GETTING VALUE FROM AN AGENCY.
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When it comes to picking a design agency, different people place different weightings on selection criteria like location, price and experience in your industry.
But whatever you look for in an agency, there are a few things you can bear in mind – both before you select the agency and during the early stages of the job – that will help you get the best value.
What’s important to you?
Work out what you want from your agency; many companies feel there’s a lot of weight to put behind a London address, but this comes at a price that’s often passed on to you. Some place emphasis on design awards, but many agencies produce perfectly good work but don’t enter stuff for prizes – they are no less valid or talented.
Also, design awards are often given based on how good something looks, which is fine if that piece of collateral also succeeded in selling – but style doesn’t always equal substance.
Instead, look at their work (which goes without saying) and try to get examples of successes they’ve had in terms of meeting and exceeding targets.
As a slight caveat: location may be important if you need someone within easy reach of your office, or of your home – even if this happens to be London.
Have they got success in your field?
It’s also worth seeing what they’ve produced for clients in your niche – although just because an agency seems to specialise in a particular industry, that doesn’t mean they can’t turn their hand to anything else. In fact, you may want to pick someone outside your niche if you’re looking to bring something different to the table.
Can you meet face-to-face?
This is always suggested. Not only does this give you both the best chance to form and create a good impression, it also gives you the platform to outline your products and services, as well as your aims and expectations for the project.
What will you be charged extra for?
It may sound obvious to say ‘check the terms’, but there are a whole raft of things an agency may charge extra for, and no two agencies are the same. A prime example is Author’s Corrections. While some allow one round of changes within the design costs, others will be far more flexible (provided the brief itself hasn’t changed) and some will charge for every amendment. It’s a great way for a seemingly bargain job to quickly rack up the charges, so keep an eye out for this.
Other bills that could be coming your way include printer’s proofs, artwork PDFs, time for meetings, overtime fees for rush jobs and even phone calls.
Create a clear brief
Although some companies don’t charge for Author’s Corrections, or include a couple of rounds in their initial cost, almost every agency will ask to requote if the brief has significantly changed, or if you only mention something important to the project long after work’s commenced.
A clear brief means the agency will have a much better steer on what you want, and may therefore take less time before adequately meeting your expectations.
It’s worth including in a solid brief anything that the agency needs to bear in mind – and that includes any pet hates you may over certain colours, words or fonts.
If you need more information you can get in touch with Theme Group on [email protected]