Small businesses often hire an outside firm for consultation on advertising and promotion. One option is an advertising agency, and another is a graphic design studio. What is the difference between these two types of agencies, and which is right for your business needs?
Advertising agencies are qualified to do everything from design logo and business cards to television commercials and everything in between. Large advertising agencies may also have a marketing department that will work with you to build and implement a business strategy which may or may not include a corporate identity, branding, advertising, telemarketing, etc. There are various services that an advertising agency presents as options; they may perform only one task.
Graphic design studios can generally put their total efforts into a project. Advertising agencies often have extra services that would not be found in the more targeted service list for a graphic design studio. Although some graphic design studios do have a marketing department available for their clients. Businesses generally need assistance with the message and brand in addition to a well designed piece of marketing collateral.
Advertising and design can get very expensive so it is important to understand which route you should take based on what you are trying to accomplish. As a designer, I often find that clients do not need to hire expensive advertising agencies; much can be accomplished with a graphic design studio, saving thousands of dollars. Don’t get me wrong, advertising agencies have their place, but often a graphic design studio is sufficient.
When to Work with a Graphic Design Studio Instead of an Advertising Agency:
If a large scale advertising campaign is more than you are looking for. There are times when you simply need a brochure, a logo, business card, poster, or other collateral, but not an ad. Ad agencies often charge more for all of their services because they work on such a wide range of advertising projects. Even if you are not using those services, you are ultimately paying a higher price for your projects because of the high overhead at the agency.
As a business owner, you can take on some of the responsibility of purchasing ad spaces instead of using the advertising agency for this purpose, and have a graphic designer work with you on the designs, but not necessarily placement. Many business already have established connections with the venues for publication. Therefore, managing the ad buying and placement is not a problem and can keep you within your budget.
For smaller projects. Ad agencies love the big project, that’s where the money is at, but not everyone has large projects all the time. Graphic design studios are perfect for smaller to medium projects.
If you desire personal service. If you prefer working one-on-one with your designer, you have a better chance of that a graphic design studio. Advertising agencies use account managers to work with clients so you may never meet the designer.
Time crunch. Most graphic design studios are more timely in their work than their advertising agency counterparts as there is typically one designer or team for each project, rather than a conglomeration of departments found in an advertising agency. These days everyone has strict budgets and are trying to make a dollar stretch as far as they can. Choosing a graphic design studio over an advertising agency can help you to accomplish your goals while keeping your project in the black.