What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
We started with a small project, and we’ve expanded exponentially and quickly because the client was happy with our work. Caroline and her team were able to crank stuff out quickly, which showed the client that we could do this for them. Therefore, they asked us to expand our services to 4–5 other projects.
For me, the biggest success metric in any design project is how fast the client accepts and adopts the deliverables. With Gallery Design, this happened after just one round of design review and changes. Speed-to-market would be my number-one metric, and we were able to go from design to a live site in a month. This is astonishing, especially given that it’s a complicated site.
We have three other, even bigger phases of the project coming up. The design phase was well-received, but the next phase is requiring a bit more massaging. It’s still going relatively smoothly.
This membership organization has some of the top professionals within the organization's industry focus. There’s a subcommittee of the board of directors that looks at everything that’s happening from marketing and branding perspectives. They were beyond pleased with how fast we developed the site and with the quality of it, all without a huge consulting fee.
The site is being used to generate leads and drive business development deals and sponsorship. It’s solved a basic operational issue for the client, and their entire team — from sales to marketing and the people in charge of the project — are getting a lot of mileage out of the site.
How did Gallery Design Studio NYC perform from a project management standpoint?
They’re excellent. They’re very clear about when they’re going to come back with first, second, and final rounds, and they work very hard to set expectations. On the other hand, I sometimes have business needs where I’m not happy with those expectations, and I’ll need something faster. They bend over backward to meet deadlines, even though it poses a challenge for them operationally, given that I’m not the only client they have. They deliver on time, within the expected budget.
What did you find most impressive about them?
What I value in this particular project is that Gallery Design sticks to the brief. We want something affordable and functional, and we don’t want to get overly fancy in designing things. I’ve been in situations where the design firm really wanted to show off its design and branding capabilities, which can be great, but it can also get very expensive very quickly. In this environment, people need function, and they need it fast, given that they’re pivoting their businesses. Gallery Design is very responsive to that, and I hired them because they have a B2B focus. Gallery Design is a no-nonsense, brass knuckles, functionally-oriented firm, and we know that the deliverables we’re getting from them are going to work.
Another thing they’re good at is project management. They’re systematic, and I get a report with hours and budget every Monday. I pretty much know where I stand, and I’ve been able to get reports from them within the hour when I needed to manage my budget more carefully. They detail how much they’ve spent on each task and how much they have left. That’s very good from a project management standpoint, and I couldn’t hope for anything better.
Are there any areas they could improve?
The one thing is that they should pick up the phone more often. I have weekly project calls with them, which is fantastic and works very well, but I do feel that I could get to a better design even faster if they just picked up the phone and called me at times to run through some basic questions, rather than waiting for the process-driven weekly calls. They’re very systematic, almost to a flaw.
This is partially a byproduct of the pandemic. Everybody’s working from home, and we miss being able to just run over to someone’s desk to ask a question that could save time.
Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?
I don’t really have much advice on that front for Gallery Design. I do a lot of branding, business strategy, and digital strategy work. When they get a brief for me, they pretty much know exactly what needs to get done, and they’ve complimented me on that.
A lot of times, we get clients just asking for a new website. I have not worked with Gallery Design in that kind of design capacity, where there’s just an open-ended need and they have to develop the brief. I work on fundamental, huge business strategy changes, rather than refreshing existing processes or websites. That inherently means that I’m coming to Gallery Design with a detailed brief and vision.
When I first started working with them, I had to coach them to not look at the existing site or product, because it was all changing. That’s just the way I work, and I can’t give that advice to other people, because not everybody is performing the same function.