Hiring a design agency has become a trend for small businesses to large corporations. If you’ve gotten the agency bug and want to jump on the bandwagon, take a step back. Selecting a design agency can make or break your next project. So, don’t rush and take some time to read our article. We’ve gathered tips and tricks to help you hire a design agency.
What is a Design Agency?
A design agency is a professional service provider that develops digital and print media for businesses of all sizes. Design agencies are highly specialized at creating simple designs to complex animations. Agencies can perform contract work on a specific project, or they can act as a full-service provider, handling a design project every step of the way.
What Types of Services Does a Design Agency Offer?
The types of services that design agencies offer can vary. For example, one agency may specialize in illustration. On the other hand, another design agency might specialize in graphic design and animation. Generally speaking, a design agency can offer one or a combination of the following services:
- Graphic Design
- Creative Marketing
- Traditional Marketing
- Web Development
Design Agency Synonyms
The word design agency is synonymous with the following terms:
- Graphic Design Agency
- Creative Agency
- Creative Design Agency
- Digital Design Agency
- Marketing Design Agency
- Design Studio
- Creative Studio
What are the Benefits of Hiring a Design Agency?
There are several benefits to hiring a graphic design agency, which includes:
1. Save Money
Hiring an internal design team can be an enormous financial responsibility due to: salaries, benefits, healthcare, payroll taxes, design tools, technologies, etc. Rather than taking on such costs you can hire a design agency for an agreed upon fee and the agency will pay designers to complete your projects.
2. Access to a Variety of Skills
Employees are another advantage of hiring a creative agency. Most design agencies hire artists with a variety of skills and industry expertise. As a result, the agency is highly capable of handling complex projects. On the other hand, an individual design might struggle to pull off complex projects. Diverse employee skills also generate a collaborative environment, which promotes creativity and yields what the client wants.
3. Save TONS of Time
Hiring a creative design agency saves time because it allows in-house staff to work on other projects. Working with an agency is especially important if your design staff is inexperienced, nonexistent, and or have a heavy workload.
4. Access to Experts
These days’ good designers are hard to come by because companies are willing to pay top dollars to recruit and retain talent. If you want to hire an expert in graphic design or animation, you’ll have to fork over a lot of money and spend a decent amount of time recruiting. If this doesn’t sound appealing to you, hire a digital design agency. They provide staff who understand how to convey your message and create media that your audience will not only value but also prefer.
5. High-Quality Work
When you outsource your graphic design projects to an agency, you can be sure that the work will be the best they can give. An agency has a full-time staff who focus on graphic design and depend on reviews to keep growing their business. They will make sure everything is to your liking and of the highest quality.
6. New Business Opportunities
Marketing design agencies are often experts at analyzing a variety of businesses. As a result, the agency can recognize business opportunities that you may have overlooked. Working with an agency also gives you insight from seasoned professionals who have worked with tons of businesses.
When Should I Hire a Design Agency?
You should hire a design agency if:
- You’re overwhelmed with design projects;
- Your team does not have the skills to create what you want; Or
- You can’t afford to hire a design team.
Does the Size of a Design Agency Matter?
Yes, the size of a creative studio can make a difference in your relationship with the company and the amount of direction you have once you hand over your project. A small to medium-sized company will provide a more personal experience; it can handle the big projects, but it is small enough to still have time for you and discuss your vision. Larger creative studios, on the other hand, have a much larger client base, so they have less incentive to keep each individual client happy. If you want a more personal experience, you want a small to medium-sized creative studio.
Does the Location of a Design Agency Matter?
No, the location of your design agency does not matter. With today’s technology, don’t be afraid to reach out to a company in another state. All the creative studio’s services can be handled digitally, and communication with the company is easier now than ever.
What are the Steps to Hiring a Design Agency?
Step 1: Determine Your Design Needs
Before searching for a design agency, it is IMPORTANT that you have a clear vision of what you want. Design studios rely on details to create art that not only fulfills the goal of a project but also meets your expectations. Therefore, it is imperative that you provide as much detail as possible to ensure the success of your project. Take your time with this step and spare no details.
After you check, double check, and triple check that your ideas are well thought out it’s time to move to the next step.
Step 2: Determine Your Budget
The next step for hiring a design agency is to determine your budget. Budgets are one of the most, if not the most, important aspect of working with a creative studio. It is imperative that you quantify all the project details and account for everything. Everyone has a bottom line, but a subpar piece of design will hurt you more than parting with a few extra dollars to get the quality you deserve. Price does matter when it comes to graphic design, animation, and any other creative services you might need. A graphic design studio can create excellent pieces for a project, so if the creative studio does not, the creative studio is no longer a better option than a graphic design studio. Keep in mind changing a budget mid-project can have devastating effects on your bottom line and puts you at risk of missing project deadlines.
After your budget is in place, you now have the materials you need to look for a design studio.
Step 3: Research Design Agencies
If you haven’t already guessed, the best place to find a design studio is via search engines. They provide thousands of options for you to choose from with a simple click of your mouse. To narrow down your choices, start with the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). Visit each website and look at their portfolio to determine if the design agency has produced quality work for similar projects. If none of the agencies on the first page of the SERP strikes your fancy, continue your search on the second page.
Quick Tip: There are a lot of design studios which can make the research process overwhelming. So, take as much time as you need to research agencies. It is in the best interest of your design project to do so.
Step 4: Design Agency Selection
After selecting five design studios, give them a call to learn more about them. Ask them with tons of questions about their design services and don’t hold back! For example, “what does the design services include?” Their responses should give you an idea of what kind of company they are. For example, professional, experienced, and capable of delivering what you need. At the end of the phone call don’t forget to ask for samples. So, you can decide which agency can manage your design project.
After reviewing the samples choose three candidates. Next, ask the agencies to create a sample design that relates to your project. Asking for design samples are important because they will help you decide which agency can best manage your project. Also, it gives you an idea of what it’s like to work with the agency. For example, is the agency responsive, easy to work with, and professional?
Quick Tip: Don’t forget to ask the creative studio to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). NDAs will prevent prospective agencies from stealing your project or sharing it with competitors.
Step 5: Negotiate, Negotiate and Negotiate Some More
It is now time for some fun, negotiations. You’ll want to ask the design agency to send your project in phases. Doing so will help in the following ways:
- Motivate the agency to stay on track.
- Analyze the agency’s progress.
- Prepare for project mishaps.
Another thing you should negotiate is the frequency of payment. Avoid paying on an hourly basis to save both time and money. Last but not least, you should determine the rates before contract negotiation. A little work goes a long way and will prevent you from being overcharged.
Step 6: Hand Over Materials from Step 1
After choosing the design agency, it is time for them to start your project. At this time you should hand over anything the agency needs for the project. For example, goals, deadlines, and materials. Again, design studios are not miracle workers. It is your job to give them the tools they need to complete your project.
Step 7: Skip Steps 1-6 and Give Us a Call
So, there you have it. Hiring a design agency can be a terrific resource if you:
- plan ahead,
- do your research,
- select a good studio,
- provide ample specifications, and
- maintain a high level of communication and management throughout the project.