May 04, 2016 | seven seven

6 easy tips on choosing the right design agency for your project

A quick google search for ‘Design agency in Warrington’ produces over 500,000 results. Now not all these will be relevant search results. But it shows the overwhelming minefield available when looking for a design agency.

There are a few things that we think are important when choosing a design agency to partner with. These tips will help cut your results to just a handful and make the process easier.

1. Is it an agency or a freelancer?

Unfortunately not everything is as it seems with 'design agencies' online. There are a lot of agency wannabe’s out there. After a little digging some of these agencies can be found to be freelance designers. This is not only deceiving but also a little strange, as not every client wants an agency. A freelancer can often be the perfect solution for many clients, and there will always be a place for both. Deceiving a client puts the working relationship on the back foot from day one. It's also difficult for a freelancer to offer the same capabilities and services of an agency.

At sevenseven we run a totally transparent business. Something that gives client confidence and helps grow the relationship. If you want to work with a design agency, but aren't sure whether they’re an agency or a freelancer, we’ve listed a few pointers below.

  • Is their address an office or residential address?
  • Is their business registered or VAT registered?
  • Ask them. There’s nothing like the direct approach, it will save you time in the long run.

2. Does their creative style match your brand or idea?

Take a look at their portfolio. Agencies have unique styles, often dictated by their strength in a particular skill set. Some can be illustrative, some minimal, etc… So look at an agency's portfolio, and check if their style would suit the project you have in mind. If a talented agency though, they should be able to change their style and work to your brief.

3. How long have they been in the industry?

Experience is everything. Ask how long they’ve been in the industry for, and by that we mean working in the industry, not working to their own briefs. Anyone can create their own brief and make the work look amazing. Working on live client projects is a whole different kettle of fish. It’s this experience that is so important.

You'll also want to know how long the agency has been established. With more and more design projects needing a long term commitment and relationship, you'll want an agency that isn't going to disappear overnight.

4. Do you like them?

Next, give your chosen design agencies a call and go and meet them face to face. It’s important that you work with people you get along with. People on your wave length and understand your business. The last thing you want is to work with a team that just don’t listen, create work you don’t like, and the whole process seems like an uphill battle.

Also take into account their commitment level. Do they seem interested and are they proactive in wanting to work with you? If you're the one running round chasing them, then let that be a warning sign. Your the client and it's the agency that will be working for you, not vice versa.

Trust your instinct and go with what feels right. Also realise that it works both ways. Your project may not be right for the agency either. So don't be put off if an agency doesn't want to take on your project. Just see this as a way of filtering your results.

5. Cost

Every project has a budget. So sit down with the remaining agencies and discuss your requirements. Talk about your budget, and be honest about it. It will often allow the agency to maximise what they can achieve within your budget. Rather than wasting time by having no parameters, it's best to discuss it from the start.
Another thing to remember is that if a quotation seems too cheap, take it as a warning sign. We've seen projects go terribly wrong when a project has been awarded based solely on price. An experienced agency will have to charge more for it's time than a freelancer. Yet the service offering is vastly different.

6. Timescale

The next thing to discuss is your timescale. Dependent on work loads it isn't always possible for an agency to start on your project straight away. So discuss this with them and agree on a timescale you're happy with. Not only the start date but the completion date too.

Conclusion

Ask as many questions as you can and trust your instinct. Yes there are some cowboys out there. But there are also some awesome design agencies in Warrington and Cheshire.

If you would like to discuss your next project or idea with sevenseven, then click here to get in touch.

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