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

design agency insightWelcome to the final part of 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.

Final instalment: Summary and best practice

Thanks for making it this far through the series, just one more post to go… the summary and best practice principles behind great design agencies.

In the previous five parts of this series I have discussed experiences and thoughts about five types of design and creative agency:

1. The all hours are ours agency
2. The not sure how but we are rapidly expanding agency
3. The process over progress agency
4. The creatives in suits agency
5. The incredible minds that make a remarkable agency

Each not only generated some learnings I hope you take away with you but also a key best practice principle that I’m going to divulge now.

1. The all hours are ours agency: Respecting staff is crucial

This is not just about their work or their salary but also their time. Virtually every agency bills by the hour, time is money and poorly scoping project to make clients happy but ultimately making employees work into the wee hours of the morning needs to be addressed. Their time is as valuable as your invoices.

2. The not sure how but we are rapidly expanding agency: Planning and preventing

Expansion is awesome but the pitfall is expanding without planning and without putting in place safety measures that prevent a cycle of redundancies. I am by no means saying play it safe and say no to international opportunities but after you’ve celebrated the new adventure, take a few minutes to think through the practicalities of making it happen both for the client and for the staff.

3. The process over progress agency: Be less afraid to think differently each time

Processes are all well and good but in reality projects are not all the same so part of the process should be to rip the process up and start again where necessary. Sell on a suite of strategy tools and processes but tailor that suit to the project in front of you instead of the ideal project we all hope the client wants to buy.

4. The creatives in suits agency: Relax the rules, let the juices flow

Creatives should be allowed to work and wear whatever they want, let them express themselves and they will be much more comfortable expressing a vision for your agency, for your clients and for their products. More flexibility and less rigidity is needed here.

5. The incredible minds that make a remarkable agency: Aspire to greatness

Founders should do as Steve Jobs did and surround themselves with people smarter than them, this way you will craft a body of people all adept to thinking through problems and all able to leverage off of one another to get to the desired output for each and every client and internal project. Plus it will be a lot more fun as they will have interesting banter rather than the oft-crude banter of design studios.
What else do you think should make the design agency insight best practice list?

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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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