Sunday , 19 August 2018
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Design agency insight series 5 of 6

design agency insightWelcome to part five in a six-part design agency insight series about the different types of design agencies that are out there, how they operate and what that means for freelancers and best practice agency management.

Type Five: The incredible minds that make a remarkable agency

One of my longer residencies as a freelancer was with a lovely agency that was full of lovely, frighteningly smart people.

This is the type of place where with every conversation, even if you just overhear something, you feel smarter. A place to foster an ethos of everyone being in it together and a genuine family feel.

The owners are insanely smart, look at the world with inquisitive and solution seeking eyes and can take an idea to reality with passion and purpose.

Akin to this is several agency founders I have worked with over the years.

The energy, enthusiasm and eternal quest for knowledge and to find clever solutions is something that sets these people apart and when they get the right team around them they are virtually unstoppable. They are made up of pure entrepreneurial spirit.

More than their personalities, though, it is the implications on their agencies that is intriguing.

I have found that this particular agency hired only people that were a perfect fit for the role on offer, not necessarily the most prolific career-wise or highest achieving but people that challenged them, stood out as people who would challenge clients and interrogate briefs until the project was a success, people who increased the collective IQ of the business.

Smart move by the founders as each of these people also have incredibly active lives outside of the workspace, one is studying for a PHD, one writes books, one is a prolific food blogger, one pretty much never stops reading and one is all about photography.

These pursuits, and their celebration within the company through show and tells, proper inductions and staff events make the staff care, makes them want to put the effort in and fosters a strong bond between all levels of the business.

It is so important to take an interest in your staff, and not in a creepy or fake way. My first day working there actually led to about two hours of myself and the CEO sat trying to get tickets for the Paralympics during London 2012, no other design agency I’ve ever worked in has formed that great a connection so quickly. They even invited me, a freelancer, and my fianc√© to their Christmas party in a swanky 5* hotel in Central London.

As I said, lovely people, remarkable agency.

I feel very fortunate to have worked with them and hope to work with more agencies like them in the future (as well as them, obviously).

The final part of the design agency insight series is coming up next week!

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About GregDillon

Greg is the founder of strategy consultancy GD | Inspires and spends his days strategising for various design agencies and clients around the world - see more at He is also a prolific entrepreneur having launched - a website aimed at giving advice and insight to new, existing and veteran freelancers as well as commenting on all things strategic. Feel free to email him at: or follow on Twitter @StratTalking

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