5 content design agency myths: busted!

Non Wood

An optical illusion featuring a black and white eye challenges the 5 myths of content design agencies.

In our line of work, we often come across what we like to describe as content design agency myths. These are misconceptions about the way we do things and what we are like.

Assumptions get made about our cost, our ability to deliver what is wanted, our knowledge of an industry and even our temperament.

And we are fine with that. We understand because, as a content design agency, ours is an unfamiliar set of skills that cannot always be found within an organisation or business.

Happily, for all concerned, we are therefore in a great position to answer questions, allay fears and generally give all-round reassurances about design agencies.

At NWC Design, this is how we respond to what we have taken to calling our official top five myths about design agencies.

1. Design agencies are expensive.

Design agencies can, in fact, be extremely cost-effective. Granted, you can pay a lot and hopefully you will get what you pay for, but that is the case with anything.

A good design agency will give you a decent return on your investment by using its budget wisely. For example, by creating design frameworks that can be repeated with other projects or repurposed to produce more and different images and assets.

Agencies live and breathe these processes every day, which is what you are paying for. They are best placed to develop a package of designed content you can use to drive engagement and sales. In turn, you will be getting the most from your budget.

2. The work will cost more than the quote.

A good content design agency is simply not out to squeeze as much money out of you as it can and then move on. Rather, it seeks a lasting business relationship that is based on respect and trust.

However, projects can grow and develop and when they do, the work may take more time and therefore may cost more. But this should not come as a surprise as a good design agency will keep you informed so you can make the call about the additional work.

If you are concerned a project cost may start to overrun, our advice is to not wait but email the agency, so it is in writing. Ask if the cost is still in line with the quote. A good content design agency should be able to keep you updated, answer your financial concerns and give you options if and when changes are needed.

3. The designs will not be right.

After the money worries come the design fears and this is probably the most discussed topic we come across, particularly with new clients.

Without doubt, it is scary spending money on something before it is the finished article. It is not like buying a vacuum cleaner or a tin of baked beans.

However, you can help by providing a clear brief at the start and usable feedback during the project. For its part, a good content design agency should:

  • Ask you the right questions in order to understand what you need
  • Share visual ideas with you from the start so you are both clear on the direction the design is taking
  • Regularly include you in review sessions so you can see the progress of the project
  • Be open and transparent if you feel some element has gone off track
  • Be willing to come to an agreement on fees and creative work completed if, at the end of the day, the project simply does not turn out how you expected

4. Designers are egotistical.

Well… some can be, but there is a design team out there for every personality. The solution is to be certain yourself about the type of people you want to work with and what you want them to do.

You might be looking for a design partner that just does exactly what you want and nothing more. Ideally, you might like a design agency that takes your brief and comes back with ideas that excite you. Or maybe you would prefer a mix of both.

Search for a content design agency with a culture, work ethic, and communications skills that fits with your team.

Engage with it through contact and conversation to help you decide and connect. Like all relationships, it is not an exact science, and you may go with your gut instinct in the end. Nothing wrong with that.

5. The design agency will not know about my industry or product or service.

Actually, you would be amazed at the range of the areas that agencies get asked to work in.

A design agency does not know everything about everything, but it might know about your industry because it has worked in it before.

If it is not in familiar territory, then a good agency would ensure it becomes informed. It will do its own research and ask the right questions about you, your audience and your objectives.

Be open-minded. An agency with experience of a different area is likely to bring fresh ideas that might grab the attention of your audience. This could boost engagement with your content in a different way to your industry’s same old methods.

Rather than focusing on industry-specific experience, you should choose a content design agency by looking at:

  • the team – do you like the people?
  • the creative work – do you like what they do?
  • their reputation – do other people rate them?

Our view

At NWC Design, we aim to ensure that our clients trust us implicitly to deliver content that is tailored to their audience, that will produce the results they want to their timeframe and that offers real value for money and a solid return on investment.

A completed project is the result of a client’s own unique style and demands, but it will still be based on the science of information and content design.

That is how we do things at NWC Design, we apply the rules and use the logic. But our work is based above all else on the outcomes you want from your project.

And that is why it is essential that you are open and clear with your content design agency and in turn, it should be open and clear with you about what it can deliver for how much and by when.

If you have any worries or questions about working with an external design agency for your visual content or thought leadership projects, then feel free to give us a call because we are always happy to talk through how we work.

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