We've been in business since 2010, and before that - I was a Freelance Web Designer for some of the biggest agencies in the UK. We have built up a boutique web design agency here that can cater for large clients as well as small clients. This gives variety to day to day life and doesn't let boredom creep in to a designers diary. We have some clients spending decent money with us, and we also have small clients who are just starting out on their journey. So the question is, do we just accept a project based on how much they are willing to spend? The answer is No.... here are some insights...
I wouldn't say that this list is in hierarchy, but I'm pretty sure personality match has to be up there. Whether it's the project manager, the decision maker, or whoever we are dealing with on the project - it's vitally important you are both on the same page from a direction point of view, and also that communication is comfortable. I'm quite bold, I tell jokes, I like banter, I like to laugh - if the client doesn't like this - I'm not going to change, we may not be the right fit for each other. We are very good at what we do, we are very professional, we win awards for what we do. But that doesn't mean we are formal, our language and day to day life is very informal. We want to enjoy working on projects, and having laughs with clients. We like to build up relationships, and we have clients that have been with us for 10+ years.
It doesn't matter whether you like football or not, RnB or Country Music, Vanilla Ice Cream or Strawberry. You may not like us, we may not like you - and that's fine, the fit has to be right for both parties.
Starting a project together needs communication and direction. We listen to you, your brief, your audience and provide our opinion. Analysing your competitors and what they are doing well, and not so well - a discussion opens up at this point. We get a feeling straight away if you are on the same page as us in terms of direction. This phase of the project is super important, because it's research and direction time that's been spent. Design hasn't started yet. So if you both aren't on the same page - no more time has to be wasted. And I must add, this can be spotted early on from both parties.
We like to guide clients with direction, research and theory. But it's a collaboration - we actually start with your thoughts on your business, where you want it t grow, which areas you want to focus on, your opinion on competitors, industry references, website references etc. This paints a great picture in our mind of what you like and don't like. If something doesn't work in our opinion, then we'll tell you - and we'll explain why it can be done better.
If you're impressed with a web design agency and their portfolio, but their direction for your project is not quite aligned - ask questions and spend time at this point before jumping into the design project. That's when it gets awkward.
How you run your own company. How you treat staff. The culture. How you communicate with us when we first meet. Some clients think that we are lucky to receive their enquiry - maybe they should think again. Are they lucky to have us work on their project? We have the opinion that all projects should benefit both parties. The client gets an awesome website, and we get an awesome website for our portfolio to showcase what we can do.
When presenting ideas to clients, it's not only about the now - it's about the future. For example, if your ethos is the same as ours - you always want to be the best. Progress. Improve. Never stop learning. We won a contract with a client to improve their site - but we pitched everything. We told them everything needed doing. His reaction was fantastic, he didn't take this as a negative and as criticism. He was open to refreshing everything, over stages to be manageable - to get the best result at the end of the day. He understood that we are here to provide expert opinion and services, and although it wasn't his initial enquiry to refresh everything, he was at least open to it. This example is extreme - but the theory is the same throughout projects. Suggestions may come up during the project to do a design differently, or add some functionality that they've never seen before - it may get accepted or rejected, but the ethos is to learn and improve and be open to change.
We want to work with progressive and ambitious brands, no matter of scale or age.
Location does not matter for us. We have clients all over the world and as long as communication is good, and consistent - there shouldn't be an issue. We also try to arrange to meet every client face to face too. We use apps like Teamwork, Slack, Zoom and Trello to manage projects.
I used to work at agencies that didn't work on anything less than £40,000. Here at MadeByShape, we do have a minimum starting budget of £5,000. This enables us to create variety in our diary with small brands and large organisations. We have a team of creatives in-house that have the experience and expertise to cater for global companies, but also have the flexibility for them to help smaller brands.
We're a busy digital agency, so we do have to state a minimum spend - but if you're idea is awesome and the requirements are realistic, we'll listen for sure. Every enquiry we get, we consider and digest before making a decision on whether to take it to the next step or not.
If you have £50,000 to spend and it's a very easy project - we will tell you how to spend your money more wisely. If you have a low budget but complicated requirements, we will tell you. If you don't know how much a project costs - let us know what's realistic from your side and we will tell you what functionality is realistic from the creative side. We wrote an article on budgets within web design projects that may be useful to some of you reading this.
It's also important to have realistic timeframes too. It's not just about budget, it's about when that can be delivered. If you have £80k to spend but want it done for tomorrow, somebody is going to be disappointed.
If we get a good vibe in the first meeting. If you're a nice person. If you had good intentions. Bold vision. Want to be better than your competitors. Have realistic budgets and timeframes. And you've already spent the time to understand us and our agency, and you like what you see - and want to work with us... please do get in touch. You sound amazing : )