Congratulations! You are part of a marketing team and this is your first experience of hiring a design agency, or you're just starting a business and looking to hire a design agency.

Either way, you are now searching for tips and ideas on how to hire the right design agency...

Over the past 16 years, I’ve worked as a freelance, in-house and in a few agencies, dealing with SMEs, start-ups, charities, brands, and corporates. As a result, I’ve worked on many projects, ranging from brand design and websites to mobile apps and marketing campaigns. Over the years I learnt that most of my clients had poor experiences with designers or agencies in the past. Which brings me to this post, to help you to make the right decision when hiring a design agency. So make the most of it!

The design agencies offer different services they specialise in. For instance: branding and logo design, graphic design, packaging, digital, social media marketing, user experience, eCommerce, Content Management System, SEO and so on.

I have clearly described and shared a few pointers, in order to assist you to identify the right design agency that could deliver results.


Location

The agency you are looking for, is it local (approachable distance) or you have to buy an aeroplane/train ticket to organise a day trip to visit them? It’s always suggested to have someone local. So you or your team could save time in travelling.

Experience

Are these agencies a start-up or they’ve been established for over for at least 2 years? This is very important because the experience is all about their portfolio, the value they have to offer to their clients, their taste in design, where do they stand when it comes to understanding their clients’ brief and many more factors that one could think of. You cannot afford to appoint someone that has no clue about what they are going to do with your brand. Play your cards safe! Doesn’t matter if you shell out a few hundreds of Pounds (£) extra to get things right in the first place. Think about it as a long term investment plan that is going to repay you at a later stage. Trust me on this. The moment you think about compromising on quality to cost cut your investment (Yes, it’s not an expense!), you might end up with a dissatisfactory outcome.

Portfolio

The more you see their portfolio, the better it would be to understand the level of creativity that design agency offers.

Agencies shortlisting

Do not get tempted by one agency's work and clients they work with. When you are searching for them online, go through a handful of design agencies. Shortlist at least three that match your expectation and vision. The two main points here to consider are budget and quality. Some agencies work with global brands, and some with SMEs and start-up. Identify if this would be a food fit and what kind of budget you have.

Strength

Fix an appointment with all the shortlisted agencies. Visit them in person to cross-check if the agency is a “one-man-band” or a team of talented and professional individuals. This point is invalid if you are looking for a freelancer.

Decision making

Once you have cross-checked each and every point and have a fair idea on which agency to go with, take a pause! Give it a day or two to get back to them (agency). Think over once again. No rush! It’s time for a group discussion! Call for a meeting amongst your colleagues (the internal staff) who are going to be a part of it. During this activity, all of you should draw your own opinions, have a small agenda to share your project requirements and verify if the prospective design agency would be ideal for hire. Take a collective call on the decision and make sure that it is right. Trust me! this exercise works well every time.

Conclusion

The idea is to understand if they are are not just offering you design solutions but adding value to your business/brand. At the end of the day, it is your brand and you will be investing time, money and energy.
That’s it for now!

If you have any questions, please ask away in the comments below. Thanks.