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DBA : digital

(w/ Prospect, 2010)

Problem: The Design Business Association promotes professional excellence in design throughout the UK, by enabling productive partnerships between business and the design industry. As an organisation primarily reliant on membership fees for income, the DBA needed to find additional revenue streams to broaden its income base. A Design Directory would enable businesses to easily access and qualify design firms, as well as provide a revenue opportunity. The challenge was to design and develop the Directory in the most effective way to engage both business and agency audiences.


Solution: The objective was not to create a rolodex of design firms, but deliver an online tool that would allow businesses to fast track the PQQ (pre-qualification questionnaire) process, as well as access critical information on best practices in design buying. This benefited both sides, by giving businesses access to a listing of agencies that were already PQQ approved and design companies the ability to present their credentials (and confidential information) to prospective clients in a secure, online forum.


The Directory was divided into three levels, with all visitors able to view Level 1, which displays general design agency capabilities, sectors and some visuals. Level 2, which is password protected, provides in-depth case studies and more sensitive financial information, while Level 3 is the deepest, and gives logged-in clients the opportunity to download agency business and policy documentation.

Impact: The solution soft-launched in November of 2010 and received glowing reviews from the design industry and commissioning businesses. It was endorsed by the Institute of Directors and the Marketing Society and started to change the UK design services procurement landscape beginning with its go live in the summer of 2011.

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