Building a Cost-Effective UX/UI Design Team

Updated: Sep 28




You have a fantastic product idea that could revolutionize the world. Your team is good at what it does, and you’re ready to pitch your idea to potential investors. All you need is a great product design to impress them. How would you proceed?


In an alternate scenario, a multi-national company is planning to diversify its product range. They have all the resources to hire the best designers for the project, but where do they start?


Effective design is essential for enhancing your product value and making it more appealing for your potential customers. Good UX/UI design can also foster customer loyalty and open up markets easily. Hence, putting together the perfect UX design team is vital for ensuring the success of any new product.


Keep reading how you can build the right design team for your company irrespective of the size.



UX Design Team for Early-stage start-ups

For most early-stage start-ups, the product design is still in the ideation stage. Hence, you need a team that can focus on scalability and build the product design from an idea into a prototype. 


Here are the roles integral to your design team if you have recently built your start-up.

  • Senior UX design consultant: A senior UX design consultant is critical for developing your product and building a scalability plan for the future. An experienced design consultant can help you refine your product idea in a way that can bring actual market gains once it’s launched. They can also help you formulate product growth strategies for the future. 

  • Junior UI designers: Once you’ve the refined product idea and its specifics, any junior UI designer can make a clickable prototype for you to pitch to the investors. They also focus on the interface and micro-interactions to make it more customer-friendly.

  • Visual designers: Visual designers are the final touches to your design team and make your product idea look visually appealing. 

Budget’s almost always limited at this stage. Hence, you should keep in mind the long-term costs of hiring any design professional when you make a decision. You can hire part-time consultants for 30-40 hours at an hourly rate of 50-60$.


You can afford to hire a full-time junior UI and visual designer since they don’t charge as much as experienced UI/UX designers.


Advantages and disadvantages

Having a small design team with a part-time senior consultant can be a cost-effective decision. Freelance professionals can also mean lesser liabilities for your company.

On the other hand, hiring full-time junior designers can increase management problems, especially if you are a first-time founder. Young designers tend to leave  frequently if they face limited exposure and a fast-paced work environment. Hence, you might also face a lower retention rate with your designers.


An alternative approach to solving these problems will be to hire a design agency from an Asian country like India. You can reduce your commitment and do without the management problems since the agency will certainly have their own team. 

A design agency can also provide you with a design consultant in addition to taking care of your junior staff.

Key Takeaway:

You need to bring in a senior design consultant whether he comes in part-time or as a part of an agency.




UX/UI design team for Mid-size start-ups and companies:


Unlike smaller start-ups, mid-size companies may already have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). What they might be looking for is to build on that. Ideally, at this stage, you’d do well to hire a team that can work on a long-term basis.

Here’s what you’d need for a design team in a mid-size start-up:

  • UX design Head: A UX design head can provide you with a bird’s eye view of your product design. They also collaborate with the technological and business aspects of your company.

  • Design Manager: A design manager can act as the bridge between your design head and the design team. Presence of this role depends on the size of the design team. A manager is required for managing a team of 6-7 designers. If your design team is smaller, you may not need a design manager.

  • UX/UI and Visual Designers: These professionals form the design team in a mid-size company. As the design requirements at this stage can become complicated, it can be a good idea to hire experienced or mid-level designers.

Mid-size start-ups usually look for long-term commitments and have specific investment budgets for their product. Hence, you can hire full-time employees for better fidelity and fewer managerial issues.

Pros & Cons

With more well-structured responsibilities and more precise execution of ideas, you can see better results with a larger design team at this stage. Additionally, having multiple mid-level UX-UI designers at hand can allow you to quickly test different design prototypes. This design-first approach can save enormous costs in product development and provide better clarity.

However, there can be other potential downsides. A larger team can mean more hiring challenges and higher liabilities for you. Plus, if you hire extra UI/UX resources during the design stage, it can lead to more extended bench periods for them and lower retention rates.

Bringing in a design agency at an hourly rate can solve most of the problems mentioned above. Design agencies can bring in their own staff and have enough resources for occasional resource crunch periods, thereby helping you reduce your liabilities. 

You should, however, ensure that the agency can allocate specific resources to the project at a product development level and have enough experience in your domain.

Key Takeaway:

You need a strong product design team in a product-focused growing company. Hence, you should either hire an entire in-house team or outsource everything to an agency. Avoid splitting the team between an in-house component and an external agency.




UX UI Design teams for MNCs and Large organizations


MNCs and larger companies can reap the advantage of having extensive infrastructure and resources at their disposal. Hence, they need not hire external think-tanks like design consultants. Most MNCs have their own UX leads and product heads which can look after the product integration and functionality. Their design requirements are mainly restricted to product design execution. At this stage, hiring an external agency with enough experience can be the most effective alternative. 


Benefits and challenges

Hiring an experienced agency for your design requirements can ensure you received polished work. Besides, you can also eliminate the risk factor associated with hiring newcomers. While there are no significant disadvantages to hiring an experienced design agency, you have to be mindful of the involved costs. Professional design agencies charge as per their location and reputation—that might, however, not be an issue as MNCs usually have sufficient finance allocation for their projects.

Key Takeaway:

Your design execution should be outsourced to an experienced Design agency.



We have tried to cover all the likely scenarios and potential issues while building a UX design team in your company in this blog. If you want more specific advice, we encourage you to leave a comment below.

You can also read about the best models for engaging with UX design agencies here.


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