On being small.

Khoi Vinh, who is the art director for the NY Times hits the mail on the head in this article about agency size.

“it’s my belief that you just can’t get great design out of a design agency with a staff larger than a dozen or two. Design doesn’t scale well, in my opinion, or at least it doesn’t do so easily.”

“The problem is that the structures of most larger design businesses cannot effectively facilitate the the transmittal of ideas. They don’t allow good design to happen, because they are overburdened with the organizational overhead of running a business: org charts, jurisdictions, inconsistency, poor communications, etc. All the complications that large groups of humans create for one another when they work together, complications that are not about doing design.”

“What you get, then, is a grab bag effect. Hiring a design agency with a large staff is an exercise in luck of the draw; one client may get very good designers assigned to their project, and another may get poor designers.”

Well said. While we may have had aspirations to be big when we started, we’re now what we call “purposefully small.” We’re intentionally small so that we can control quality, and work with clients we love. A larger staff usually means more mediocre clients, and more mediocre workers, just to keep up the overhead. It’s a headache not worth having. We’re happy to grow in happiness, and profit, rather than arbitrarily in size.


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