6 things you need to know before hiring a design agency
Selecting an agency to answer your business design needs can be daunting. There are design agencies on your doorstep and ones that seem to be a million miles away, all with different types of expertise, styles and ideas. So, how do you choose?
We’ve put together the top 6 things you need consider when looking for the perfect design agency for your business.
1. Meet regularly, ideally face-to-face
This might seem obvious but you’re going to be able to build a much stronger relationship if you can meet your design team in person, even if it’s just for the initial meeting. Modern forms of technology are great for keeping in touch, but the start of a strong working relationship starts when you are all in the same room. The agency will get a feel for you and your business much better than they would over the phone or via email. Plus, if you want other design work doing in the future it’s easy to keep in contact and feel confident that they know your style and what you’re after.
One of the easiest ways to find out about agencies near you is to simply type it into Google. For example “design agency Berkshire” or "design agency Wiltshire" - remember to put your text between speech marks for a more accurate search.
You should also ask your inner circle and networking connections for recommendations, or put out a post on LinkedIn. A personal recommendation goes a long way. At Planet, we pride ourselves on the work that we do, and we get regular referrals from our clients who very kindly pass on our details.
2. Be clear on what you want to achieve from your design project
Knowing what you want to achieve will help you get the best possible results from your chosen design agency. We often hear clients saying their aim is to ‘look more professional’, but when we delve a little deeper we find the real aims are wider reaching. These could be things such as, improve brand awareness, increase website traffic, attract bigger clients or increase sales. These are often the end result of reinvigorating or creating a brand and a good agency will recognise this.
When you sit down to write a brief for a branding agency think about:
Who is your target market (what customers do you want to reach?)
What are your business goals (we touched on this above - growth, traffic, increased awareness?)
How do you want to come across (take a look at point 4 below for help with this)
We have a helpful briefing document available that we can provide to our clients to help them build a comprehensive brief.
3. Consider reasonable deadlines and budgets
Being realistic with time management and factoring in any seasonal demand for your products or services will help us when delivering your project. For example, if you’re launching a range of new Christmas gifts make sure you don’t wait until November to get in touch - agencies need time to work their creative genius!
Similarly, if you want an entire brand redesign, think about the level of design work that goes into making your company stand out in the marketplace and allow a big enough budget to reflect this. We know clients sometimes don’t like to talk about budgets, but it is important to be realistic. If you can be upfront about how much you’re willing to spend a design agency can work with you to find a service that fits your needs.
4. Find examples of the type of style you’d like to create… and the ones you don’t!
Providing a strong starting point of how you envision your brand is really important. Writing down your company values, marketing messages, and a brief summary of your business history are all incredibly helpful.
It’s also a good idea to take a peek at companies you look up to and see what your larger competitors are doing for inspiration. You can include links to their websites in your brief, or you could create a board on Pinterest with styles, colours and anything else that catches your eye to show an agency what you’re drawn to. It all helps give a better idea of how to approach your project.
The other good thing to do is show your agency styles that you definitely don't like, and why. Any information you can share is always really useful in helping to achieve the final outcome.
5. Check out the work of your preferred design agencies
Once you have shortlisted a few agencies that you are interested in, it’s time to check if they know their stuff.
The first place to start is on their website. Is it updated regularly with new client testimonials and case studies? Do they publish thought-provoking blog posts that share new ideas, processes or values? Are they active on social media? Do you click with their about page and how they come across?
Of course complex projects can take a long time to complete, but good design agencies will at least use blogs and social media to show they’re active and buzzing! Look out for case studies for companies similar to yours, to paint a picture of how they might approach your project.
6. Make contact
Now it's time to get in touch. Give your preferred design agency a call or send them a friendly email to find out what they can do for you. Be sure to include a brief summary of your company, your goals, and the examples of work you like (from point 4 above).
Once you have made contact, consider which you connect with the most. Have they taken the time to respond in a timely manner by writing a friendly email back or, better still, called you up to discuss? If it's radio silence and it's left to you to chase, it probably doesn't bode well for their management capabilities so it might be best to keep looking.
Asking questions about projects similar to yours and what initial ideas they have are all great ways to get a feel for an agency’s style and process. Now all you need to do is arrange a meeting and ask for their suggestions on how best to achieve your design goals. Don’t forget to ask who will be managing your account and working on the project.
We know we might be jumping ahead here, but we suspect you’re reading this article for a reason - you need a design agency in Berkshire or Wiltshire? If that’s the case, we’d love to be on your shortlist. It’s so easy to get in touch, all you need to do is give us a call or fill in our short contact form and we’ll take care of the rest.