Creative Studio


A blog about design, user experience, startups and everything in between.

7 Examples When Not to Hire a Design Agency


You would think that we are some maniacs that love losing clients who are willing to pay for our services. I mean, who in his sane mind would write an article which says "Reasons why you should no hire us". I would halfway agree with you. This articles goal is to broaden your perspective a bit and will give you reasons for why you should not work with us. And also, what you should keep in mind when working with an agency.

After so many years in business, we switched our model to more strategic thinking. Thus, it became easier for us to see if we can add any real value to our customers. We changed our thinking from “it would be great to refresh their design” to “is it going to improve their sales or customer relationship?”. And it came a long way for us. 

After working with so many companies, we identified a couple of cases that repeat each time. And it could be better if the company did not spend so much money on the project. But instead invested that money in their team. Planning or something else rather than outsourcing the work to somebody else. What I am trying to tell you is, before you go price hunt tons of agencies and see who offers better value, try to get it straight for yourself if you need that new website, app design, feature. So what can we add more here?

Don’t hire us if you simply need an extra designer on your team

Many times clients hired us to supplement their design team. Most of the cases it is a bad idea. Why? Because it creates a mess. You have to teach the other side of your internal stuff. How you work, think and design. And it requires so much time and energy that you better-hired someone fulltime, rather than outsource it.  In this case, it is a better way to postpone the project for a couple of months. Find a great designer for your team, and start thinking about the big problem. And no, your competitors are not going to get ahead of you. There is also the last mover advantage. So better get your team straight rather than launch a half ass product. 

It is better to invest half a year in searching and growing that new designer into your culture, rather than hiring someone for a flat fee that will deliver the project in a month. There are benefits on both sides, and it all depends on your current situation. But remember -  it is always better to invest in people rather than a product.

Don’t hire us if you don’t have clear business goals

Why do you need an external agency for your project? For a new design only? Then get a new designer on the team. Do you have tangible goals? Like ROI, increased sales, less friction for your product, etc.? That’s better. Now we can sit and talk. Having concrete goals written down the paper is always a great plan. As a rule of thumb, you should always have one big goal and two secondaries. For example, your product’s usability sucks and you want to improve it. You say “I want it to be easier for my customers to order my product” that’s a great main goal. Now you defined the timeline and budget you are willing to allocate for that. And it would be something like this: the first year we should drop our bounce rate from 50% to 35% and increase the sales by 5%. Now we are talking business. With these type of goals in mind and the right people on the design, side will do miracles.

Don’t hire us if you don’t see the value of design

If in 2018 you still doubt whether to invest in design, then you already lost. And we are not a good fit for you, because we appreciate working with people that don't cut costs on design. Or don't understand it. But in case you see it as a competitive advantage, here is our point. Great design is not the way it looks but the way it works and feels. I would say there are three things that you should keep in mind when it comes to great design:

- It solves a problem
- It’s easy for users
- It’s supported by everyone

People tend to think that design is something meant to be beautiful or abstract. No. It is tangible like your income statement at the end of the year. Good design solves a problem, makes stuff easy to use and even your mother can understand it and use it.

If you are just starting out, you don’t need an agency to build a website

Don’t hire us to do your website for a $20k flat feet, only to realize afterwards that you should have invested that money in the product first. In 2018 there are so many great and free resources, that spending that money on your own, will bring you more ROI than hiring someone. Need a website? Squarespace came a long way and now gives you everything to run your e-commerce or product business with the latest technologies and updates. Using Wordpress? No problem either. There are so many templates and free resources that can help you start running your business, with high-quality products, under $1k. It is a google distance from your goals. Start on your own for the first year. Get your business straight, make some revenue. You will feel the moment when you need to hire someone external to design your new website and rethink the strategy. 

Please don’t hire us if you already have someone working on your project

Don’t hire multiple agencies. Don't hire someone to continue the work of someone else. Why? Because it will be a complete mess. It is like building a car, finishing it halfway through, firing that person and then hiring someone else to continue building it. It is a totally different thinking and work process from person to person. Please, don’t do that. Thank you.

Don’t hire us if you look for a cheap service

Deep down, I always wished that all you could work with someone who offers low prices. The experience is priceless. The pain and agony you get are too strong for you to step into the same hole twice. After that, you start understanding what real quality is. It is like going for a vacation in a different country where you stay at a cheap hostel, and then you try a 5-star hotel. Both are good, but quality and value is the difference.

If you don’t trust us, then please don’t hire us

Final but not least, there can’t be a partnership without trust. An agency with the right skills, price and location is nothing without a bit of trust. You can go off our skills and experience, but at the end of the day, if you do not trust us, it all means nothing. A good agency-client relationship is a partnership -- and a partnership is nothing without trust. If you go into the meeting with the feeling that you know the best, it is already a lost case. One of the reasons you hire an outsider is because you want to broaden your perspective. So don’t stay closed minded and trust the people you are working with.

I hope you got some excellent insights on when you should hire and when not. But in case you doubt it, you can always reach to us at any moment, and we can schedule a call and discuss your big idea.