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"Graphic design is not a commodity. It is the highly individualized result of people coming together to do something they couldn’t do alone." — AIGA
Design is a collaborative process, one that involves many hours working as a team with a variety of different people. The beauty of it lies in each team member's strengths building upon each other and creating a final product bigger than any one person.
You want to love your website's design, right? That's not going to happen if you hate the process.
So before you jump in and hire the first design agency that comes up in your Google search, take a minute to get to know them and find out if it is really the right fit.
Your design agency is your business partner.
They should care about your organization's success just as much as you do, and your best interests need to be a top priority.
You need to let them in so they are able to understand your business, your mission, your customers, your goals. Aligning yourselves in the same direction from the outset will set you up for success. And the greatest testament to the quality of the agency's work is your peace of mind and prosperity.
You need to value their judgement and trust them.
Many agencies will meet with you, listen to what you want, and deliver exactly that. The good ones will question everything, and deliver what you actually need.
They will read between the lines and ask questions to make you think. They will work with you from the beginning to learn what your objectives are, who you need to reach, and look at your current approach to see what's working and what isn't. Only then will your needs become clear.
There is a reason you are hiring an agency to help, and you need to be able to trust them completely. The best agency for you will challenge your assumptions, broaden your horizons, and teach you something in the process.
You should share core values.
Do you want the same things, or do you fundamentally disagree? Working together as a team to strategically meet your goals should be mutually beneficial. Support a company with a mission and values that align with your organization's mission and values.
If you don't feel good about an agency's approach to business, they're not a good fit. Similarly, if they don't respect your organization, they're definitely not right for you.
You're in it for the long haul.
A website buildout isn't just a one and done event. It's not a product you buy off a shelf, put up in your business's window, and dust off every few months. The right agency will stick around to make sure the dust never collects in the first place.
While you're focused on running your organization and striving to fulfill your mission, you don't have time to spend maintaining your website. Yet, your website is a dynamic creation that needs to be nurtured. Neglect it and it is going to cost even more money down the line to rebuilt it from scratch — again.
With small, regular investments, you will save money by routinely evaluating your goals and performance, and incrementally improving, adjusting course as necessary.
You will be working together for months, maybe even years. Quite simply, you need to like each other.
Find out if we're your perfect match.