What one piece of advice would you give to clients?

The British Heart Foundation’s Louise Kyme has written her top 10 tips for clients commissioning creative agencies. What one piece of advice would you like to give to clients?

Liz Dunning

‘Last week’s advice from Louise Kyme of the BHF was insightful. It was encouraging to hear she picks her design partners on the wow factor of the agency’s previous work and team chemistry, not via a time-wasting pitch or marketing pageant. I was, however, surprised all of her insights were about the softer, touchy feely side of design agency/client relationships. As a charity value for money must be paramount! Our most challenging moments are often around the less soft issues, rather the harder issues like money, timing and delivery. My advice would be that these need to be somewhere on the list!’

Liz Dunning, partner, 
Dunning Penney Jones

Lee Bradley

‘Briefs come in all different shapes and sizes. Good briefs, bad briefs, incredibly formal briefs, briefs you’re given with the phone between your legs while driving to another briefing. As a designer, I’ve seen them all. But what makes a good brief? I think it boils down to the client and the designer both having their heads in the same place. And in my experience that comes from talking. A conversation is worth ten emails, and the understanding and personality you get from a chat is worth any number of formal written briefs. So wherever we can, let’s get together, share a conversation and dig out some insights that help us do great work.’

Lee Bradley, creative partner, B&W Studio


‘We’re living in a risk-averse world where process is increasingly seen as more important than the end result. All too often consultation and research are used to lessen the risk of failure, rather than boost the chance of success, and creativity is judged on “measurable outcomes”. Design should be about the sheer joy and excitement of doing things that haven’t been done before. So if you want work that’s truly unforgettable I’ve got a two-in-one piece of advice; be daring and trust your intuition.’  

John Spencer, founder, Off the Top of My Head, and co-founder and creative consultant, Spencer du Bois

Simon Myers

‘Many people in marketing client-side are being asked to do things that they have not done before  – this is great and exciting for them. However, this is often in an unforgiving company environment with very senior people randomly involved with strong opinions, tight budgets and unrealistic deadlines. This makes for a explosive cocktail when mixed with a third party that often has often more experience but relies on the client to drive the process forward internally. In this context 100 per cent clarity over the ultimate objective, being able to articulate “what success looks like” is more important than describing the perceived micro-steps to get there.’

Simon Myers, co-founder and chief executive of Figtree

Radim Malinic

‘It is always important to find a way to connect on a personal level with the agency or the freelancer. Being stiff and rigid, armed with a bullet point list of ‘never-to-be-broken’ brand guidelines never provides for an easy flowing commission. To be fair, not every one is overly confident in their role of commissioning design, not every client is overly experienced in commissioning design. Therefore, it is always refreshing to see clients taking one step down and being honest about their situation or project.  This will make any project feel more like a collaboration rather than a military task.’

Radim Malinic, creative director, Brand Nu

Mark Lester

‘Quite simple really. If you select an agency to work with, then trust them to do what they do best. Otherwise, why pick them? At Mark, we’ve always found that the best (and ultimately most effective) work is created where the client treats us as a partner, rather than just a supplier. Open dialogue, respect for what you bring to the table, and trust in the creative. It’s a simple formula, but it helps make the end result a great one – and ensures everyone enjoys the ride too.’

Mark Lester creative director, Mark

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  • Lydia Thornley November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    What one piece of advice would we give to clients?


  • PHILIP AINLEY November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Great communication is key to the success of any brief. Bad communication can be the downfall of any project, or relationship, creative or otherwise. Also, try to be realistic. We are in a world where everyone wants something for nothing. So clients with a long list of requirements should ensure that they have the right budget available for the project. Saying “I have only a minimal budget” always starts a brief off on the wrong footing.

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