Does size matter? Choosing your design agency.

As a smaller design agency we compete on creativity, service, as well as on price. This is despite our size, or perhaps increasingly because of it.

In recent years, we have welcomed many new clients who have migrated from larger, prestigious agencies. By listening to those clients, we have identified factors that are influencing this migration.

From their design agency, clients expect the following:

  • Regular, proactive contact with the designer working on their project
  • Speedy responses throughout the process
  • A thorough understanding of their business and the aims of the project in hand
  • Value for money and a substantial return on their investment
  • To be loved!

Large agencies offer flexibility with many designers available to take on multiple projects, but does this present any worthwhile advantage to the individual client?

The client/designer relationship

Large agencies will appoint an Account Manager to oversee the project to act as go-between from client to designer and vice-versa, which can result in the vision and requirements of the client becoming fractured or lost in translation. Some agencies go so far as to strategically place designers in an ivory tower to prevent them from having to deal with the demands of the client, thereby allowing the creative juices to flow.

Small design agencies understand your business

In a smaller agency there is no such detachment, the designer is hands-on and speaks directly to the client. We get to know their business; their ethos, their target market, the root to that market and how a new project can fit into their overall marketing strategy. We encourage an “open door” relationship because communication yields results, and the client should never feel that anything is “too much trouble”.

Collaboration adds value to any design project

Design is very much a collaborative process. Whereas larger agencies are restricted to use specialists who are on the payroll, smaller agencies have a wide network of photographers, copywriters and marketeers to call upon. Knowing the intricacies of the project in hand, we can approach the third party best placed to add value, particularly if they specialise in a specific arena. Alternatively, we can work in collaboration with the client’s inhouse marketeers, exchanging ideas.

Design should be a smart investment

Understanding the value of a design project can be a major hurdle for the discerning client. Offering value for money and a significant return on investment are major benefits of working with a smaller agency. Swanky city centre offices are impressive but they can also be a red flag to a client wondering where their money is going. Filtered coffee and fine art don’t create innovative designs and marketing campaigns that are on message and instrumental in generating new business.

Tough love is not an option in design!

Clients can be sensitive, sceptical creatures. They need to feel the love at every touch point throughout their experience. With a small design agency they don’t wonder where they stand in the priorities of that agency, or whether they have been allocated the most or least experienced designer for their project. There is no hierarchy and everyone they need to speak to is accessible and accountable, which can provide great peace of mind throughout a process where their own knowledge and expertise is no doubt lacking.