1. Do some digging
Spend a bit of time checking out potential agencies online. Study their websites to find out about the people and philosophy behind the business as well as familiarise yourself with their portfolios. Reading blogs, news and social media channels from the agency will give you a deeper understanding of their approach, tone and the personality of their business.
2. Get the chemistry right
Design is a creative process that benefits from chemistry. So you’ll need to be comfortable working with the designers and project managers allocated to your account. If you get this relationship right not only will creativity flourish but your team will enjoy better collaboration. That way, should unexpected issues take you off schedule, your design team will be able to be flexible so that deadlines can be met.
3. Talk about money
When you meet with a potential new design agency, don’t be afraid to talk about a clear pricing structure and if you have a budget, share it. If your budgets are tight – and in the current climate we know that’s likely – be clear and ask your design partners to work with you to make the most of what you have. And if there is any change in direction once the project progresses, make sure your agency is transparent about additional costs.
4. Re-use and recycle
With so many ways to communicate, from print to digital, establish early on how you can make the most out of your budget. If your agency is working on a printed brochure, consider if there are any elements that can be taken and shared on digital platforms including your website and social media, for example, infographics or new photography.
5. Review and re-evaluate
Like any relationship, your partnership with a designer will need regular reviews. It’s a good idea to get everyone together at the end of a project to have an honest discussion about what worked well – and what didn’t. If you can iron out any issues there are huge advantages to developing a long-term relationship with a design agency.