Feb 07

5 Top Tips for Choosing a Design Company

As scientific companies often have tight and important design and marketing budgets we have offered our 5 top tips for choosing a design company. We hope this short but insightful article helps you or a member of your team to: begin the design process better, enjoy the time spent creating something new and receive the best design possible for your company.

1. Trust the design company has the background and experience or can gain the background and experience to understand your creative brief in a timely fashion. When discussing the proposed project ask if they have actual or related experience in this industry sector. As large design companies can have various clients from a whole range of industry sectors, making in almost impossible to be experts in one. However that’s not to say that they can’t, but there will be a steep learning curve if they haven’t worked for a scientific company before.

2. Trust in a design companies’ portfolio before rushing to invite a range of companies into a “Free Pitching” process. Most design companies have one or several issues with the free pitching process and Creatifik is no different. Our main issue is: we believe free pitches don’t actually result in the best work for the client. The reason for this arises when it is understood that nobody works at their best when working for free – it’s as simple as that. However this process has unfortunately established itself in the design industry for the sake of the prospective client supposed benefit; as often a client can’t tell what is good work, only what is the better work, out of the various pitches. Plus more often than not the final design used is rather different from what was first pitched. I would repeat: trust in a design company and their previous work or potential creative ability before free pitching.

3. Trust that the design company has the ability to deliver what you ask of them. This doesn’t mean they need to be a large international conglomerate advertising agency to provide you with well designed company stationery, trade stand or website. In our opinion much of the most effective and well executed design projects are carried out by small design agencies of around three to five people. A large design company may provide confidence when a business or marketing manager is making a decision based on risk but not so much when considering creativity and good design.

4. Trust the design company to communicate and work with you. We highly advocate having a well briefed decision maker in place within your company to talk to the designated member within the design company. In our experience too many cooks really do spoil the broth. As when the creative process gets going it’s so tempting for a company to show the initial design drafts around to various members of staff and quickly everybody has an opinion and this just leads to a design “fudge”. So often the original idea or problem the design company was briefed to solve disintegrates into “I don’t like green”. It sounds silly but it really happens. So trust a member of your team to keep the purpose of the creative brief alive when liaising between the design company and their own company colleagues.

5. Trust your designer. Trust as you have no doubt have noticed runs through every point as its essential when either starting a scientific or design project: both are entering into the proverbial unknown – or should be. When that is the case you need to be able to trust in those around you to be: flexible, skilled, focused, able and determined to deliver the results whether from a methodology or a creative brief. Being a designer is a job, just as is being a scientist, although not as many people have an opinion on how science should be carried out compared to design. So select your design company carefully, brief them well, put a dedicated contact in place, light the blue touch paper and stand well back – as the results can be commercially explosive.