5 Things that Speak for a Designer and against an Advertising Agency

Since I started my business HCG corporate designs back in 2010 and got self-employed as a designer, I had the possibility to speak with a huge number of clients, potential clients, business partners, advertising agencies and other entrepreneurs. There is something that I’ve come across quite frequently: Too many companies are unhappy with their advertising agencies. This finding made me dig deeper in the course of trustful talks with colleagues and clients of advertising agencies alike in order to find out more about this phenomenon. It made me write this blog article.



The website of one of Tyrol’s most renowned companies was supposed to be redone in terms of functionality and design. There was a set budget as well as a set timeframe that the advertising agency (also one of the most renowned ones in Tyrol) had to stick to. Several staff changes in the advertising agency’s IT department led to the website project having to be started from scratch three (!) times.

Obviously, there was no documentation of the website concept, or the skills of the changing IT people in the advertising agency varied so much, so that no new web designer could continue the work of the previous web designers. This resulted in a costy overdraft of the budget and a delay of the website going live of over 1.5 years. As if that was not bad enough, the client was unsatisfied with the advertising agency’s delivery, but they didn’t want to cancel the project as it was already "so far" and so much money and time had already been invested. IT experts and creatives now smile at the website and sometimes use it as a "negative example" of how certain functionalities and designs aspects should NOT be executed.

Staff change cannot happen with a designer (single entrepreneur) of course. The designer is in the topic from start to finish and knows about every single detail. There can still be time or budget overdrafts, though. However, a professional designer communicates this early enough. The client having to suffer under several staff changes and having to pay the price for that (literally), is a risk you don’t have when working with a designer.


Typical advertising agencies offer a variety of services: classic print advertising, copywriting, PR and press related work, strategic marketing consulting in terms of positioning, competition conception and execution, surveys, Facebook marketing, Google AdWords, search engine optimisation, web design, web shop design, programming of apps, corporate designs (logos etc.), point of sale design, offline marketing campaigns, radio spots, TV spots etc. The list is long.

Designers have a much smaller variety of services. One person alone can never cover as many things as an advertising agency. This is of course a disadvantage for the client. The advantage, on the other hand, is clear and proves itself in everyday business life: Designers are more specialised and thus offer higher quality in their fields than ordinary advertising agencies.