I recently stumbled across an old blog post that kind of ruffled my feathers. It was the blog of an unnamed advertising agency stating that they were “swimming in the same stream” as this “new breed” of single-owner graphic design studios. They were complaining that any agency with staff couldn’t compete against these sole-proprietorships with their low overhead, inconsistencies and minimal support. They went on to say that these single-owned design firms lacked the creative output than their larger counterparts (of course, there wasn’t anything to back up that claim).
Well, I have some news for them: it’s these smaller, *gasp* single-owned design studios that businesses are reaching out to in hard economic times. Why? Because we CAN provide a broad range of creative services to our clients, and at a much lower cost. True, larger firms do have a staff of copywriters, designers, and marketing people to offer a broad spectrum of services, but I wonder who pays for that staff and that fancy office space? It ends up being the client. Businesses today are getting smart about cutting costs and they are finding that they can save money on their marketing/creative costs by working with these smaller design studios.
Most of these smaller studios (mine included) have excellent working relationships with some of the area’s finest PR/Marketers, copywriters, coders, etc. By working together as a team with these types of support businesses we’re able to offer “full service” to our clients at a much more reasonable price. As far as creative output goes, that depends on the talent of the designer, copywriter etc. Just because an agency has a large staff, a fancy office and designer furniture doesn’t mean they are going to come up with the next Nike campaign.