What is the role of suppliers in a design agency?

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The world of advertising and design is quite saturated and, at times, can be very cutthroat. This means that if a client doesn’t like the work of one agency, there are 10 others (at least) lining up to present their pitches to them.

This means that advertising agencies need to be at the top of their games when presenting work to their clients. Any mistake in their presentations, no matter how slight, will be taken as a very serious black mark against their names. The more mistakes the agency makes, the more likely the client will be to find another service provider.

This means that it’s imperative for the suppliers that the advertising agency decides to engage with – from freelance copywriters to designers, web designers, and photographers – to be at the top of their game. Their portfolio must impress and they must deliver exactly what agency needs – the first time.

Just as there are a plethora of agencies out there that the client can choose from, there are hundreds more freelance creatives that are vying for jobs that agencies put out. Thus, to get picked, the creative supplier needs to impress.

Let’s have a look at the role of each of the following suppliers in ensuring that the agency functions efficiently


Designers create visual concepts based on the art director’s design direction. They find the most efficient solutions to getting marketing messages across in print and electronic media through the use of colour, type, imagery as well as format.

Graphic designers create the overall layout and production design for advertisements, brochures, magazines, corporate reports, digital graphics, and front-end web design.


Copywriters write the text used in advertising as well as other promotional campaigns or products, such as brochures, print advertisements, billboards, websites, emails, magazines and blog posts. The text is usually sales focused.


Photographers produce permanent visual images for a wide range of creative, technical and documentary purposes. A professional photographer normally works to a brief set by the client or employer. Examples of imagery content include wedding, family and baby photography, fashion, food, architecture as well as landscapes.

A large percentage of professional photographers are self-employed. The rest work for a variety of employers, including creative organisations, publishers and photographic agencies or, alternatively, in the education or public sector.

Photography – in addition to other graphics, that may be sourced from stock image libraries on the Internet – is an extremely important element of most advertising campaigns. While copywriters may spend hours producing an eye-catching headline and copy that explains the benefits of a product, it’s often the photographer’s image that first attracts the viewer and it’s usually also the last thing the viewer remembers after turning the page.

Poor images can make a product disappear into a background of similar shots and identical advertisements, while an outstanding photograph will attract attention and stay in the viewer’s mind. It can mean a difference between success or failure.

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A videographer is in charge of the images the public sees on television, DVDs and movie screens. They work in the studio, in remote locations, and as a part of the post-production team that edits and prepares movies, television shows, and other video productions.

IT technicians

The IT suppliers are usually responsible for designing, organising, modifying, and supporting a company’s computer systems. They would also be responsible for effective provisioning, installation/configuration, operation, and maintenance of systems hardware and software and related infrastructure. They maintain network facilities in individual machines, such as drivers and settings of personal computers, as well as printers.


Printers are contracted by the agency to print ads ranging from small-scale printings to commercial banners. These printers use several printing machines and techniques, such as digital printing, offset printing and letterpress printing.

Web designers

A web designer has both creative as well as technical skills which are used to build as well as redesign websites. A web designer’s skillset may not be as in-depth as those of a developer however with a mainly front end focus s/he is able to make websites aesthetically appealing, yet functional and easy to use.

A front-end web developer is possibly what most people think of as a “web developer”. A front-end web developer is accountable for implementing visual elements that users see and interact within a web application. They are typically supported by back-end web developers, who are responsible for server-side application logic and integration of the work front-end developers do.

Get in touch with the Digital School of Marketing

If you’re keen on learning more regarding the advertising industry – and want to acquire an in-depth knowledge of digital marketing as well – then you should check out our National Certificate of Advertising and Digital Marketing. For more information, please follow this link.

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