Blogs & resources to grow your design business

Having your own design agency requires solid planning strategy! If you are looking forward to be your own boss, you cannot just quit your job and go with the flow. Before breaking free, let us help you through a list of websites, forums, and some tips that might help you in making a strategy to open your own design agency.


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Design websites to look out for!

What we have here are some of the best websites that can help you learn and grow your design agency with the latest stuff in the market, the techniques and discussions on several different topics or issues. We will talk about them with both general and business perspectives:


Smashing Magazine

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Smashing Magazine site has it all. I would rate this site a 5/5. Why? It provides you all the smart front end design techniques and latest approaches. Some of the best known and respected developers have worked on issues that developers get stuck with and this site helps you in finding the solutions. Smashing Magazine has its own online library where you can go through numerous e-books based on designing and development. What if you stumbled upon an error in a project and don’t know what happened. Well, you can always join the smashing conferences going on or go through a handbook or just search through the site’s categories. Once you understand what happened, you will know how to fix it too. As a design agency, it is best to keep you updated all the time and learn new ways of tackling issues from different resources. Check out this post on different design case studies:

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1)      Designing Case Studies: Showcasing A Human-Centered Design Process


IM Now

IM creator

Watch out for this one, IM Now is not only about building your own websites or using templates to create an attractive website. Like the above websites, IM Now provides a dedicated blog for designers and businesses in order to help them grow implementing new ideas and learning from their mistakes. All businesses need tips from time to time no matter how successful an agency is; and getting the right solutions at the right time plays a crucial part in the growth process. Like how can you get highly paid projects, clients that will be helpful in boosting your business, maintaining quotations, competitive in the market, designs that no other competitor is offering and tips that are not shared on any other platform. IM Now maintains a blog where you get to learn about new tools, designs and patterns, icons and templates and the entire problem solving tips regularly. For example check this post:

Must Read




The nuSchool

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Yes, as the name conveys itself the meaning ‘learning’. Like we said above, the circle of knowledge keeps going forever. No matter you are a freelancer, or a full time employee or you have your own design agency; to grow more in the field the best technique is to learn more. To educate yourself about the latest trends, techniques and problem solving ways; the nuSchool will surely help you in the learning process. Every business fails if it doesn’t evolve with time, if it doesn’t works as per the latest trends. Just like clothing designs, digital designs go fade too with time. If you are out of ideas and techniques, well then you know better where your business will stand. With advanced design training and newest stuff available in your design agency, your clients will be inclined to hire you to build them some mind blowing designs. As of now, nuSchool has more than 6800 designers who are earning more money through them; you can be one of them too! Go through these posts to improve your work worth even better this year:

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2)      How I’m going to make 2015 more fun and more profitable



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Yet again, another platform that provides you ALL! Free tutorials, courses, e-books and even jobs’ updates; what more do you want? A platform like tutsplus is very beneficial for businesses in the field of design. Potential entrepreneurs who are looking for some tips or suggestions on how to open their own design agency must go through this website. Experienced and successful designers have shared their best tips, guides, learning materials and even apps to help other designers grow in the same field. Going through the categories, the Business category will interest you the most. From freelance to entrepreneurship, it caters all. Look through them and you might find what you are looking for; like these:

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1)      Session: Evolve From Freelancer to Agency

2)      How to Decide Your Own Role in Your Creative Agency



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Howdesign goes a level up as a platform as compared to the ones mentioned above. This site is a complete package for any designer or person who is willing to open his/her own design agency and looking for a perfect resource where all the tips, tools and upcoming events or offers are discussed. This site is just like a store where you find everything under one roof; for a new design agency, all experts and experiences! From offerings like video tutorials for learning from a howdesign University (be a learner or become an instructor) and howdesign Events to News, tutorials, groups, discussions, jobs, subscriptions and courses. This one has got ALL for everyone in the design field. To be updated, Howdesign also features a separate category for design firms so if you are opening one soon, get it saved as a bookmark then. Events can be very beneficial for businesses and those who are looking for potential clients, what better way than attending a LIVE event or exhibition. Please check:

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1)      Design Business & The Industry of Design


Forums to look out for!

We have talked a lot about websites that can benefit you in opening a new design agency and discussed how they can be resourceful. Now let us go briefly through a list of forums that can be quite helpful in doing the same:


DesignForums UK

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Sometimes we just want to talk in general about issues when opening a new design agency and they keep bugging us in our head. Websites are the most effective mediums to find proper and detailed answers by experts but sometimes forums tend to be even more effective. In DesignForums, you can simply add a query or join a discussion already added; leave your question there or even help out others in case you have experience in something they want to know. Check these:

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2)      is being a Sole Trader or Limited company best?


Graphic Design Forum

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GDF is another one of those forums which are proved to be very helpful for both freelance and self owned design businesses. Most of the forums revolve around work timings, fee against your work, fraudulent clients and how to make a mark with your design firm. It also provides links and book downloads to designers who want to enter the world of ‘My own Design Agency’. Please go through these:

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1)      Coping With Clients Who Use Your Concept Design Without Paying

2)      Recommended Books for the Business of Design


Designers Talk

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DT is also a forum where designers can communicate through this medium on several different issues and share first hand experiences. Some work on blogs and share here with other members. Yes, you have to sign up as members for all the forums and get into discussion. You will get notifications when there is a new response. Go through the forum and see if something interests you to sort out your queries here:

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1)      Business Talks



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Site point helps both as a website and a forum to designers and businesses. It consists of different sections targeting all fields including business and design. You can go through the articles, books and courses plus topics that interest you related to opening your own design agency and hiring resources too. Check this:

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Digital Point

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Digital Point is yet another popular forum preferred by designers and design firms, proved to be helpful on various different topics and issues. Being a member benefits you to take advantage of different tools and marketplace plus you can also do advertising with them. Here is something helpful for all you new design entrepreneurs out there:

Must Read

1)      HTML & Website Design


5 effective tips for Opening Design Agency

We discussed the websites and forums that are found to be very effective for opening a new design agency and also came across different resources. Let’s sum up the article by pin pointing 5 effective tips that can give you an advantage to open a design agency:

Experience counts: You cannot learn how to open a design agency by the books or just reading the articles. You must have experience in the field (not a few months experience for sure). If you are not good as a designer, then you will never understand what your client is looking for; for having your own business, you need to have designing experience.

Smart Hiring: Hire people who are smarter than you, people with good moral values, exceptional, creative minds and responsible. The market is full of designers who can work on HTML and CSS but you can’t run a business if you are hiring less than exceptional designers. Be smart and thorough when hiring your staff members from a clerk to the top management to your accountant. The above mentioned websites and forums can also be effective in searching for the right people for the right job. You can post job offers there too.

Decide your role/responsibility in the Agency: Yes, you will be the business owner, but what role will you actually handle in the company. Someone who will handle all departments, or just one or someone who will keep an eye on or evaluate the performances regularly; or just blend in with all? That is for you to decide, once you do that well, you will know what to do next.

Create an established client base: It is always good to contact clients you used to work for from your old job. Attend events to look for potential clients like we discussed above in HowDesign section; it will help before you start your business. Ask your freelance job clients too to join. Leaving your job doesn’t mean you have to leave your clients too.

Set your standards: Being your own boss doesn’t mean you won’t have standards in your company. To maintain a healthy business relationship with clients and quality work force, always set your standards. Those will separate you and create an identity of your agency. Distinguish you from others!

Hope we have summed up all the tips and best resources you can look for when opening a design agency. Do share if you want to add something or give your comments what you think about it!

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With a passion for Knowledge, Smashinghub has been created to explore things like Free Resources For Designers, Photographers, Web Developers and Inspiration.

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