15 Dec 2015

Want to Hire a Design Agency? Here’s What to Look For

Hiring the right agency to handle your design needs is definitely one of the most essential decisions you can make as a business. There are several questions you’ll need to ask and one of them is whether you should hire a small or large design agency.

Smaller agencies might need to contract out a photographer or an illustrator but they will choose the best person to meet the needs & style of your project. When working with a small agency you will work directly with the team you met with. If you can find a small agency that has the experience, meets your needs, & has the talent to provide you with the best outcome, a small agency might be for you!

A large design agency will have photographers, production designers, account executives, proofreaders, illustrators and writers among others on staff. Going with a large design agency means you’ll likely meet with the Account Executive & Creative Director to discuss your requirements. Most likely, your projects will be handed off to either their lower level designers or freelancers.

On the other hand, a small design agency might see the need to contract an illustrator or photographer but will opt for the best suited person to meet your project style and needs. When working with a small design agency, there are high chances that you’ll work directly with a team you’re already familiar with. If you can locate a small design agency that meets your project needs, has experience, addresses your project issues and has the willingness and ability to furnish your business with the best results, a little office may be worth considering!

Having said that, going with a small design agency means you’re hiring! I cannot stress enough the importance of doing a background research on an agency’s professionalism and integrity.

When hiring a design agency, from a different perspective, you’re choosing a company to represent you to the world. Would you hire me as your CEO without knowing that I actually have prior experience in the business world or went to business school? The ability to handle complicated design programs doesn’t make an agency capable of offering the best design results.

THEY LISTEN but also HAVE THEIR OWN IDEAS

Assuming you’re an expert in your industry, you already know what you’re selling and who your potential customers are. You already have some rough ideas of how you need to present your products or services to your customers. No one understands your business more than you do.  Therefore, a good design agency should listen to your project requirements. They should listen to you and put your ideas into action without ending up with a pet project. While it’s critical that they listen to you, no one wants the yes-man! You may have the ideas but you need an agency that understands design. If the company gives an exact replica of your ideas, then you aren’t getting the true value of your money. The designer should bring exciting ideas to furnish the output.

MARKETING isn’t a new term

A design agency that lacks a marketing team is like…a Ferrari without an engine. Of course, it will look awesome but won’t go anywhere. You need more than eye catching designs—something that works! When you choose a design agency that has marketers, developers and designers—you choose results, convenience and are confident in the end result.

THEY know MODERN DESIGN TRENDS

The last thing you need from your new design project is one that appears to belong in the past or would have been really popular in the last century. You’ll likely trust a design agency that creates modern-looking design products. For instance, web designers need to master responsive design, parallax scrolling as well as other design elements and styles. Remember to look for this critical aspect in the design agency you’re about to hire.

THEY enjoy LONGEVITY

Modern design keeps changing, from graphic design to web design and everything in between. However, this doesn’t imply you should hire some fly-by-night design agency that most likely won’t be there for too long to handle problems that may arise down the lane. Tons of new design agencies keep popping up with day—and most of them close just after taking off. The truest test of a great design agency isn’t just about their quality of designs but also longevity. Go for a design agency that has been around for some time and has proven to stick around. The more established and experienced a design agency is, the more likely they will be to adapt to the changing design demands and still more likely to be around to support you in the future.

THEY HAVE A PORTFOLIO

One of the best yet most ignored way of figuring out whether a design agency knows their design is by looking at what they have done. Never trust screenshots. You want to look at the original designs and probably live designs in action. Take your time to check their portfolio. Visit the sites that showcase their designs. If you don’t see anything you like, find a better fit.

THEY ARE EXPERIENCED IN MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES

Most people think it would be perfectly okay to hire a design agency that is specialized in one industry. At the end of the day, if they’ve mastered designs for cat leashes then they must be great at cat leashes, right? Probably, but this is usually an indication of so much more—chances of ending up with cookie-cutter designs that are indistinguishable from what already exists on the web. When you work with a design agency that has experience in multiple industries, there are high chances of receiving a unique design that targets a wider audience without being identical.

THEy are pretty familiar with CONVERSION

A good design agency should define a great product in terms of its ability to convert. Still, a great design agency should comprise of a team that has the ability to create proper calls to action, a proper layout and easy navigation for web designs. Remember the “if-it-looks-great-they’ll-convert” philosophy no longer works today. The designer needs to employ data besides proven techniques when creating your designs.

Finding a great design agency isn’t easy. It means you have a task to perform as a business owner. However, once you have one you can rely on, your job gets easier all the way.