16 min read

How do I Choose a Brand Design Agency?

Shape April 2022 HR 32
Updated on 26 Mar 2024

Branding helps people identify and recognise your products and organization and finding an agency to design and implement yours should be one of the key considerations when launching a new business or undertaking a branding overhaul.

In 2022, well-considered and well-designed branding is imperative to the success of any modern venture.

Your brand identity is the visual component that your audience sees via your company logo, typography, packaging, colour schemes, and messaging. It’s everything that encompasses your business, and what sets your business apart from your competitors.

Done successfully, it should attract new customers, while retaining your current audience who feel a familiarity and kinship to your brand.

Just think of a brand as a person. Each of us has our own unique personality, way of dressing, way of communicating, values, humour, passions, goals, and story to tell.

It’s these characteristics that make up an individual, and it’s this same portrayal of these unique features that make a successful brand.

Ultimately, it’s the asset that dictates the perception of your business that customers and would-be customers come to have, so the importance of a branding agency should never be underplayed.

What is a Branding Agency? Read our article to find out.

The importance of brand design

In the consumer society we live in, we’re spoilt for choice and constantly bombarded with products and services from the moment we reach for our phones in the morning to when we call it a day and close our laptops at night.

Any young company emerging in such a competitive market may find it difficult to establish itself and set itself apart from the crown.

This is where branding comes in.

We all know how important appearances are, and a skilled brand design agency will be able to help you make your mark and design (or redesign) an identity for any product, service, or company, in a way that makes the correct visual impact.

A good brand design agency will ensure that every aspect of a company’s branding—from its social media channels and visual identity to each page of its website—is consistent and coherent across all platforms. Consistency is key in branding, as it helps build trust and confidence among potential customers, and research shows that presenting a brand consistently across all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%.

Outside of logo creation, they are responsible for all visuals that a business may use, including fonts, colours, print media, packaging, online campaign imagery, social media aesthetic, and more.

A good brand design agency will work with you to ensure everything linked to the company is designed with the client brief and approved style in mind.

Successful branding design should help an audience immediately recognise a company, its products, and its content. The brand designer is essentially there to breathe life into a brand and give it a tangible identity.

Consumers trust familiarity and brands they immediately recognise 59% of consumers say they prefer to buy from brands they trust. It’s via successful branding that can build this mutually rewarding relationship with your audience.

Outside of the visual aspects, a branding agency will be responsible for the development of innovative branding strategy ideas, thorough research of your business and target audience to learn how best to use design to get the desired result for the brand and overseeing all production while paying clear attention to detail and the clients brand guidelines within the client brief.

Every project is different, but all the best briefs will include a project description, project scope, details of services required, objectives, target audience, project style examples, and a budget.

Read our article How to Create a Killer Web Design Brief to create your own, and find out more about the branding agency hiring process in our article Everything You Need to Know About Hiring a Branding Agency in 2022.

Having a solid brief helps you and your chosen agency to stay on track and have a crystal-clear view of the project goal in mind. You must have an easily understood plan, otherwise, you risk losing sight of the end goal.

All too often people get lost in the branding process. By having this brief to refer to, you can be confident that everything is aligned and has a purpose.

When you own a business, your brand is one of the most important assets you have, and your business will still communicate a set of brand values (good or bad) to your audience (and potential audience) whether you’ve put any work into your branding or not.

Therefore, it’s so important to take control of it from the outset, with the help of a strategic and skilled agency that can help you create a unique strategy that’ll take your business from strength to strength.

Tips for choosing the right Brand Design Agency for you

A branding agency is your ally when it comes to developing a truly unique, effective, and smart brand for your business, product, or service. They’re highly specialised creative agencies whose focus is on clarifying your values, goals, and objectives, and then communicating this to your target audience.

There are thousands of brand design agencies in the UK, some offering a full service that includes everything from web design to SEO, whereas some focus on branding specifically and specialise in niche industries.

Some will typically work with larger businesses, some small, and some cater to everyone in between.

It’s an important decision — and the last thing you want is to waste time and money with an agency that doesn’t suit —but it needn’t be an overwhelming task.

Simply follow our tips you’ll be able to find your perfect brand design agency match!

1. Consider your branding needs and goals

Before you get in touch with any agencies, you need to understand and confirm what your company needs and how you think a branding agency can help you. This helps immediately set the direction of the project and gives the agency clear goals to aim for.

First things first, open a word doc (or pick up a pen and paper if you’re feeling old-school), and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why — in your opinion —do you need branding?

  • Is there a specific problem you’re trying to solve? This could be anything from brand differentiation to increasing brand awareness or even repairing a damaged reputation

  • What are the goals and objectives for the project? What is the best-case outcome?

  • What is your budget?

  • When do you want to undertake the project?

  • How quickly do you need the project completed?

At this very early stage in the process, it’s important to write down everything that comes to mind when you think of your branding strategy, and don’t be afraid to ask questions when it comes to meeting the agency. They’re the experts, and you shouldn’t feel stupid for picking their brains regarding the branding process — you’re paying for their knowledge and expertise after all.

Consider your sector and industry, and if there are any branding examples you’ve seen that you felt may work well for your brand. Any good agency won’t copy another brand designer, but it’ll give them an idea of the kind of aesthetic and style you like, and what you dream of for your own business.

While the agency will undertake extensive research, your business is your baby and nobody knows it like you, so make sure to note anything unique about your product, business, or service that you feel is important for them to know.

2. Confirm a budget and timeline

In these early stages, having a clear idea of your budget and required timeline is a crucial aspect of finding your branding agency match.

This will help you immediately discount some brands from your list, as you may find them far too expensive for the kind of project you had in mind or far too cheap. While low-cost may sound like the perfect choice, it’s worth considering what you’ll get for this apparent bargain service. Time is money, and if you spend months working with a budget agency that doesn’t deliver the desired results, you’ll undoubtedly have regrets. As they say…you get what you pay for.

At MadeByShape, we work with clients on all kinds of budgets. The most important thing is understanding your goals. Then we can find the very best solution within your budget that helps you get the most out of your project.

Once you have a clear handle on your financials, note down a number, and don’t be afraid to stick to it. While some agencies may insist you need several additional services at an extra cost, many more honest agencies will be willing to work with you within your budget and won’t try and upsell you.

There’s nothing wrong with having a smaller budget if you’re a new business this will likely be the case —but be realistic in your expectations.

If you’re upfront from the outset, then you shouldn’t struggle to find an agency that’s willing to work within your budget even if it means you can’t have every single thing on your branding wish list.

Your timeline is another important consideration and will impact your budget, and which agencies you may be able to work with.

Do you need your project completed before a specific date, potentially before a product launch or industry event?

Be clear with any agency you speak with about your timeline, and whether there is any wiggle room. If you have a strict timeline, some agencies won’t be able to work with you as they’re busy with other projects, while if you have a more lenient timetable, you’re more likely to be able to work with your agency of choice.

3. Explore their other services

While some agencies may be dedicated to branding specifically, others may offer a full-service approach and be able to provide everything from web design and development to SEO, content writing, eCommerce, web hosting and more.

If you’re launching a brand online for example, then you’re going to need these other services to make your project successful. You can cherry-pick vendors and take your branding to a separate web design agency, then employ a freelance copywriter, and shop around for an SEO specialist, but you’re better off keeping everything under one roof. Not only will this save you time and money, but you’re guaranteed to enjoy a more consistent and successful result.

A brand and web designer for example will regularly work together in an agency setting and choosing to work with an agency that can roll out a beautifully designed website post-branding will ensure you get the very best out of every aspect of the project.

When working in this way you’ll also get to enjoy the wealth of experience and knowledge that a full-service team can offer. Each team member will be a part of the branding process and will be able to communicate immediately and effectively how any ideas may or may not work when it comes to the different phases of the process that typically fall outside of the brand designer’s remit.

MadeByShape offers a well-rounded approach to branding thanks to the rich and diverse talent and perspectives of its team. We're a team of developers, designers, SEOs, content writers, and project managers. Take a look at all the services we offer.

4. Agency Dynamics

While you don’t need to be besties with your brand designer, it can certainly make a project easier, more fun, and ultimately more successful, if you have a camaraderie with your agency of choice.

You might get an immediate feel from their website that you’ll get on, or it may take a phone call or further research to decide. Either way, it isn’t time wasted, and any good agency will happily set up a phone call, zoom or in-person chat ahead of committing to anything to ensure that both you and the agency are happy to work together.

There's nothing more important to us than building strong relationships with our clients. When we 'click' with new clients, that's when we get really excited. 

Shape April 2022 HR 227

The team at MadeByShape

A big thing to consider is agency size. There are pros and cons to both small and large agencies, and different sizes will suit different clients, personalities, and projects.

When working with a larger agency you can be confident that your project will be under the watchful eye of designers who’ve worked across and range of projects and sectors, and who have some serious talent and experience in the industry. Conversely, when working with an agency of this size the process can feel depersonalised. You may not have one main point of contact and may never get to build any sort of rapport with one particular brand designer as your project may be passed around the wider team.

When working with a smaller agency you’re likely to enjoy a more personalised experience, where you’ll have direct contact with the designer (or designers) working on your project, which can go a long way in helping you feel comfortable and heard in all stages of the process.

Regardless of the size of the agency you end up choosing, avoid any that you feel are unapproachable, patronising, or who won’t listen to any of your thoughts regarding the project.

Visiting the agency’s ‘About Us’ and ‘Who We Are’ pages is worthwhile as you can get a little more detail about the team itself and the personalities and skillsets of the people who work there. A great agency website should leave you feeling like you know the people who work there and should give you a good indication of how you’ll find the overall experience.

5. Communication

Communication is key to the success of any project, branding or otherwise, and finding out early on how you’ll connect with your chosen agency is worthwhile.

Will you be given a main point of contact with whom you can discuss the project? Will they be responsive? Are you free to contact them via email to ask questions or query the work?

While you shouldn’t be peppering them with questions incessantly and keeping them from working on the project itself, you should feel comfortable enough to ask questions (even if they feel like stupid ones) Are you able to check on the progress? And ultimately, do you trust the agency with the work you’ve hired them to undertake? If the answer is no to either of these questions, then they’re not for you. Different agencies work for different people, and if your gut is saying it’s not a good fit, then move on to the next.

It's important that you feel valued as a client, and that your input is taken into consideration. They’re the experts, but you shouldn’t feel like you can’t speak up if the project is taking a turn in a direction you’re not comfortable with it, be it a certain design decision, or maybe a budgetary requirement you feel you’re being pushed into.

6. Transparency

Transparency should be another key factor in your decision. It’s important that an agency is clear and upfront about the timeline, costs, and brand decisions that they think are best for your project.

While you needn’t be involved in every tiny decision and aspect of the process, you shouldn’t be shocked when you see the results, find your project pushed back without explanation, or be slapped with a bill for extra services that you haven’t discussed or budgeted for.

An agency should go out of its way to discuss every detail of the budget and timeline with you before you commit and keep you in the loop with any brand design decisions that deviate from the brief and any previously discussed ideas.

7. Industry experience

One way of anticipating the success of a project is choosing to work with an agency that has a breadth of experience working with clients in your industry, and one of the first things you should do when researching is to check whether they’ve worked with clients in your industry before.

By looking at the examples of previous work and case studies on their website you should be able to get an idea of not only their aesthetic and if you feel it would suit your brand, but the kind of businesses they have worked with in the past.

While not a question that should discount an agency completely, if they solely work with a specific type of client, be it the size, or the industry, that doesn’t match yours in any way, it may be too big of a risk and learning curve to trust them with your branding.

The best bet is to choose an agency that works specifically with clients like yourself and who will understand exactly what your branding needs are. If they’ve worked with a client in your industry before, then they will have already undertaken extensive research and have a deep understanding of the sector. They will also likely have some tried and tested suggestions for your project and will be able to show you working examples.

Another option is to look for an agency that can demonstrate success when working with a broad spectrum of clients across a range of industries. The latter can be preferable, as it shows the team are truly skilled, knowledgeable, and versatile, and will be effective no matter what your requirements.

8. Seek referrals

Word-of-mouth is as valuable in the brand design agency world as it is in any other, and if you’re struggling to find an agency that you feel would suit your project…ask around.

Do you have any friends, family or even just acquaintances who’ve used a branding agency with great results? Ask them for their details and get in touch.

Have you noticed a particularly impressive rebrand or love the style of a certain company’s branding? Simply email them and ask whose services they employed. Most people will be more than happy to share their details and will enjoy the compliment.

This is an obvious yet underappreciated tip that can genuinely save you time.

9. Read testimonials and reviews

Like with anything these days, reading online reviews can be the quickest way to get an idea of how good a company or agency is, and if they’ll be a good fit for you.

10. Get in touch

Finally, the quickest and easiest way to find out if an agency is the right choice for you and your project: get in touch.

An introductory chat can be a good indicator of the overall vibe of the agency, and how the working relationship will be going forward. Are they responsive? Professional? Are they friendly and happy to discuss your project? At this stage, you want to feel you can discuss your project and ask questions, without being instantly hit with a hard sell or rushed into making a decision you’re not entirely comfortable with.

It’s a quick and easy way to get a feel for the agency, how your working relationship may be going forward, and the personalities of the people you’ll be dealing with throughout your potential project.

Deciding on an agency to trust with your branding should be a carefully considered decision, but it needn’t be stressful. When done correctly, you’ll find yourself paired with a team of talented and creative designers who will bring exponential value to your business.

By doing your research and following our tips, you’ll have no trouble finding your branding agency match. In fact, this might be the right time to get in touch with us at MadeByShape...

Hello, I'm Natasia, and I'm a content writer for Shape.