Interview with founder Nick of Build Digital

Interview: The why, the how and the future of Australian Web Design with founder Nick of Build Digital

December 4, 2023
8 mins


In the rapid and ever-changing landscape of website design and development Nick the founder of Build Digital shares some insights on the journey of the company, why he started, the current web design landscape with evolving ai technology and thoughts on the future.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how the idea for your web design and development agency came about?

My name is Nick, I’m the founder of Build Digital and we’ve been operating for over 5 years. It initially came about as I was looking for something different career wise, and like everyone these days, didn’t necessarily want that to be tied to an office.

I have always had a background in Graphic Design, though never really got inspired to pursue it. I did always keep it up in one way or another though, creating random T-shirt brands and playing around with personal designs. It was only when I took a bit of a leap by starting to call myself a designer when travelling, that I had to figure out how to back it up. There was website building in the family, and I just thought ‘I could do that’, and started messing around with building little Wordpress sites.

It really started to grab me the more I did it. I was really taken by having structure to build to and being able to be creative within that structure. I think it really suited the way my brain works. After building a couple of free and then eventually cheap websites I got a few paying clients and had to put a label on it.

Photos courtesy of New Opening Studio

What was the founding vision or mission behind starting your agency, and how has it evolved over time?

Over time, starting to figure out a point of difference and where I could fit in the market I started to realise there was a gap between Web Design and Web Development that I was naturally trying to fill. Although they do come hand in hand, it’s a seperate way of thinking and usually two seperate jobs, which comes with its challenges. Web Developers need to be code and structure minded, while Web Designers are creative minded, which can work, but can definitely clash.

Because they are a seperate processes, Designers often outsource to developers and vice versa. This adds an extra layer of communication beyond the client which can sometimes make for delays in schedule, results that don’t live up to expectations and budget blowouts.

We thought if we could refine the process in house and leverage technology in a way that makes things smoother for clients it could save a lot of hassle, freeing up time energy and budget for marketing efforts. That’s really where Build started to take shape in my head.

The Creative Process

Could you walk us through your agency's creative process when taking on a new project? How do you approach design and development to ensure client satisfaction?

We start with a basic strategy and creative direction to find our clients position in their target market. We find out who their competitors are, what they look like and create mood boards and a guideline deck to hone in on a direction. From there we map out a couple of different look and feel directions, decide on one and then complete a full design concept, refine with feed back loops and then move into development.

Even though it can be quick, with feedback it is a bit of a process and can have its challenges to keep on schedule. Although we recommend it, we also know that in the current landscape it’s getting more difficult for people to see the value in a comprehensive process.

With this we’ve shifted to more of a focus moving into bundled design / development packages that go beyond templates. We’re aiming to create more of a custom and performing website solution out of the box. Templates and Website builders like Squarespace are great, but if you don’t have the time, it’s still quite difficult to create a unique feel for your business that not only works, but does its job in reaching the people you want it to.

Photos courtesy of New Opening Studio


What tools and technologies does your agency predominantly use for web design and development, and why have you chosen these tools?

We use Figma for design as its the industry standard for Web UI and Digital which is pretty straightforward. We have made the jump in the last few years from offering development on different platforms to migrating completely to Webflow. Just with the pace of things and expectations of clients on what websites are capable of, they are second to none in terms of flexibility, performance and hosting and are only getting better.

We also use SEM rush for SEO, Notion for project management and High Level for client CRM / marketing.

Agency Challenges

Can you share some challenges your agency has faced and how you've overcome them? What key lessons have you learned along the way?

Definitely learning to adapt to the changes of not only the Web world, but also the financial landscape. Especially in Australia a lot of industries and small businesses have been hit hard with cost of living pressures which obviously squeezes budget set aside for digital. With that has also come the rise and progression of Ai technology which can render certain skills redundant pretty quickly. This has lit a fire under a lot of people, and its been a bit of a race in-house to adopt and embrace the wave of Ai as I think it’s definitely here to stay.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned has been to focus on relationships, listening to peoples goals and adapting your offerings to suit. Whether you have to learn an adjacent skill, streamline or expand your packages, you can’t stay still with your offerings anymore. A service business in the digital world has to be able to move with it.

How do you collaborate with clients throughout the design and development process? How do you ensure their vision aligns with the final product?

We pride ourselves on our approachable, prompt and consistent communication - which is everything in the creative world. As soon as communication breaks down, the project tends to break down as well. We have high expectations on ourselves, but also on clients to hold up their end of the bargain. No one is the same in how they like to communicate or provide feedback, so we stay open in a sense to work what’s best with the client. We have systems in place like onboarding, project management and off-boarding that the client can utilise, however email and phone is always the go-to.

Photos courtesy of New Opening Studio

The Future of Web Design and Development

Where do you see the future of web design and development heading? Are there any emerging trends or technologies that excite you?

I think design and development subscriptions are genius and will become more and more of a staple. Big in house teams are becoming less viable, and with Ai the need for them is shrinking. If people can outsource for a subscription as they need for less cost and quality results I think it’s a no brainer. Especially with websites, they need a lot of input to perform and it’s not as attractive to spend a big chunk on a website without having anything left to grow it.

People are able to launch quicker than ever now with Low / No Code, but there needs to be ongoing expertise to test, measure and get results. Subscriptions are the perfect middle ground to establish a minimum product that you can build and grow as you need.

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to enter the web design and development industry, or those looking to start their own agency?

Don’t overthink. Say yes and figure it out later. You’ll never get anywhere if you’re paralysed trying to plan for every situation. You’re going to suck, keep going, get better and enjoy the process.

Client Relationships

How do you build and maintain strong client relationships? What do you believe is the key to client satisfaction?

Investing in their success. If you’re too concerned with results for you, you won’t create something meaningful. The client has come to you and trusted you with their project, the focus should be on them and their success. In the long run will only be the best for not only the project, but the relationship as well. Oh and work hard on a result.

What's Next for Build Digital

What are the future goals for your agency? Any upcoming projects or initiatives you're excited about?

As we eluded to a bit before, we’re looking to streamline and bundle our approach into things like subscriptions and packages that capture our passion for custom websites but are also a systematic approach that reduces hassle and an overwhelming processes. We want to minimise the time it takes to launch but not compromise on quality, performance and flexibility.

We look forward to 2024 and the wild ride it looks like it’s going to be online!

If you’ve got any questions, project enquiries or just want to chat about the web world, you can reach out to contact him here.

Interview with founder Nick of Build Digital

We are a web design agency based in Melbourne that builds websites to thrive online.

8 mins

Unsure about your website? Let's chat about options.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique.

More From the Archives

Related Articles

Best Practices for Transitioning from Design to Development Seamlessly with Modern Web Tools

In the realm of digital product and website development, bridging the gap between design and development phases is a well-documented challenge.

Web Design Subscription Model: Transforming Digital Creativity for Businesses

In an era where digital presence is pivotal, businesses are frequently caught in a dilemma: should they hire full-time designers, web developers, and website managers, or opt for a more adaptable, subscription-based design service?

Interview: The why, the how and the future of Australian Web Design with founder Nick of Build Digital

In the rapid and ever-changing landscape of website design and development Nick the founder of Build Digital shares some insights on the journey of the company, why he started, the current web design landscape with evolving ai technology and thoughts on the future.