Great design is only truly great once it has been delivered to market and met its objective.
Design has a responsibility to solve problems, meet deliverables, come in on budget and address those rarely thought about challenges such as the supply chain.
If your idea isn't aligned with the rest of your business operations then it is without any consideration for its sole purpose.
Design has to be in context. There are always a variety of barriers and guidelines in which to work within. It the agency's job to create as much freedom as possible within these parameters and challenge the brief at all times.
Some agencies may well create an inspiring idea but due to either a lack of knowledge about their clients systems or a complete disregard for the brief, that idea could never be delivered by the business.
This irresponsibility clears the way for agencies that embrace the deliverable elements of design.
What a relief it is for a client who can talk to an agency who has great design ideas, that are developed from real market insight and experiences, that can be delivered through the clients business, using their existing structure to a market that will buy it.
When considering investing in design, clients need to be 100% sure that their chosen agency can deliver in the following three areas.
The first is the origination of the idea. Real life provides us with inspiration everyday and by going out and experiencing things for ourselves, our work will have a natural, real and relevant backdrop.
Beware though, regurgitating a trend or a fashionable style that happens to be in vogue at the time is an easy yet harmful trap to fall into. Work that bucks the trend stands out -- it's time-proof and ultimately works harder.
The second is how the design idea can be delivered.
It should always be consistent so that the messages reaching the consumer are not mixed and ultimately confusing. Design is essential so that your brand speaks through one consistent tone of voice.
And the third, most fundamental reason that a client uses an agency is to solve a problem that they don't have the skills to do in house.
Design has a job to do. If it is selling more stuff, changing a mindset or positioning a message, then be clear about why this brief has come about in the first place, the value this work has to the business and the one thing it must achieve.
Keeping it simple is sometimes overlooked when it comes to design, as people can become carried away in the visual beauty, but there is always an exact reason as to why it's needed, we as an agency have to be pro-active to make sure that we find it.
Ensuring that an agency has measures in place to prove the relative success or failure of design is important.
Clients need to know that the agency cares about the result of the project and can ultimately translate intangible pictures into tangible results.
Paul Castledine, president and chief creative officer at brand design agency Boxer.
This article was first published on brandrepublic.com