“We think you should spend 5% of your day on your design partners, and we’ll tell you why – and how.”

Challenge on Design Organisation

Picking a winner: How do you choose the right design partner?

Design agencies, design experience agencies, design thinking houses, design consultancies, UX consultants, branding agencies, behavioral modification agencies… when it comes to picking the right partner the choices are greater and more bewildering than ever.


How do you choose the right design partner for the right project? As a design manager it starts with being pro-active,
not reactive and keeping an eye on what goes on outside your company as well as inside. Of course, no one ever said that navigating the ever-shifting tides of the design profession was easy… which is why we created a simple but effective tool to help you.

Our empathy

As a design management consultancy we understand this problem first-hand. Potential clients often don’t understand what we really do. For example, design is at the heart of all that we so at PARK… yet we don’t do any graphic design.

Is it their fault? No.
Is it ours for not explaining ourselves properly? Possibly.

The real reason centers on the fast-moving nature of the design business. Quite simply, the types of services we offer today are different to those we offered five years ago…

What you need to do

Keeping up with outside developments can be tough when your time is limited. But having an outside-in mentality is essential not just for keeping up with general news and trends in the design industry but actively seeking out what your past, current (and future) design partners are offering – and why.

Always keep in mind a shortlist of agencies on your roster and aim to dedicate 5% of your time purely to keeping up with them. Trust us, being proactive rather than reactive will ensure you don’t have to start from scratch each time you need to match an agency with a project.

Why should you believe us?

At PARK we’ve been helping clients choose the right design agency for 15 years now – including LEGO, Novo Nordisk and the global beauty brand, COTY. The advice we give them has been hugely aided by a simple tool we created to help guide the matchmaking process.

Don't just take our word for it...

For the inside track on what’s happening at the sharp end of design we could think of no-one better than Thomas Lockwood, an executive search consultant who we’ve worked with closely in the past. “The design world is a lot more complex now than it was even just a few years ago. Many of the positions we’re asked to fill cover broader topics like user experience (UX) leadership and innovation leadership. The simple reason for this is that design organizations are changing and evolving to meet the needs of the market – and that is that design is contributing to a more prominent role in big organizations.”

Check out more of his view points on www.lockwood.com

A tool for you

Our tool maps the criteria that are most important to you (and your project) – for example, experience, culture, process, creativity – to the capabilities of different agencies, and gives you a clear picture of the best fit for your needs. It’s a living document and its very existence hopefully provides that welcome nudge to continue updating the data within it – thus ensuring you have the best possible overview of which agencies could help you. A few of our clients have used it and found it useful. Try it out yourself! 

Design Partner Roster