How to find the best design agency

People working together in office
Tony Tallec / Alamy Stock Photo

Looking for a design agency but not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place.

In my experience, starting the hunt for a new agency can be a bit of an overwhelming task. There’s so much choice out there and searching through all those agencies might feel a little daunting. But don’t panic! Here’s some of the best guidance I’ve had over the years to help you find the design agency that best suits your needs.

What do you want and when do you need it?

Time scales

First things first, how long have you got to find an agency? This will play a huge factor in the intensity of your search and ultimately determine the steps you take.

If you’ve got a tight deadline, you’ll need to act quickly and might not have time to get agencies in to pitch. But if you’ve got a flexible deadline, you can be a bit more thorough and give each agency a chance to show off what they can do.


Think about what you’re looking for. Do you need a designer to help you out with a small project are you looking for something more long-term? Is it a simple project or are there several elements to it? Determining how big a project is and how long you’ll need a designer for will help you filter the options.

What’s important to you?

Do you care about building a solid relationship with an individual? Or maybe you make your decisions based on brand reputation. Whatever it is that ticks the box for you will play a key part in the process of choosing the right designer.

Creative written on pink paper stickers attached to a flip chart
Oleksandr Berezko / Alamy Stock Photo

Do your research

If you’re starting from scratch, a simple Google search is always a good place to start. The internet makes it easier than ever for you to find out about a company, so have a browse online to see what different agencies offer. Your best bet is to look for a site like this that offers a list of best rated agencies in your area.

It’s great to ask around for any recommendations from colleagues, friends or other industry professionals to get you started.

Use social media to your advantage

Facebook is now fully on the review band-wagon, so if you’re on the social platform it can be just as good a place to start as Google. One of the best ways to utilise your Facebook network is to use the ‘Ask for recommendations’ feature. To do this, you just need to click the ‘…’ icon in the status box and select ‘Ask for recommendations’ from the list that appears.

Ask for recommendations
Facebook – Ask for recommendations

LinkedIn is a great place for professionals to connect and the ‘testimonials’ feature offers a glimpse at what companies and individuals are like to work with. You can also post to your LinkedIn profile to ask your connections if they know any designers who can help.

Check out online reviews

Most people will only take to the internet to rate a service if it’s been particularly good or especially bad. This can be a great indicator of how an agency performs, as well as a chance for you to read what other clients have said about their work.

Follow up on recommendations

If someone you know recommends an agency to you, definitely follow up on it. It’ll give you a good starting point for your search and you’ll already know a bit about the agency before you even make contact. Remember, people rarely recommend a service to someone unless they genuinely had a positive experience themselves. So, it’s always worth looking into!

Young business people working together in creative workplace. Two creative professionals working on new project in office.
Jacob Lund / Alamy Stock Photo

Invite agencies to pitch

Once you’ve researched around and have an idea of the type of agency you’d like, it’s time to invite some to pitch. I’d advise inviting a minimum of three agencies to come and pitch to you, so you can effectively compare pricing, pitch-performance and a range of work styles.

Do you only have a short window to find a designer? An alternative to pitching would be to ask them to send over samples of their previous, relevant work. Book a call in to discuss with them after you’ve reviewed it. This should speed things up and still give you enough info to make an informed decision.

Here are some crucial things to think about during the pitch:

Did they arrive on time? Being punctual is a great sign that a) they care about the job and b) they’ll deliver their deadlines on time. Unless there’s a valid reason for turning up late, this would be a red flag from the offset.

Had they researched your company? An agency that cares about your project will spend some time researching your company so they can impress you with their knowledge. If they don’t offer up insight first, be sure to ask them what they know about you. An understanding of what your company does is important if you want the designs to be aligned with your customer.

How prepared were they for the pitch? Consider things like whether the agency brought you a portfolio of previous work, or if they’d created a tailored pitch for your brand. These are great tell-tale signs that the agency has taken the time to create a pitch especially for your project.

Did you get along with them? Remember, you’re going to be working with the designers for the duration of your project, so it’s important that your personalities match. They might be fantastic designers, but if you don’t ‘gel’ with them you could be in for a bumpy working relationship, so this one’s more important than you might think!

Design agency - Successful team of new business people in creative office
Maskot / Alamy Stock Photo

Consider more than just the price

Once all the agencies have pitched, or submitted their designs, the final step is to choose the most suited design agency for your project. Of course, pricing could be the key element in your decision-making, particularly if you have a set budget – but don’t be too quick to judge the agencies solely on price.

Consider everything you’ve seen from each design agency, from their punctuality through to the quality of their previous work, and factor their charges into the overall picture. You want to choose the agency that most understands your brand and that’s going to give you the highest quality work for the best price.

More from the author

Latest Imagery

With 100,000 new images added everyday there is always something new to see on Alamy. See our editor's pick of what's new...

See Latest Imagery