Choosing a designer

this is an interesting article from the design council on procuring design services. although i can't imagine many people who would benefit from reading this will be digging round the design council's site.

none the less it's worth a read and it got me thinking of all the different ways in which clients go about selecting agencies. Creative pitches, credential pitches, tenders, recommendations, studio visits, friends, consultants, pitch lists, yellow pages?!

Creative pitches
I'm no fan of pitching. everyone in the industry complains about it, but it's impossible to avoid. It certainly seperates the shine from the shit and gives clients an opportunity to see what an agency can really do, as long as they run it properly.

Credential pitches
Not as hard on the agencies and i think a great way to decide if you've found the right fit.

No body, anywhere in the world likes tenders. fact. no one likes writing them, no one likes reading them. They are tricky and in my opinion the most impersonal route.

Often seen as a safe bet, but it can put a strain on friends and other third parties.

Consultants/Pitch Lists
More and more clients are turning to creative/marketing/brand consultants to guide them when selecting agencies to use. Many consultants are very good at getting a thorough brief and working out who is the best team to deliver and who is the best fit of personalities. it also gives clients the opportunity to navigate through the cowboys and let some one else screen potential partners. I guess they are creative pimps. No wait! - that implies designers are the hoes.

I'd like to know from designers and clients what the most successful route to procuring creative services actually is (statistically speaking). i wonder if there is a way to quantify which one produces the best long term results.