Successful product design is a win-win for firms and users — it solves specific problems while generating profit for the businesses. Given the multitude of product design companies out there, however, it’s tough to find the right partner that will craft winning concepts out of your ideas. As a result, a whopping 40% of new products are estimated to fail at launch. You don’t have to go through the process of trial and error anymore. We analyzed and ranked the best companies that offer product design services using our custom-developed evaluation methodology. Scroll down to learn more about our ranking criteria along with actionable tips on how to choose the best product design partner for your business.
We employed a custom-developed ranking methodology to locate the best talent in product design. We started by assessing the agencies’ past work and reputation to narrow down our list to include only organizations that satisfy our high standards. We then proceeded to examine their teams, services, and processes to further filter out our choices.
Scroll down to learn more about our unbiased ranking process.
In this step, we check if the companies work with clients from specific industry domains. This classification helps businesses that look for industry-centered knowledge on top of technical expertise. Other product design agencies might cater to businesses of specific sizes, such as small startups, massive enterprises, or in-between players. Their client focus doesn’t affect the rankings but helps us classify the companies.
Our actual ranking process begins with an evaluation of agencies’ past work. We go through case studies and portfolios to learn how exactly they assisted clients. We also check how many of the solutions designed have gone to market. We further evaluate how these products perform compared to competitors' designs. Our evaluation approach involves contacting past clients to learn more about their experiences with the respective product design companies.
We then move on to assessing how creative and unique their work is. Are the agencies merely redesigning existing products or does their portfolio include innovation? More importantly, we make sure their products solve real customer problems. Only companies with visually-pleasing, functional, and user-friendly designs proceed to the next evaluation stage.
After checking their past work, we continue with reputation analysis. We start by checking the websites of product designing companies and proceed with business directories, social media, and elsewhere on the internet to gather real customer reviews. After ensuring the testimonials are authentic, we make a list of the strongest and weakest points of each organization.
We compare the pros and cons, which directly affect their ranking. We also check whether the product designing agencies have taken the time to address any issues that have emerged to ensure they won’t repeat in the future. Then, we explore a network of former clients and peers, to check whether the companies come highly recommended. Positive reviews and referrals by peers showcase high customer satisfaction and professionalism.
In the end, we present ourselves as customers to determine each company’s level of expertise. We have a set of questions that help us separate the just good from the best product design firms.
As a result, only firms with an excellent track record get a spot on our list.
First, we check the agencies’ size. While this factor doesn’t affect the rankings per se, bigger companies usually have dedicated teams for different projects and areas of expertise rather than relying on fewer people wearing different hats.
No matter how many people are involved though, strong product design teams should consist of the following roles: user researchers, UI/UX designers, graphic designers, product designers, data analysts, prototypers, and business strategists. Due to the complexity of the product design process, diverse backgrounds are essential for successful work. We also examine whether the product experts are familiar with all these roles and know how to apply combined knowledge in the design process.
Aside from technical expertise, we asses teams’ creativity. Are the organizations capable of bringing innovation to the market? Craft beautiful yet functional solutions? How do their products differ from similar solutions on the market? These are just some of the questions that complement our ranking process.
Next, we evaluate whether teams nurture a positive working environment where everyone is encouraged to do their best. We give advantage to product design firms that promote a culture of close teamwork and collaboration.
Product design should bring value to both the end-users and the vendors. This constitutes the primary building block for every product design strategy. As a rule of thumb, a good plan should answer the WHAT, WHY, and HOW questions.
The top product design companies must be able to build a well-defined yet flexible strategy that will act as a roadmap for the entire process. We also ensure that companies can align each plan with the client's business goals. It's crucial to hire an outfit that knows how to create a solid base for the entire design, development, and other processes that follow.
To qualify for inclusion, the top product design companies must cover the complete product creation cycle, including planning, designing, prototyping, and testing. We evaluate the most popular services the companies offer, including those that are not directly related to design but can upgrade the process.
Before anything else, the company should get to know your business, market, industry, and users. Time dedicated to this initial step is never wasted. Why? It helps designers create a human-centered product that solves a specific problem.
The product design companies therefore need to find answers to all the questions related to your user needs, product’s purpose, market conditions, etc. Extensive user and market research is critical in every product design process. Followed by a proactive design strategy, it will make the foundation for successful product design. That’s why we favor agencies with strong planning and research capabilities.
Most product design firms employ UX designers since expertise in these areas can upgrade the design process. These services include exploring ways in which the product can solve specific user needs, analyzing users’ behavioral patterns as well as how the product should look and feel, to ensure its appeal to the target group. With this information as a starting point, product design teams can move through the process faster and create more effective solutions.
Product designing firms should be able to create pixel-perfect mockups before delivering the final concept, and then proceed to craft masterpieces that combine visually pleasing shapes and colors. Graphic design professionals can easily solve dilemmas related to colors, fonts and elements structure to achieve the perfect balance between aesthetics and function. That’s why we look for top product design firms that include graphic designers in their teams.
You get the best of both worlds by combining the web design mindset with the problem-solving philosophy that’s at the core of product design. The first concept focuses on crafting websites that drive engagement to the brand, while the second delivers ready-to-use solutions.
Companies with teams that consist of product and web designers can create concepts with both the brand and the user in mind. Web designers can connect people with products, while product designers are the ones that need to convince them to keep using it. For this reason, organizations that also offer web design get better rankings.
Prototypes are crucial for the design process as they allow you to test different ideas cheaply and perfect your final product. For this reason, companies must be able to create mockups that you can experience in the same way as the fully developed versions. You could also show these models to potential customers for quick feedback. Thanks to rapid prototyping and testing services, businesses can go from ten ideas to five and then two within days.
Product design studios should be able to study significant amounts of data and translate it into valuable insights. The design team will rely on these findings to craft data-driven solutions since extensive data analyses are essential for building winning concepts.
Each product design team should involve business strategists that will ensure the concept not only satisfies users’ needs but brings value to the organization. These professionals must be able to craft a reliable digital strategy and explore the business benefits behind every product-related decision. Product design companies need to start the process with “Why are we building this product?” and finish it with a plan for maximizing ROI. Whether you intend to raise brand awareness or keep your customers engaged, it’s the business strategists that can help you smash your goals.
Design is just one segment of a product’s lifespan. If you’d like to get everything done under one roof, you need a company that covers the product’s cycle from ideation and design to building and beyond. The following services provide support in the product design and development stages from start to finish.
To launch the solution faster, you should consider hiring product design and development companies that can take the concept through development and deliver a final product. In this case, the tech team can take over immediately after the design is ready, saving you hours of research to select the right development agency. The advantage of getting everything done in one place is that both teams can collaborate throughout the entire process and build the best possible product for your business.
After analyzing top product development companies, we have concluded that a good team should consist of a product manager, software developers, and at least one visual designer. With combined knowledge in design, functionality, and visual experience, clients can rest assured that their visions will come to life as winning products.
Product design companies can further expand their creative offerings into mobile product development to provide full coverage of their clients’ needs. Similarly to product design, we look for firms that make research-driven decisions and integrate aesthetics, functionality, and business aspects into the solutions they build. The best mobile app development companies meanwhile combine their design and development expertise to deliver products that users will praise.
While not always necessary, some clients might want to enrich their products with appealing animations. For this reason, we look for agencies that can create them. Whether it’s a slick menu transition or a loading animation that comes to life in a cool way, these smart details make the product design more attractive to the users.
The top product design companies stand by their clients even after all is said and done. In the post-launch phase, agencies should examine success metrics and gather data for further analyses and validation of the product. Also, they should help you fine-tune any issues, add new features, or adjust the design to meet the latest tеchnology trends in your industry.
After assessing all the technical factors related to the actual product design, we move on to evaluating communication and reporting processes. To gather firsthand information, we present ourselves as clients and ask representatives about their transparency and reporting practices.
We would award a higher position to product design firms that establish clear communication channels, reporting schedules, and success metrics at the very beginning of the process. Having these details sorted out will ensure smooth collaboration. Also, it will allow you to be part of the entire process from start to finish and make timely requests if needed.
How much do product design services cost? It’s hard to pin down an exact number since it’s affected by many factors, especially the amount of work needed. As a rule of thumb, we look for product designing companies that fall within industry standards, excluding the cheapest and the unreasonably expensive options. After all, you don’t want to hire the lowest-priced firm just for the sake of receiving a product design. The most cost-effective solution is your best bet.
Deciding where to invest your hard-earned money can be tough. After all, not every agency is a good fit for your business, no matter its excellent reputation and five-star reviews. You need a reliable company that will solve YOUR problem. We give you the best tips on how to find it.
What is your goal? Do you need a new, unique design, or do you already have products that just need to be tweaked to perfection? What challenges are you trying to solve? If you need a brand new design, look for an agency with strong research and creative skills that can build your product from scratch. Some businesses might benefit the most from product design studios that offer a better technical follow-up to product development.
Map out your goals and challenges before interviewing companies. Depending on your situation, you might get away with a smaller firm that charges affordable rates. Then, if your design is intricate and demanding, you need a firm with broader skills and expertise. Narrow down your choices to outfits that can satisfy your specific requirements.
Some projects might require industry experience, meaning that you need to look for agencies that have helped clients in your field. In this case, go through their portfolios and case studies to locate industry-focused design studios.
Another approach is to look at the types of issues they deal with rather than their industry knowledge. For some projects, it’s not about domain expertise, but the style of ideating and problem-solving that leads to successful designs.
Product design agencies’ culture can make or break a deal. Even if everything else seems to be a good match for your needs, you must like the way your organization of choice works. Outfits that promote a can-do attitude and nurture forward-thinking are the most enjoyable to collaborate with.
You don’t have an idea of how much money you should spend on product design? First, define the project specifics as much as you can. Then ask several product design companies for quotes, so you can compare the costs and develop a more precise budget.
This figure will guide your decision-making process and help you narrow down your choices to firms that fall within your budget. Ultimately, you can compare the selected outfits against other factors to locate the one that best fits your needs.