Like the infamous Ab Fab sketch where Eddy tries to explain the mystery of PR, nobody is ever quite sure what a creative agency does. What makes one agency creative versus another? And is it mildly pretentious to call yourself creative when creativity can be found in every type of business? We thought it was time to break it down and shed some light on the industry for anyone thinking of stepping into the creative fold, or just for those of you who still have no idea what your ‘creative’ friends do all day.
A creative agency, in a beautifully-designed nutshell, is a company that spends its days crafting artistic and engaging work for brands and fellow businesses.
Made up of a careful blend of designers, developers, content writers, PR ‘gurus’ and directors, an agency of this kind is a creative powerhouse; never short of an idea or ten. And there are three main ways in which they can produce this kind of work.
We’ve broken down each type of creative agency so that you know exactly how they work.
The First Type of Creative Agency? Digital.
Remember the guy from school who was super tech-savvy and already had a caffeine addiction at the age of 14? They’re probably working at a digital creative agency now. These digital-focused creatives are experts at designing and developing creative work for the online world. Their work can vary from web design to graphic illustrations and even video production - anything that encourages you as a consumer to fall in love with a brand online. Arguably more ‘trendy’ than their print-based cousins due to the ever-changing online market, digital experts have to work with new platforms and find ways to stay at the forefront of these trends.
Each digital agency will have its specialisms. Some, like us, focus on online marketing. Others will be purely dedicated to social media creation or designing websites. Regardless of what ‘type’ of digital agency you partner with, every piece of creative content that comes out of the doors of a digital agency will be produced for online consumption - from the Facebook ads that grace your Newsfeed, to the latest fashion blog that pops into your inbox.
The Second? Print.
A print-based creative agency is a master of the book cover, the vinyl and the catalogue. Teams of print experts spend their days producing media kits, pop-up banners, packaging and covers. They know and understand the subtle impact of a gold foil print or clever packaging, and their attention to detail is second-to-none. It has to be. After all, a project sent to print with typing errors or blurry images is not a mistake the team can afford to make!
Working with print requires more consideration of textures and the physicality of the finished product than digital, and so whilst they’ll use similar design tools, the skillsets and process for print is often very different to online. Digital designers may happily use software such as Figma or Photoshop for their work, but print specialists will be comfortable with different Adobe programmes such as InDesign. Whilst Photoshop is brilliant for editing an image or turning your latest pet picture into a meme, InDesign has preset publication layouts, with the correct bleed and colour settings for when the document arrives at the printers.
Usually an agency will specialise in either print or digital so that they can do their chosen area of expertise justice. We’ve worked with various clients who have had their packaging or shop windows designed by a print specialist, but come to us for their digital campaigns. We can take print work and ensure that colours, fonts and graphics are being consistently used across their website too.
And Finally: Advertising.
Advertising, as it says on the tin, is about adverts. Getting a brand out there into the public eye, and doing it well. An advertising agency will have experience in both print and digital, delivering PR campaigns and using marketing techniques to make a brand more recognisable and iconic. In the words of Absolutely Fabulous’ character Eddy: “PR! I PR things! People. Places. Concepts.”
Unlike a print agency who might be needed more sporadically over the course of a year (for a fresh menu design, for example, or a media kit when a new computer game launches), advertising agencies tend to strike up longer-term relationships with their clients and build on these over the years. This is due to the sheer amount of work that goes into an effective advertising campaign. One single campaign could include everything from TV adverts to billboards, direct mail or radio shoutouts. Because of this, it takes a big team to oversee all the work! Made up of content writers and creative directors, advertising experts have to blend perfect copywriting with perfect visuals before pitching their ideas to the client. Some of the biggest advertising agencies can spend weeks coming up with an advertising campaign and its rollout before even presenting it to their client. And it doesn’t always go to plan. Once the ideas have been pitched, clients often get various revisions and adjustments until the campaign goes into production. A tricky task and certainly not one you can manage without experience!
What Else Do I need to Know About Agencies?
The beauty of working in a creative agency is that each one has its own skill-set and can do some or all of the above.
Projects can vary from one-off contracts to long-term campaigns that the agency run for their client over a number of months or years. And since every single brand and business in the world requires a creative identity of some form, agencies are often in high demand.
So what do we fill our days with?
Well, Kubix Media is a little bit more complicated, as we’re a creative digital marketing agency. A Shopify Plus agency made up of a team of Shopify Experts no less. As well as finding website design solutions for clients, we also offer marketing and consulting services and on a more long-term basis.
“But what does that mean?” I hear you ask.
Hold your fire: digital marketing isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Marketing is simply the broad term for the methods used to help brands to become bigger. From SEO (optimising websites using specific keywords and earning links to help them rank at the top of Google search engines), to social media campaigns (creating content to encourage people to follow clients’ social pages), marketing is something that every business has to do if they ever want to become recognised and beat their competitors. This can take weeks to months before it starts to pay off, but a clever and well-executed marketing campaign can make the difference between a brand that is simply ‘good’ and a brand that can change the world.
And that’s what Kubix do. Whilst our design team crack on with illustrations, graphics and banners for a new website, our marketing team are busy doing everything in their power to bring the recognition to our clients that they deserve. It’s hard work, but the rush that everyone gets when a client is thrilled with what we’ve done certainly makes it worth doing.
So the next time you find your hipster mate Dave struggling to explain that he’s a UX Designer at a party, you’ll be able to sympathise. Being “creative” all day doesn’t mean we sit around drawing and sipping on our flat whites. (Okay, sometimes we get to do that). What we do do is try to make the most epic creative work we can. And that’s pretty damn satisfying.
Our Latest Shopify Case Studies.
If you fancy getting your creative hat on for your business, then check out our case studies here, or get in touch and see what Kubix Media could do for you.