An Agency for What’s Next

Beyond Definition, formerly Bates Creative, is a strategy and creative agency serving mission-driven organizations. For 16 years, Beyond Definition has offered design, branding, digital, marketing, and print expertise to clients in the association, foundation, and nonprofit sectors. Beyond Definition is based in Silver Spring, Maryland and isa proud WBENC and WOSB-certified woman-owned business.

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

Reviews

Sort by

Branding for Global Business Network

They’ve been able to navigate our very specific wants and needs.”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Sept. 2018 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Beyond Definition rebranded a professional network. They established the brand’s visual identity through deliverables like a new logo and color scheme and reoriented the company’s messaging and mission.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Lawrence, Kansas
Marketing, CREW Network
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Beyond Definition’s team of distinct specialists challenged the client to go beyond their usual boundaries. Successfully navigating specific demands, the team engaged with the client in a dynamic way. While they had to go back to the drawing board at points, the collaboration was a success.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the chief marketing officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network. We’re a global network of professionals who work in the commercial real estate industry. We currently have 12,000 members worldwide.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Beyond Definition?

We had an outdated brand that wasn’t representative of our dynamic and diverse membership. We wanted to not only develop a new brand but to raise our organization’s visibility in order to reposition ourselves in the marketplace. We wanted to tell a story about our growth as well as the success of our members.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

In our initial research phase, we interviewed members and stakeholders to understand both the internal and external perceptions of our business. This was a critical step in understanding what we needed to change about our brand.

Beyond Definition first rebranded us from a visual identity standpoint—by delivering a logo, color palette, and web design recommendations. They then helped us reorient our messaging and mission statement to reflect that new visual identity.

In conjunction with a partner, they purchased our media for an ad campaign and helped us strategize an image campaign that’s still ongoing.

What is the team composition?

I worked with between 5­–8 people. This team included specialists in research, brand design, strategy, and project management.

How did you come to work with Beyond Definition?

We focused on finding a partner—preferably in the D.C. area—that had experience working with associations like ours. We included them in our bid process, and we found that they had extensive experience with rebranding associations that similarly run on a chapter model.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent over $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in April 2018 and the work is ongoing. Our current image campaign is projected to run until April of next year.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

They’ve been able to navigate our very specific wants and needs. From an internal standpoint, we appreciated how they effectively challenge us to go beyond our limits. Their collaborative skill is great.  

How did Beyond Definition perform from a project management standpoint?

I was impressed with their ability to meet our budget as well as the deadlines. They communicate openly with us through a mix of scheduled calls and emails. They use a product management platform to reach the right people.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Their team members all had different, valuable perspectives, and our personalities jived. I appreciate how they challenge us to find what’s best for both groups.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I can’t think of anything.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Don’t settle for anything less than what you aspire to. There were some points where we had to go back to the drawing board; but, challenging each other was necessary to arrive at the best solution.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 4.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Creative Strategy & Design Partnership with Magazine

“They're very thoughtful and understanding, and they welcome our comments.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Apr. 2016 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Beyond Definition manages the layout and design for a periodical geared toward college administrators. They create modern design concepts that match featured articles.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Tabitha Whissemore
Managing Editor, American Association of Community Colleges
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The quality of the designs is always high, and Beyond Definition takes time to understand the rationale and motivations behind specific requirements. They’re a flexible partner.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We serve over a thousand community colleges in the United States. I'm the managing editor of a bi-monthly journal for community college presidents and administrators.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Beyond Definition?

We've worked together for a number of years. When we first hired them, we were outsourcing our magazine to another company, but the costs were becoming prohibitive. We also wanted more control over the editorial side of things. We wanted to work with a group that understood our design challenges.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They matched their design concepts to the content within the magazine. They created a classy, modern look with an appealing color palette. We discuss each issue of the magazine, and we send copies of all the feature articles. We give some guidance of things to consider or avoid, and they usually send three concepts for each feature article. In all the time we've worked together, we almost always like at least one option. In those very rare instances that we don't like any of the options, we go back and forth until we agree on something that will work. Once we decide on the design, they lay everything out for us.

What is the team composition?

We work closely with a project manager, and the team includes two designers.

How did you come to work with Beyond Definition?

At the time, we had an in-house designer. We asked for her recommendations, and she came up with a couple of companies. Beyond Definition took the time to read our content and understand our audience, and they felt like the right fit for our needs.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent somewhere between $250,000-$500,000 for their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in April 2016, and we still work together now.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The quality of their work is always very high. Whenever we make suggestions, they take time to understand the rationale behind our thought process. They make sure that their designs always suit our needs and our audience. They're extremely flexible, especially when some of our external article contributors stretch deadlines.

How did Beyond Definition perform from a project management standpoint?

They're very professional, and I have a great relationship with our project manager.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We recently ran an article that had some specific requirements for the photo that accompanied it. After speaking with my colleagues, I went back to them with a different photo, and Beyond Definition asked about our motivation for the change. They're very thoughtful and understanding, and they welcome our comments.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can't think of anything they should improve; I really enjoy working with them. They are so much better than our previous agency, and I'm so glad we chose them as our new partner.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Rebranding Effort for Scholarly Association

“They were flexible and adaptive, and they worked well with a group of people who were unused to this sort of project.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Dec. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Beyond Definition helped rebrand a scholarly association. Working with a volunteer board, they developed new strategies and brand attributes. They built a new WordPress site and oversaw social media channels.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Atlanta, Georgia
Director, Board of Directors, Scholarly Association
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Even though the board was pulled in several directions, Beyond Definition managed the project well and kept the process moving. They were engaging, patient, and effective, and they led important decisions throughout the project.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the dean of a business college. At the time of our engagement, I was also the president of the board of directors for a scholarly academic association of insurance economists. Most of our members work in universities, think tanks, or actuarial or insurance organizations.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Beyond Definition?

We had a very weak brand and marketing strategy, an old-fashioned communication strategy, and no social media strategy. Our website was also sorely out of date. We wanted to update all our strategies, and we engaged Beyond Definition to help us.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We worked through a rebranding effort, including all our brand visuals, and we did a complete overhaul of marketing and brand communication strategy to expand into new market segments. We also worked through our mission, core values, brand attributes, and communication pillars. They helped us develop brand identity guidelines, and they were a major part of all our marketing fundamentals. They established focus groups, did survey work, and incorporated all the resulting data into their work.

They built a completely new WordPress site in a modern format and with a new server. They created a new logo for our organization, and they did a lot for our social media accounts. They built all our social media channels and tailored strategies for each of those channels. Finally, they pulled together additional content that they ultimately helped us publish.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a team of six to ten people. It was a diverse group of digital artists, brand strategists, and market researchers.

How did you come to work with Beyond Definition?

We put out an RFP, and we interviewed five or six firms by committee. Some of the companies we selected had an existing rapport with members of our board. We were most attracted to Beyond Definition's previous experience with other professional associations. Their portfolio was strong, and their references spoke very highly of their work.

How much have you invested with them?

The cost is currently between $175,000-$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

This project began in December 2017, and there is still work to be done on the site.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

I'm very pleased with their work so far. They did a great job working with a volunteer board that is spread across the world. They were very engaging, and their work is of high quality. They had a lot of patience with us, and they kept the project moving along in a complicated environment.

How did Beyond Definition perform from a project management standpoint?

They managed the project very well, even when we were more interested in our work with other organizations. This wasn't easy, and I was impressed by their process. They were flexible and adaptive, and they worked well with a group of people who were unused to this sort of project.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I was impressed by their willingness to stay so engaged. They helped the board make decisions effectively, and they were strong leaders throughout the process.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Their guidance was a little light as we unveiled the finished project. We could have used more help to generate excitement and momentum ahead of the launch, and we could have used that momentum to bring more people in and showcase what we were doing. The final reveal felt a little anticlimactic, but that was partially due to the attitude of some of our internal members.

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

Rebranding Effort for Association Awards Ceremony

“Their communication was fantastic, and they did everything they could to ensure we had an amazing experience.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
May 2018 - May 2019
Project summary: 

Beyond Definition rebranded an annual event for a marketing association. They created new social graphics, printed pieces, and a more modern logo, and they improved the flow and graphics on the event’s website.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Baltimore, Maryland
Brynn Devereaux
President, American Marketing Association: Baltimore
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Community engagement was greater than in previous years, and both external and internal members are excited for the next event. Beyond Definition was collaborative and patient, and they followed an in-depth process to create materials with intention.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the president of the Baltimore chapter of the American Marketing Association. We provide marketers with networking and educational resources to stay on top of their field. We have a few events every year.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Beyond Definition?

They helped us rebrand our annual awards ceremony.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They completely rebranded the event with a whole new look and feel. They came up with new elements to update the awards ceremony, including social graphics, a more modern logo, dynamic printing pieces, and a really interesting program. They also worked with our web team to create our website for the event. They worked through the flow and the graphics on the site.

What is the team composition?

We had three core AMA Baltimore team members who worked with Beyond Definition throughout the process. Beyond Definition managed the project, designed all branded materials, and collaborated with our trophy company, our web company, and our printer.

How did you come to work with Beyond Definition?

Our VP of programming knew of them through a connection with another chapter. We had an internal conversation and hired them based on their reputation.

How much have you invested with them?

The size of the project was somewhere between $25,000-$50,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them around May 2018, and the project was completed by around May 2019. I didn't join the project until August 2018, so I wasn't involved in the early stages.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

The number of entries we had for this year's awards doubled over the previous year. We had more engagement with our print pieces and our social media, and we attracted two new sponsors. Attendance went up by 15%, and everyone had a great time at the event. People loved the design and the feel, and our internal team was so excited. Everyone wants to be a part of our next event.

How did Beyond Definition perform from a project management standpoint?

They were very collaborative, and I was impressed by how closely they worked with us. They were open to feedback, and they made suggestions to make the materials better. We had several emails from them to make sure we met every deadline. Their project management system helped us stay on track and meet our deadlines. We're a volunteer organization, and they were really patient with us. Their coordination was great, and nothing felt rushed.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I was impressed by their thought process. Before they designed anything, they had an in-depth conversation. They thought about everything, and all the materials were created with intention. The entire team was involved, and everyone I spoke with knew about our project and could answer my questions. Their communication was fantastic, and they did everything they could to ensure we had an amazing experience.

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can't think of anything they could improve. They helped us discover what we could do differently, and we have a better plan for the future.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

They have an amazing creative team. We put our preconceived notions to the side as they guided us through the process. Follow their process, and don't skip steps.

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

Branding & Logo Design for Museum

“Bates Creative really went above and beyond in terms of the time and thought they committed to our project.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Sept. 2018 - Jan. 2019
Project summary: 

Bates Creative catalyzed an initial branding endeavor via visual design and copywriting. They iterated on a fitting logo and produced collateral like a brochure and strategic language for a messaging strategy.  

The Reviewer
 
5,001 - 10,000 Employees
 
Washington, DC
Director of External Affairs and Partnerships, Museum
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Bates Creative delivered a set of sleek, modern branded assets that intuitively encapsulate the ideal image the organization hoped to project. Key stakeholders praised the caliber of work they produced. Enthused, committed, and diligent, the team’s innovation and work ethic yielded a high ROI. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I work for an organization that centers on a notable building on the National Mall in DC.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Bates Creative?

We engaged Bates Creative to help us produce the first logo and brand for our organization. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Bates Creative helped us through an expedited branding process. They created variations of a logo for us to choose from along with brand messaging and language to use. Specific collateral they created included a basic brochure about our building for fundraising purposes. 

What is the team composition? 

We worked with about 3–4 teammates from Bates Creative. 

How did you come to work with Bates Creative?

We went through a quick RFP process to select a vendor. I’d heard that Bates Creative was a good firm to work with in D.C., so we initiated talks.

In our early interactions, they showed marked enthusiasm and interest in what we were trying to accomplish and a passion for our organization's mission. 

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from September 2018–January 2019. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

We presented the logo, new graphic treatments, and brand messaging Bates Creative designed to our leadership, stakeholders, and donors. In response, we were overwhelmed with compliments. 

The assets they created had a clean, contemporary feel and captured the spirit of the building and our overarching mission. We've gotten a lot of really great feedback from the people who count the most in this phase of the process. 

How did Bates Creative perform from a project management standpoint?

I think they were excellent in this regard. Bates Creative was highly flexible and responsive. Even though we approached them with a project that had slightly out-of-the-ordinary deadlines required approach, they responded very well. They were willing to provide anything we needed within our set timeframes. 

We mostly communicated with the team over email. Occasionally, we had check-in phone calls and met them in person to hold review meetings and workshops. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

Bates Creative went above and beyond in terms of the time and thought they committed to our project. Since we're a nonprofit, we could only provide them with a limited budget to work with, but I think they definitely gave us additional hours. 

They definitely came in with a lot of really great ideas and presented them thoughtfully. I appreciated their collaborative process and how well they took our feedback into account. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

No, I actually don't think so. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

I would suggest taking advantage of Bates Creative's enthusiasm. Treat them like a collaborative partner. Working together was a really fun process for us. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They stayed on the schedule we set out. Any delays came from our end. They kept track of everything they needed to do
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They were consistently on time and responded well to any changes or edits we needed them to make.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Design & Branding for Global Nonprofit Association

“Bates Creative’s amazing design work has given us a more modern and global appeal.”

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Jan. 2017 - Sept. 2018
Project summary: 

Assisting corporate rebranding efforts, Bates Creative designed a new logo and tagline and integrated their designs in various marketing collateral. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois
Leef Smith Barnes
Chief Marketing Officer, AUTM
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Bates Creative’s stylish designs rejuvenated the long-established brand’s position as an inclusive public resource. From conceptual design to execution, their deadline-driven team is exceptional in every regard.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the Chief Marketing Officer at AUTM, a global non-profit Association whose members support the transition of academic research to the marketplace for public benefit.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Bates Creative?

We wanted to update our corporate identity in conjunction with a large website redevelopment project.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Bates Creative assisted our rebranding project by redesigning corporate identity. Their team met with our Board to discuss how we hoped to evolve our current image. Using the market research provided by another brand developer, they designed three different concepts for us to consider. Once they identified our preferences, they created a new logo and suite of styles. Their work was incorporated in our overall approach including a full-scale rebrand, website and a myriad other marketing assets.

What is the team composition?

We had three points of contact at Bates, but a much larger group produced work for us behind the scenes.

How did you come to work with Bates Creative?

They were referred to us by another vendor that we worked closely with.

What is the status of this engagement?

The work began in Jan. 2017 and ended in Sept. 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

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

Our leadership and our membership are very happy with the rebrand. Bates Creative’s designs have given the Association a more modern and global appeal, and more accurately reflects the innovative and inclusive approach within our Association.

How did Bates Creative perform from a project management standpoint?

The project manager was approachable, professional, and determined to stay on schedule. We met with them a few times, but mostly stayed updated weekly via phone, email, and Basecamp.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They aren’t the most affordable creative agency on the market, but their talent is worth the price. Instead of showing us slight variations of the same concept, as some vendors are prone to do, Bates Creative expanded our options with three distinct design options and worked to revise them with our input.

Are there any areas they could improve?

A more flexible scope of work would be beneficial from clients’ needs perspective.

4.5
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

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