5 Best Tips For Choosing The Right Boutique Design Agency (2021)
Boutique design agencies are going to claim similar things – that they have years of expertise and that they are ideal for your needs. How do you choose the best boutique design agency from a seemingly huge pool of talent?
Well, the answer is quite simple – you need to understand what you truly want!
To elaborate, let’s have a look at our 5 tips for choosing the best boutique design agency. These should help you identify your demands and set the right expectations for your budget.
5 Tips For Choosing The Right Boutique Design Agency
1. Chemistry is important
If your idea fires up the design agency, then you may have found the right agency to work with.
When you hire an agency, you want to receive a tailored solution for your request. The design agency needs to understand and, more importantly, feel what you want.
If there is no connection between you and the design agency in this regard, then your cooperation may not end well.
Chemistry somewhat comes down to experience, and it also depends on an agency’s work ethic. If the agency is truly looking to help you, then they’ll be pumped about the project and will likely be able to fully satisfy your needs.
On the other hand, if the agency prefers to copy their work from client to client, then they won’t deliver anything outstanding even if they are familiar with all the ins and outs of design. Though one could argue that a design agency can’t be an expert in its field without a good work ethic.
2. Outsourcing should be avoided
Our second tip is that you should avoid outsourcing.
Now, outsourcing is fine from an ethical standpoint if the agency does explicitly inform you that some of the work may be outsourced. In this case, the boutique agency is at least honest.
But some of the shadier boutique design agencies could be outsourcing the work without letting you know. And here’s why outsourcing is problematic, whether or not you are made aware of it.
You would want to work with the team directly. With outsourcing, you have no direct means of communicating with the one who does the work. As a result, the design agency may transfer your requests and feedback in a distorted way, not to mention that it might take more time for changes to be made.
Secondly, outsourced work typically is of lower quality, though this depends on who you are dealing with. Agencies frequently outsource their work to increase their profit – they quote you an X amount of money and then hire a bunch of designers who are willing to work for peanuts. In the end, the agency is saving a lot of money, while you are getting low-quality work.
Direct communication is important in any field, but it can be especially critical in design-related projects. Small details matter a lot, and you would probably want to be working with someone who is reliable and professional enough to deliver precisely what you want.
3. Choose boutique design agencies for smaller projects
Boutique design agencies might be offering very competitive prices, but this shouldn’t entice you to entrust them with all kinds of work. Often, boutique design agencies have a couple of dozen workers. Needless to say, any kind of huge project is going to be too tough for these guys.
Small, specialized projects are ideal for boutique agencies. Boutique agencies typically offer much more targeted services, whereas large companies work with a variety of clients and boast more comprehensive expertise.
4. Always ask for references and testimonials
Any boutique agency is going to tell you that they are the best in their niche. But how are you going to actually verify their claims of top-notch service and impeccable customer support?
Well, you ask for references and testimonials.
Nobody is going to give you a better idea of a boutique agency than a past client. Ask for references and have a chat with 2 to 3 clients. If all clients give you nothing other than positive comments, then you are probably dealing with a boutique agency that cares about what they do.
And needless to say, if the past clients say nothing positive, then steer away. Although if the agency is truly bad, it probably won’t give you any references in the first place.
And speaking of not giving references, this is a huge red flag. If you ask the agency to provide you with references and receive a refusal, then you can be sure that something is fishy.
If the agency is good, then it will not hesitate to provide you with references. Businesses should be proud of their fruitful cooperation with past clients, so there is no justifiable reason for refusing to give references.
5. Consider price and value
Finally, consider costs and value.
No matter how bad an agency is, it will claim that it will be able to satisfy any of your requests. Well, when in doubt, you should always consider the value they deliver.
An agency that charges suspiciously low amounts of money probably won’t deliver spectacular quality. On the contrary, you probably will receive spectacular failure.
In contrast, agencies that charge a lot may be overpriced for your needs. They will deliver what you want, but for the complexity and demands of your project, they might be overkill.
Lastly, we have agencies that deliver the ideal value for what you want. These boutique design agencies offer reasonable prices and have the expertise to satisfy you.
Value is different for everybody. Some people will be willing to hire a subpar agency, perfectly realizing that they aren’t going to get anything too good. For them, the value from such a boutique agency is reasonable.
Others will be ready to pay any money for what they want. For such clients, the higher the quality, the better the value, and the costs involved don’t matter too much.
With that, you need to figure out what you truly need and choose a boutique agency that matches your expectations. Don’t forget about the previous tips too!