With over 20 years in the graphic design industry, I have established some very firm ideas on what it is to be a really good graphic designer in Dublin. While we are all creatives that work hard, there are some agencies that are amazing, that stand out and some very fabulous work is being done, especially in the advertising industry and on an international stage. Graphic design agencies have evolved over the years and usually offer a speciality and there are a very small select number of graphic design agencies in Dublin that I consistently think are just doing the best work in their area of expertise. I am talking about the ones who are consistent, the work speaks for itself. They might quietly, proudly, win awards without the ego shouting that can go on for simply being nominated (and then not winning!). These are design agencies that might not even put themselves up for awards because they don’t need to. But most of all, they have won over my admiration.
Note: A freelance graphic designer, like myself, is not the same as an agency. I offer a one-to-one relationship to deliver on your graphic design requirements. If you use an agency, there is usually a significant price difference and you are dealing with a team. You might consider that value for money, but remember that someone like me, with over 20 years experience, and an eye on what is going on in the industry, can give you the very same product!
Packaging Design – Dave Curran Design
The agency deep in my heart and soul! This is personal! Dave Curran gave me a chance over 20 years ago. He needed a designer to help translate his files to artwork ready printable files and as I was at the start of my career, this was the perfect learning environment. The team grew over this time and he recruited some amazingly talented creatives, a large number are still with him. Our professional relationship lasted close to 7 years and I moved on simply for a change of scene! The work coming out of DCD is consistent and always has been. This is where I learned the dynamics of a design agency and the importance of a design team. We were so so lucky to have some amazing clients too. Cuisine de France, Kilmeaden Cheese, SuperValu, Supermacs, The Butler’s Pantry, Irish Distillers, Esat, 98fm, Spin 1038 to name a few. This is the time in my career I still lean on to this day when considering how well I’ve learned Adobe Illustrator, In Design and Photoshop, the cornerstone of design software. The work coming out of DCD is still really, really special. They specialise, in packaging design, a specialised area of design and the work is reliable and creative.
Brand Design – Bradley Brand
The best brand agency in Dublin in my opinion. They have designed some of the most iconic brands in Ireland. I initially met Andrew Bradley while working in Dave Curran Design and he set up his own agency with his eye on making a difference in the design arena in Dublin and he has really made his mark. They have a very strong Digital team in place producing some special projects. I have had the honour of working in-house with Bradley Brand as a Freelancer and their method of designing is really inspiring. They epitomise the collaborative design process. Without spilling the beans on their process, all I can say is absolutely no design decision is made without looking at it from every angle. Everything is considered and considered well. As a designer, you are pushed to your very best and the result is good, honourable design. Their team atmosphere is really inclusive and everyone is respected and included. They are a lovely group of people to work with and I think it shows in their work.
Environment Designers – Tap Creative
A design agency with a hand on design for spaces and environments. They are more than a graphic design company, they are more than an interior design agency. Maybe it’s because I studied interior design at college that this agency work makes the heart flutter! The moulding of interior and graphic design isn’t a new concept and there are a few design agencies doing this in Dublin. But Tap are doing it well. The work they produce is really good. Really creative. I have never worked with them but I know I would love the opportunity to just see how they work! They produce branded environments but the work is over and above what you expect. They produce wonderful projects, amazing creative spaces and the branding is considered and intuitive.
Graphic Design – Dynamo Design
My design crush. I remember when they started up and have quietly watched them from afar ever since. Their work is very good. When I worked for TodayFm, they spoke about how they were an amazing agency to work with, with high creative standards and accurate responses to briefs. Their work is solid but my God they are so creative and when they produce work, you can’t stop thinking how you wish you had done it! Dynamo epitomise the agency that win the awards and you know they feel they deserved it because of the work they put in and not the ego massage. They have moved with the industry and produce terrific motion graphics also so not just brand and design for print. But you know when you are engaging an agency like Dynamo, you will have to have a decent budget.
Event Design – Verve
Verve are doing some amazing things in the experiential and events area of design. They have been a solid member of the design scene for years with funky offices on the south side of Dublin. Their area of expertise is in live and hybrid event design and branded experience design. They have a large team of experts and in my opinion, they own this space in the design industry in Dublin. Their events are huge and enthralling! Their work is not only engaging and interesting but creative, different, likely cutting edge. They understand the event industry, obviously have a plethora of contacts and produce experiences to rival even the world’s biggest and best event designers. Verve come across as a solid decent bunch.
Advertising – Boys + Girls
Some of the best and most creative work is coming out of Boys +Girls. There are big hitters in this space that I think dominate and but Boys + Girls are confidently matching them. They maintain their independence and stand solidly over their Creative. There is something really aspirational about the work they are producing and if a client is looking for an excellent advertising agency in Dublin, then I always suggest Boys + Girls.
Website Design – The Design Girls
I have used many website designers over the years and often agencies like Bradley will have website designers as part of their product offering. But recently I worked with a website design agency The Design Girls and I really enjoyed working with them. They are very clear at communicating, are available to help with queries and they respond very quickly so as a client, I was delighted with the service. They designed La Kav Wines website which I feel is a fantastic website to navigate around and find what you need. They are simply a lovely bunch.
If you are mentioned above and would rather not have me girl crush on you, get in touch and we’ll chat. It’s all good! Sinead@designerg.ie