Artistic Intelligence

Bates Creative is a full-service brand experience and marketing agency in the Washington, D.C. metro that thrives on transforming strategic and creative challenges into positive, branded results. We believe that immersive customer experiences are fueled by the visual and visceral nature of designers, developers, strategists and visionaries who believe in the art of an idea.

With our branded methodology, Artistic Intelligence, we blur the lines between business-minded logic and thought-provoking design to create meaningful customer experiences for all clients ranging from big dogs to new ventures.

 
$10,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2003
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Silver Spring, MD
headquarters
  • Bates Creative
    8505 Fenton Street, Suite 212
    Silver Spring, MD 20910
    United States
other locations
  • Bates Creative Washington, DC
    United States

Reviews

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Print & Digital Design & App Dev for Trade Association

"We worked intensely for six months and everything went without a hitch."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
June 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Bates proposed overhauling all existing magazine brand and digital collateral. The project team developed an Adobe-based app compatible with iOS/Android devices. Efforts remain focused on user engagement.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Senior Director, Content, Trade Association
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Innovative approaches, timeliness, and reliably clear communication are major strengths. Project completion has resulted in overwhelmingly positive feedback from end-users.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We're a trade association with 11,000 member companies. I oversee the association’s editorial and advertising teams.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Bates Creative?

We had a relatively new magazine: it transitioned from a newsletter to a magazine, and then was digitized. While we already had a digital edition app with another vendor (a flipbook model), it wasn't effective.

As we were developing a new design, we needed someone with tech expertise to introduce a fresh, more effective approach and develop a new app that would generate user engagement.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

When we started working with Bates in 2014, they performed an analysis and evaluation of our publication. In 2015, we decided to begin the full redesign across both platforms - print and digital. They built from scratch an Adobe-based mobile app that houses our digital editions and is compatible with Android and iOS devices.

Before the work began, we had robust collaborative discussions and brainstorming sessions, followed by presentations where they introduced multiple concepts for us to choose from. They were very disciplined about sticking to the schedule. We worked intensely for six months and everything went without a hitch. We rolled out the redesigned print magazine and new mobile app in May 2015 as a coordinated effort that strengthened our magazine brand.

From then until the present, they have continuously produced our bimonthly digital editions, and they also have sometimes produced print editions for us when needed. As a separate project, they are also in the midst of a website redesign project with us.

What is the team dynamic?

We had a great project manager for the magazine project, Taryn. The tasks were delegated to different designers as needed. I worked with Ernie [Executive VP of Creative, Bates Creative] on print editions and with Tommy [Digital Strategist, Bates Creative] on app strategy.

How did you come to work with Bates Creative?

I first saw Debbie Bates-Schrott [Founder and CEO, Bates Creative] co-presenting at a conference with an Adobe representative in 2014. They were talking about a case study of another app and I was impressed, which caused me to reach out to Debbie afterwards. I already knew of them as a company, but the presentation really caught my eye.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in 2014 and the collaboration is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our formal member survey of 2016 revealed very positive feedback. A majority of members characterized it as a must-read publication. Over the years we have seen upward trends in how our members rate and value our magazine. We've won several awards and have had honorable mentions between 2015 and the present.

How did they perform from a project management standpoint?

Taryn has been fabulous and we love working with her. Bates is disciplined when it comes to scheduling, keeping everything on track with reminders and communicating clearly. We rarely communicative in-person, instead email is our primary tool and then sometimes we use the phone as well.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They're an innovative agency and are always looking for new ways to approach clients on how to fulfill their needs. Bates operates on the cutting-edge, which is critical because things change rapidly on the digital front. They always challenge themselves and try to evolve, which I appreciate.

Are there any areas they could improve?

As an observation, and most likely a result of their success, Bates has become extremely busy. I get the sense that they may need to grow resources to keep up with all their client work. Here or there, I may notice it with scheduling, but it hasn’t really impacted us because they have always been good about managing priorities. I am happy for them and their growth.

4.5
Overall Score Bates has been a great partner for us and I really enjoy working with them.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Magazine & Web Design for Nonprofit

“They bring cutting-edge creative capabilities and ideas to their work, and make us look really cool.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Nov. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Bates Creative refreshed the print and online image of a monthly periodical. They design the magazine, support an Adobe app, and collaborate on marketing strategies.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Alexandria, Virginia
Erin Pressley
VP of Publishing, The National Association of Convenience Stores
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Through an understanding of brand and design, Bates Creative provided an award-winning product. They are strict about scheduling, but are receptive and open communicators.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am VP of Publishing for NACS, the National Association of Convenience Stores. We’re a trade association for the convenience industry. I am responsible for media content and advertising sales.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Bates Creative?

We wanted to refresh the image and design of our magazine, including its technical aspects. We wanted to tie our print material to a new website and Adobe app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They play a design and consulting role. They inherited some of another agency’s work at first, and had to work with that. More recently, they worked through our new organizational rebrand and helped us integrate that into a new magazine design. They also help us express ourselves in the Adobe app and magazine website.

What is the team dynamic?

We had a team of around four, but they brought in extra people during busy periods or times of crisis. We communicate mostly through Basecamp, occasionally by phone, and rarely in person.

How did you come to work with Bates Creative?

They were an exhibitor at an Association Media and Publishing conference. They had experience in Adobe, which appealed to us.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested more than $400,000 to date.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve worked with them off and on for several years, but they started working on our magazine around November 2015. They design the magazine each month, and they help put that content on our website and Adobe app. We are in the midst of a redesign now.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We always get compliments on the design from peers and association members. It’s clean, sophisticated, and represents our industry. We’ve also won a bunch of awards, which is validating.

How did Bates Creative perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re on the ball, and very communicative.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They really understand branding and design, and caught the essence of our association and the commercial space we inhabit. They bring cutting-edge creative capabilities and ideas to their work, and make us look really cool.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Their adherence to the schedule is sometimes rigid to a fault. That’s an asset in some ways, but we wish they could be more flexible when scheduling issues come up.

Advice for potential customers?

Communication is key. A clear exchange makes for a good partnership, and they are receptive and open to that.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They’re strict about scheduling, but it helps keep us on track.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They weren’t our most affordable option, but we get good quality work for the price.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    There are occasional hiccups, but no more than normal.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’ve done so many times.

Branding Identity & Web Dev for Brewery

“They’ve given us such a distinction out in the market.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Feb. 2013 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Bates Creative helped establish a holistic brand identity. They have completed a wide range of design requirements such as a logo and t-shirts. They also built two versions of the website.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Justin Cox
CEO, Atlas Brew Works
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Bates Creative’s design has received positive feedback from customers, distributors, and retail partners and garnered several awards for its visual appeal and intricacy. The team understands direction but does not hesitate to request clarification on a task. They ask pointed questions and are receptive to feedback.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the founder and CEO of Atlas Brew Works, which is a craft brewery in Washington D.C.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Bates?

We were in our infancy and needed help holistically on our brand identity.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We got together with Bates just after we announced we were going to open. They really led us through our infancy to what we are today. They came up with 3 design themes and we found one that we really liked and they took that and ran with it. Us being in a consumer good industry, we have lots of design requirements. They’ve done everything from our tap handles to our can designs to t-shirts and advertising banners, etc. They did our main logo design too.

They’ve done two versions of our website for us. In the beginning, there were only two of us and we were trying to get everything done that’s required in a new business. A website was not something we really had time to think about. They came up with a cool idea of making the original website a sort of feed for our different social media outlets. It would automatically update things that we had been putting on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. It was really easy for us to supply content to keep the website fresh that way. Since we kind of got our feet under us with the first site, we needed a massive redesign for the next website. It was a little bit more of a traditional website with a lot more content that we have today. The website is built on WordPress.

What is the team dynamic?

I have a few points of contact that I work with. I’m sure the project managers delegate to different people in the organization.

How did you come to work with Bates?

They read an article in the Washington Business Journal when we announced we were going to open the brewery. They saw that and reached out to us. They thought they could help and were excited about working with someone in the consumer product space.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in February 2013 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We get constant feedback on the beauty and intricacy of our design from our customers, distributors, and retail partners. We sell a lot of t-shirts and people like the designs. We actually won a couple of awards in the beer world for some of our can designs.

How did Bates perform from a project management standpoint?

They were great. I have nothing bad to say about Bates. We throw a lot of stuff at them with a lot of intricacies. They’re able to handle it very judiciously. The project manager we work with is not afraid to get back and get clarifications when they need them. Their questions are very pointed. They’re able to understand direction very well, which is a great thing in a colleague. We met with them throughout the process, reviewed ideas, and gave feedback on ideas and layouts.

We communicate by email and phone. They’re not located too far from here and so we meet a few times a year face to face.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’ve been impressed with how protective they are of the brand that they have created, but not to the point where they’re excluding feedback from us. When we have ideas that may kind of fall outside of their vision, they’re either able to rein us in where need be, but not so pushy with it that they won’t heed any strong feelings that we have.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. It’s been amazing working with them. They’ve done so much for us and given us such a distinction out in the market. We’ve been totally pleased.

Do you have any advice for potential clients of Bates Creative?

Call them up.

5.0
Overall Score They’re great.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They meet just about every deadline. Sometimes we have some tight things come up when we don’t know something is coming down the pike. That can be a little challenging.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The financial part is not insignificant, but it’s been a great value for the quality of stuff we receive.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Everything we’ve gotten from them has been excellent.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I sing their praises to anyone who will listen.

Adobe Design and Dev for Nonprofit Association

"They have a really strong team."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Bates Creative helps to increase revenue through online ads and appeal to a younger audience, among other goals. They’ve assisted in gathering requirements, creating the design framework, and with branding.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Arlington, VA
Falar Fatmi
CIO, Air Force Association
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their work has gathered positive feedback so far but the best thing about them is not only that they’re a local firm, but that they also understand the nonprofit space and audience really well. Communicating is easy with them and they have a talented project manager, as well as great designers.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CIO for the Air Force Association based in Arlington, Virginia. We support the United States Air Force, family members, and retirees. We have 100,000 members and about 5,000 corporate members. We provide events and have programs such as the Mitchell Institute, think tanks, CYBERPATRIOT, a STEM program, the Wounded Airmen Program, and a lot of other programs that we integrate for our airmen.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Bates Creative?

There were 3 business challenges. Frist, the membership was dropping and the new members—a young group of individuals—were not marketed to very well nor provided the outreach that we’d like to give. There was a big push on the design of the website for connecting with this newer generation through different digital platforms or creating the necessary transformations to attract them.

The second challenge was to increase our revenue through online advertisement. Since our print material is declining, we’re more focused on ways to connect with our constituents and provide different benefits to them.

The third challenge was to get people to connect with the organization from a branding perspective. We have about 250 chapters all over the United States and each one of those chapters needs to be centralized in order to provide just one source of content and communication.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They started from the ground up, working with us in coming up with the requirements, bringing up the business case, and figuring out what we were looking for. Then, they worked with our team to provide a design framework and to rethink the branding. We didn’t quite change our brand, but rather the way we reach out to our audience while providing the best practices to our executives on how we can achieve those goals. They were also part of bringing in the Adobe platform and working with us as a partner rather than as a vendor.

The magazine mobile app we are working on right now is also on Adobe.

What is the team dynamic?

There are about 10 people working with us.

How did you come to work with Bates Creative?

I first worked with them about 5 years ago when I was the CIO at another company. We adopted Adobe at the time and they managed the mobile part of it. We wanted to deliver in 3 months, which they did. It was a successful project, so based on that we hired them.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in 2016 and the work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The feedback has been positive. We are very happy with them.

How did Bates Creative perform from a project management standpoint?

They have a really strong team. They have really good architects and designers, and a really strong project manager that is assigned to our project. We communicate through phone, email, and in-person.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They’re a local firm, so that’s very positive for us. They understand the nonprofit and association lingo very well and know the audience in the domain as well. We mainly focus on the Adobe aspect of the work, and they’re very good at it. It’s also easy to connect and talk to them.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Very strong.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer