Insights / Agency

Building a “relationships” business

It's more about relationships and politics. I think as a young designer you come out of art school, and you're uber creative, no barriers in the world, and you do some great work. I think as you grow older you start to realise that you probably need guided by more senior people who are handling those relationships and conversations, and I think when you're leading a team, or a business, or a studio, or something, you can always get good designers in who will do the quality craft. They'll show you the latest typefaces, they'll be awesome at Cinema 4D, all these cool tools, and it's like, "I don't do that, I can't do that, but what I can do is manage a conversation, manage a client, build those relationships, make those relationships meaningful".

A lot of lovely jobs I've had have been repeat jobs as the client has bounced around different businesses, they want to work with me, my team, the business again, because it's actually a "relationships" business. We're helping them to look really good, and grow, and do really well in their business. So I think you can get good designers, you can get good people who are good on the tools, got a good eye, best at kerning, best at picking fonts, but it's knowing what shape of team to build.

You do need someone who can handle a relationship, and that's interesting as well, in the larger agencies, client relationships can be held by a client services team, and some businesses, fortunately none that I've worked for, they've fought on the client side. So then you're against the client services team who you are on the same payroll as you, that doesn't make sense.

I've always enjoyed working in places where the client relationship is between the project leads, and the project lead might be a strategist, creative director, design director, or a client services director, and we're a team of people here to facilitate really good work.

Building a “relationships” business

Previously: KotoWolff OlinsBabylon Health

Clients: Uber