How has commissioning a design agency changed?

Everything changes, but the rate of change in how design agencies are commissioned has been incredible over the last few years. We examine why.

The 4 Biggest Factors

Commissioning a design agency has changed in recent years due to various technological, cultural, and economic shifts.

Some of the ways that the process of commissioning a design agency may have changed include the following:

  1. Increased use of online platforms and virtual communication
  2. Greater emphasis on user experience and design thinking
  3. Changes in the economy and business environment
  4. Growing competition

We will look at all four of these points and explain a little more about how and why they may affect your design commissioning choices.

1. Increased use of online platforms and virtual communication.

One of the unexpected outcomes of the COVID pandemic was the acceleration of the move to online working and, specifically, the use of video meetings on platforms such as Zoom or Teams.

It is now much easier for companies and design agencies to communicate and collaborate remotely, removing the importance of locality and large city-based offices.

At Toast, we had adopted these technologies years before the pandemic, along with online project management tools, including Basecamp, that allowed us to work with clients across the UK, Europe and the US.

A great example is the website development and rebranding work completed for On Call Africa, based in rural Zambia. This project would have been almost impossible to deliver without capitalising on technological developments.

On call Africa Logo Designs

2. Greater emphasis on user experience and design thinking

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of user experience (UX) in all aspects of design, with every element, from brochures to websites having to prove their effectiveness beyond the aesthetic.

The growing demand for Digital Brochures has brought this demand to the front of customers’ minds. Digital brochures have evolved quickly to bridge the gap between traditional communications and the digital world.

3. Changes in the economy and business environment

We have seen considerable changes in the economic and business environment that have created significant alterations in how design agencies are commissioned.

An example is how companies with restricted budgets are less likely to commit their entire budget to one agency and may want to place their work across a couple of agencies.

Alternatively, they may look for agencies that offer more flexible payment methods, such as a design subscription offering.

4. Growing competition

As well as natural growth within the design sector from new graduates and new agencies, the market has seen growing competition from online platforms offering templated or AI-assisted design offerings.

Although these are limited in scope and offer somewhat formulaic solutions, for many, that is perfectly ok and meets their requirements. In response to this development, agencies have had to rethink their positioning and create new and exciting ways to differentiate themselves and win new work.

How can we help?

Toast has always put its customers and their needs at the heart of what they do and in doing so has mitigated some of the biggest challenges that face clients looking to commission design work. If you have a project that requires branding & logos, brochures & marketing, WordPress websites, or a mix of all of them, we can help.

Simon Browne

Simon Browne

Simon works on strategy, planning, content and SEO at Toast. An experienced copywriter and website content planner, he helps our clients get the best out of their copy and websites.