Six questions to ask when hiring a design agency
(3 minute read)
If you’ve landed on this page it’s likely that you’re looking for a professional design agency to create branding for your new business, or to refresh/rebrand your existing business as it grows in new directions (do you need to rebrand?). If that’s the case, you’re in the right place.
When you’re ready to start working with a professional design agency finding the right one is not always as easy as it sounds. It’s not as simple as buying a textbook off of Amazon or ordering an iPhone, it’s more like finding that one pair of jeans that fit perfectly. And like finding anything, it’s all about the questions you ask and the research you do.
So, here are a few of the most important questions potential clients ask us when they visit for the first time, and we encourage you to do the same if you want to find the design agency that’s right for you and your business:
1. How long have you been in business?
It’s a fair question, and one that most design agencies are used to being asked. It’s important to know how much experience an agency has as if they have only just started there may not be a very good system in place when it comes to managing projects and meeting deadlines. Their commercial experience may also be limited. However, speak to the individuals that will be involved with your project as many of them will have plenty of experience even if the business is technically new.
2. What’s your speciality?
Many agencies are integrated and will be able to offer assistance on a huge range of projects from branding to web design to video and animation. However, some designers and agencies will specialise in certain areas, so it’s a great question to ask if you want to make sure a designer is right for your project.
This also relates to industries. Some design agencies will only work with food and drink brands, others interior designs, some outdoor companies. However, whilst it may seem obvious to work with an agency that specialises in your niche, it’s not always advised. Often, the best ideas and creativity come from translating effective concepts from one industry to another. Agencies that have only worked in one specific industry will generally only have experience in that niche.
3. Have you worked on something similar before?
You’ll want to know if your potential new agency or designer has worked on something similar to your project before, and if they are knowledgeable about the process involved. Most agencies have a portfolio which showcases their range of skills and best projects, so take a look there first. If you’re still not sure or you want to know more about a certain past project most agencies will be happy to show you other work.
4. How much will the project cost?
An essential question to ask, but remember: most agencies will not be able to give you a standard price for a project. Prices depend on many factors, including the size of the project, materials and timescales. However, it’s still very important to discuss rough costs and your own budgets – make sure you have a budget worked out before you meet your designer to discuss a project as this is very important for speeding up the process. Check out our article on budgets if you’re not sure where to start.
5. How long will the project take?
This is an especially important question if you’re up against a time limit for your project, but it’s also great for managing your own expectations. Your designer or agency will be able to give you an indication of how long your project will take based on its complexity and size, which will help you plan in your own activities accordingly.
6. What do you need from us?
Potentially one of the most important questions from our perspective as an agency. It’s simply not possible to hand a designer a project and then have no further input. The very best way to get the most out of your design agency and your project is to give as much of your own input as possible, even if it’s just a quick catch-up meeting or a phone call every once in a while. Ideas, visions, budgets, timescales, samples, company values, mood boards… the more love and enthusiasm you put into the project with your designers, the more of ‘you’ the final work will reflect.
So, before you arrange a meeting with a design agency make sure you’ve got your questions written down.
Finding the right partner who understands your vision, business goals and aspirations is vital for success so take the time to understand all aspects of the process.