Why do a brand audit?’ is something I constantly have to educate prospective and existing clients. Brand audits help businesses recognise their strengths and weaknesses, they create opportunities for improving, and find ways to help them stay relevant and move forward.
Finding the right Design Agency
At DesignLab we value and practice forming close partnerships with our clients, so it can be stressful finding the right design agency when you are shopping around.
In an industry where design agencies seem to pop up overnight, it’s important that you cut through the spin and find out exactly who you’re really dealing with to ensure that the “connection” is right for your needs.
Below we have listed down a number of basic rules to help you find the right partnership.
1. It’s all about relationships.
- Do you need a quick turnaround or it just could be a a one-off job? Or could it be an on-going service where you need to deal with the same designer often.
- Do you want to deal with the account manager or are would you prefer dealing directly with the graphic designer?
- Are you happy with a “Tiger Airways” experience or do you want all the bells and whistles?
The above will play a big part on who will prove the right partner.
2. Budget Range
As the old saying goes “champagne taste on beer money”. If you’re spending $500 on a quick logo then don’t expect it to go far in a bigger agency that has large overheads. But, if you’re a large corporate company it’s not realistic to expect a freelance to have the capacity or experience to work on a project such as yours.
3. Size does matter
Just think your local mechanic doesn’t have the experience or tools to fix a Ferrari, a smaller design agency may not have the experience or staff to deal with a complex work. And as my experience shows I have seen smaller agencies try very hard to convince you otherwise, just beware of silver tongue “yes of course we can”. But if you’re a start-up/small business with a small budget, then a small agency is perfect for you.
4. But experience matters more!
Always ask to see a portfolio and case studies of the agency’s past work. Only then can you decide whether they have a proven track record of customer service and delivery. Look for the type of clients that agency has worked with. Do they have a portfolio of clients in your industry? And do they understand your market and your customers.
5. Client testimonials and references
This doesn’t mean just accepting what you see on the design agencies website, it’s better to see a real sample client list or even better yet call them yourself. You would be amazed what you might learn!
6. Industry Standard
Every industry has some sort of yearly awards, competitions etc. and the graphic design industry is no different. Find out if your agency tries to excel and submit their best work for annual awards. I mean graphic design awards on their wall won’t guarantee the right outcome for you, but it tells you that the agency has at some point proven they have the ability to deliver quality work at the highest level.
Another thing to do is check to see if that design agency is an accredited member of their respective association. If so, are they published on a industry website?
7. Don’t just be led by price
Trust me, the bitter after taste of bad design will long linger after the sweetness of the low price has been forgotten! Amazing design is always worth that bit more – it’s proven to help drive your business, generate sales and persuade customers, also you feel proud seeing it, I mean you have to live with it day by day, so you better love it! The design agencies who hold on their rates are often the busiest and best ones, because they don’t need to discount their prices. Why are they busy? Probably because they’re good at what they do and they know it.
8. Understanding the landscape
Over past ten years the graphic design landscape as a service has changed beyond recognition. Today you can hire an international design agency that you don’t even need to meet. On the other end of the spectrum there are numerous start up freelance designers offering a much more basic level of expertise, but at a very competitive rate. Design agencies come in all shapes and sizes, and most with a range of different services. From your traditional large agency (who are beloved by big brands and the public sector), to a mid-size or boutique agency who’s offering is every bit as good, but which target a different client profile.
9. It’s all about getting results
At its roots, graphic design is not about creating “a pretty picture”, it is an effective communication tool that, in the hands of professionals produces results. This means there should be an agreed objective or a measure of success. Find a partner with an understanding of both the commercial and marketing challenges that face your business, and don’t be tricked on just a design solution to a marketing problem.
10. Finally, it’s all about chemistry
This is important. At DesignLab we are all about chemistry that connects. Go with your gut and move on to an agency you feel more comfortable with. Remember you are entrusting the face and reputation of your business with this agency, so chemistry is critical.
Talk to DesignLab today about forging a partnership for your business and finding the right design agency!