Agency Web Sites and Your Portfolio

A friend of mine is helping her agency put together their website, and she wrote to pick my brain about what I liked and disliked about agency sites.

First of all, I think the work is the most important part of any agency site. This is especially true if the site itself can be counted among the agency’s best work.

As of this writing, here are what I’d consider the best agency websites of all time:

Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Boone Oakley


What makes them remarkable? Two things: 1. Innovation, 2. Bravery. It’s not easy to pull something like this off. But if you can, you win.

Some agencies are incorporating newsfeeds and their own blogs – not buried somewhere in the backwaters of the menu, but right on their landing page. If you have interesting things to say (or if other people are saying it for you) it says a lot about who you are. My favorites include:

Butler Shine Stern & Partners

The Martin Agency

Zeus Jones

Sites that have great design are worthy of note. So are sites with some level of interactivity.

I’m not a huge fan of agency sites that show introductory videos on the landing page. Nor am I a fan of background music. I think the more features an agency tries to build into their site, the slower (and consequently, the less interesting) it gets. I don’t have time to wait for your site to load. I’m sure your potential clients don’t either.

Sites need to have personality. You can go overboard with this. Or not. I guess it depends on the type of clients you want to attract.

What does this have to do with you? An agency site is basically the portfolio for the office. When you’re putting together your book, you should ask yourself if it’s as good, as memorable, and as innovative as the best sites you’ve seen.

Like the best ads, and even the best student portfolios, I really appreciate agency sites that are simple and direct.

What do you think makes an agency site good? Have any favorites I’ve missed?


7 thoughts on “Agency Web Sites and Your Portfolio

  1. I agree that the agency's work should stand front and center, but I feel that too many agencies showcase work that is dated and leads me to believe they haven't done anything worthwhile recently.

    Agencies with flash intros ( might as well use animated fireball GIFs to really complement their old school strategy. Don't know how clients/prospective clients feel, but it's a major turn-off for digitally minded creatives.

    Although a bit loud and confusing at first glance, I love Grip Limited's site:


  2. Whatsoever agencies are incorporating newsfeeds and their own blogs – not belowground somewhere in the backwaters of the menu, but aright on their structure diplomat. If you mortal absorbing things to say , it says a lot nigh who you are. My favorites include:

    Outsourcing jobs


  3. Greg –

    Just wanted to add something to this in reference to the Walrus site. One thing that has always bothered me is agencies that who are always trying to pitch a certain type of creative work to their clients, and then you go to their website, and it's extremely safe and staid. If I was a client I'd wonder, “well if this is such a good idea, how come you don't sell yourselves this way?” When we started the shop, we didn't want anyone to say we didn't put our money where our mouth is. It's not for everyone, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    Deacon Webster
    CCO Walrus


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