consistent and ongoing need for specific design work (e.g., requiring knowledge of local peculiarities, tradition, etc.)


Outsourcing design can be a practical solution to address hiring challenges and unlock numerous opportunities for your company. Chose this option if you:

  • Need specialized design skills that aren’t readily available in-house (e.g., U/IUX design)
  • Have resource constraints when your in-house design team is already stretched thin or if you have limited designers at hand
  • Need to reduce overhead costs associated with hiring and maintaining an in-house design team (e.g., salaries, benefits, office space)


Each situation may require a tailored approach to result in more efficient operations and better outcomes.

The good thing is you don’t need to stick to one option only.

You can scale up your in-house team by partnering with a design agency. This approach will give you the advantages of both options and help you bring diversity and fresh ideas to your project.

Create Exceptional UI/UX Design With Leobit Design Studio

Powered by a leading software development company, Leobit Design Studio stands as a dedicated team of passionate design experts with a keen eye and wide expertise in UI/UX design. 

Recognizing that design is a vital cornerstone of any digital project development, our experts can guide you through the design process and cover every step, including:


  • UI/UX design consulting and audit 
  • Product research and analysis
  • Navigation maps development
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Web and mobile design development
  • User testing


We can work with projects of different scales and assign a dedicated UX/UI team to meet your demands and timeline. Despite its young age, Leobit Design Studio has already topped the best UI/UX design agency rating, according to SuperbCompanies. We have experience in a wide range of industries, including retail, entertainment, and wellness. Check our portfolio and case studies to learn more.

In a Nutshell

Choosing between an in-house design team and outsourcing design services can be a pivotal decision for your company. It should align with your business needs, resources, budget expectations, and long-term goals. 

While having in-house experts can offer you predictability and stable expenses, it incurs low flexibility and risks of disruptions if an employee leaves the company. App or web design outsourcing allows you to scale your design needs quickly and gives you access to a wide talent pool across the globe. Choosing a design agency that shares your vision and setting up clear communication channels can help you round the corners and ensure smooth cooperation.

Leobit Design Studio has already proved to be a trusted partner for many companies, helping them bring their vision to life. Check our portfolio and contact us to learn more about our experience.


Inna Fishchuk

Inna Fishchuk

Market Data Analyst

So tell us about your project...


We use cookie files to make the best experience. Check our privacy policy