Madak is a boutique marketing agency based in Washington and headed by creative CEO Adam Kopp. The small team of marketers craft strategic campaigns for brands across a myriad of industries. They’ve been supported by a Design Pickle Scale subscription for two years.
Madak’s Initial Pickles
Though Madak’s in-house creatives are ultra-talented, the tight-knit team of 10 has a lot of client work on their shoulders. In fact, they often have an overflow of creative requests from clients. The group’s specialties are carefully curated, from web development to graphic design to video production. But, as Adam says, “We focus on the creative and strategy side of things.” After noticing that keeping all design work in-house ate up valuable time — with less and less time to focus on strategy — Adam began to wonder how Madak could increase its creative output without crowding the office or bloating its payroll. He also wondered how he could supplement his in-house designers with additional creative help.
Before settling on a Design Pickle subscription, Adam went for the freelance route. “I found this [designer] who’s really good,” he says. “But I was spending $2,000 a month with him.” Apart from the cost, there was also the matter of managing the freelancer’s projects, which took a lot of time. “That’s where the simplicity of Design Pickle became attractive,” Adam says. After three months with a Scale Graphic Design plan, Adam went from a monthly subscription to an annual subscription for better value.
An Agency’s Extended Team
Madak has been able to add and subtract subscriptions as needed. For example, the team signed up for Custom Illustrations as an add-on for several months when their client demand leaned toward requiring 100% original artwork. During that time, Madak needed a lot of professional illustrations quickly. Leveraging Design Pickle was an instant success, as they met their clients’ deadlines and turned the illustrations into quality infographics that remain on their clients’ websites today. To Adam, getting an illustration back in three to four days was an “instant $500 value.” (A Scale Custom Illustrations plan is $499 per month.) Considering the volume and type of Madak’s needs, Design Pickle’s Scale Graphic Design subscription was more valuable on its own, but Adam found this account flexibility a nice perk. “Design Pickle is very useful from a production standpoint,” Adam says. “The way we use it — because we do have designers on staff — is, I’m constantly challenging my designers to use [the platform].” Madak has found that Design Pickle’s subscription workforce, being one system on one platform, produced more consistent work quality compared to what they’d get from online marketplaces. “The benefit I see is the consistent quality of work,” he says, noting Madak has often leveraged Design Pickle for design tasks including logo redraws and photo manipulation.
With multiple clients and a steady flow of design needs, Madak finds the Design Pickle Platform’s request organization functions particularly useful. Requests can be organized in Madak’s design queue by priority using a quick drag-and-drop for a much easier process. Beyond that, Adam likes having Design Pickle Platform’s built-in file storage at hand on a regular basis. Requests can easily be searched or filtered and all stages of a request’s revisions are accessible. “It’s like a repository for all the designs. I’m sure I have [files] somewhere on Adobe Creative Cloud or Google Drive, but if I know that a file is in Design Pickle, I can go there and I can find it faster,” Adam says. “I can see that being a good resource, especially for solopreneurs and people that are trying to build out their creative team. I can see that being a big value.” Because Madak’s clients will own and may make changes to the design work in the future, access to editable source files is doubly valuable for the agency.
Creating Time for Inspiration
“We focus on the creative and strategy side of things,” Adam says. “I treat Design Pickle as a production department.” While most conceptualization for Madak happens in-house, Pickle designers are given a measure of creative leeway. Overall, Adam estimates that Design Pickle saves Madak 15 to 20 hours per week in graphic design work — while cutting costs by $2,500 per month, compared to what the agency paid its freelance designer.
Overall, Kopp estimates that Design Pickle saves Madak 15 to 20 hours per week in graphic design work — while cutting costs by $2,500 per month, compared to what the agency paid its freelance designer.
For a small but world-class agency like Madak, a smooth workflow is paramount to success. By getting the help of a low-maintenance subscription workforce instead of worrying about the logistics of hiring and creative production, they can keep focused on the most important things — strategy and storytelling for their clients. Madak’s only pickle these days? “The biggest worry I have is making sure we’ve filled the queue,” Adam says.