The value of gut instinct in choosing a creative agency
Finding the right graphic designer can be difficult.
There are so many different options out there. Should you choose a sought-after creative agency or cut costs by finding a friendly local freelancer? The answer is it depends. It depends on your business and it depends on the project you’re looking for help with.
Let’s look at some of the questions you should be asking to ensure you make the right decision.
Do they do the specific thing you want?
Not all creative agencies are made equal. Some specialise in designing websites, others in creating logos or brochures and magazines. And some choose to generalise. Of course, we all know there are benefits in choosing a specialist for your project, but it can be a bit of a pain to have to source a different designer every time.
That’s why we work collaboratively – we choose the specialists we want to work with depending on the needs of each project that comes in. It’s the best of both worlds, giving you unparalleled expertise with the convenience of using a multi-disciplinary agency.
How experienced are they?
Give yourself confidence in your chosen designer by learning about their experience. Ask questions about the length of time your prospective designers have been in the business. Have they undertaken other projects that are a similar size or complexity to the one you’re planning? And will they understand your needs?
A young, inexperienced designer may not, for example, know anything about presenting concepts and design ideas to a board or senior management team. And they may not yet be experienced in different ways of working.
Do you like their work?
While good designers will have the skills to adapt to your brand, there’s no getting away from the fact that all designers and agencies tend towards a house style. Look at plenty of examples of the work they’ve done before and make sure you like it. Whatever you do don’t make your choice on the basis of other factors and assume they’ll be able to create something entirely different from their norm.
If you’re looking for a supplier for a larger project with a reasonable size budget, it could pay to select your favourite three designers and ask them to pitch. While you may need to pay a little extra for this it will be worth it to know that you’ve made the right decision and eliminated any potential sticking points early on in the relationship.
Do they have the capacity you need?
While you may only be engaging a graphic designer for a single project at this point, it’s worth considering what your future needs are likely to be. Developing an ongoing relationship with a reliable creative who ‘gets’ your business is well worth it, allowing you to quickly brief in pieces of work as and when they’re required.
But make sure your chosen designer is likely to be able to fit in the volume of work you’ll need, and to meet the deadlines you require. If you will have regular projects with a quick turnaround, a one-man band who gets booked up months in advance may not be able to provide the level of service you need.
Are they flexible?
Another important characteristic to look for is flexibility. When you set out on a project there is every intention that it will go according to plan and be finished to deadline. But in reality, that’s not always the way it works. What if something happens? What if you change your mind about the way you want something done? You need to be sure that your designer will be able to accommodate alterations to the original scope.
We saw this in action last year when we were working on a book project. The original brief was agreed but the client requested changes along the way. We’re pretty laid back about things like that so were able to adapt quickly to get the work done. We even ended up advising on the launch event. While such agile working wouldn’t suit all creative agencies, it certainly works for us.
And finally…do you get on with them?
Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that building a great relationship with your designer is vital to getting the best work out of them. And apart from that, business should be enjoyable – life’s too short to work with people you don’t get on with, don’t you think?
If you need help with a graphic design project, why not ask us some of these questions to find out if we’re right for you. Send us a message and we’ll go from there.