Top Web Design Agencies in San Francisco, CA (SF)
Great Web Firms in the San Francisco Bay Area (SF) for startups, B2B, SMB, enterprise, SaaS and small businesses.
UPDATED: March 1, 2023
Every business these days must have a website. Whether it is a small startup in a garage or a middle-sized company, it should have a presence in the digital environment, aka the Internet. Websites serve different purposes, mostly related to the marketing aspects of a product, brand, or service. They tell stories, promote, educate, sell, and more. Depending on the goal, they called corporate, e-commerce, marketing and portals.
While people who run companies focused on developing their business profits and not necessarily have an in-house design team, web design firms exist to fill this gap and let the founders run their companies while agencies create stunning websites that help the business have a perfect facade online.
We surfed through a list of agencies and tried to find some that might be a good fit for tech projects including branding agencies from the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of them have a pretty solid portfolio. We highly recommend contacting them for your next web project and make sure they are a good fit.
A small branding and digital web design agency from San Francisco Bay Area.
📍San Francisco, CA
👤 Top clients
Mozilla, Descript, Coinread
2. Design In Mind
A small branding and digital design agency.
📍San Jose, CA
👤 Top clients
LinkedIn, Yahoo, SurveyMonkey
A firm combines strategy, usability, smart creative, and technology.
📍San Francisco, CA
👤 Top clients
Cisco, McAfee, Intel
The company ready to create a marketing solution that fits clients needs.
📍San Francisco, CA
👤 Top clients
Reebok, Lindt, Sheraton
San Francisco is a city full of disco and the epicenter of the technological global revolution! The last claim is done with a good reason for it, as there are thousands of startups, hundreds of venture capital firms, and millions of opportunities that are just waiting for someone to shake things up with the next big marketing bang. Having said that, there is no doubt that there are a lot of professional and expert web design agencies. So, without further ado, let’s dive deeply into the preparation components on how and why one should choose Bay Area web design firms!
Why do you need a San Francisco website design company?
Exactly this question lots of entrepreneurs are constantly and actively asking themselves while being on a hunt for a web design firm. What distinguishes them apart from the other cities? What makes them so unique? And what exactly can they offer? These questions will be answered in neatly packed answers below.
Your online traction and your brand awareness will always start from the website that you are going to build. Since most of the users will get to know your company online, via your business website. If you want to establish an ever greater online presence and stand out among lots of other agencies, we suggest you look at the San Francisco brand agency list. As the company brand image is what gives your users more trust and tells them what your company is all about.
So hiring a San Francisco website design company is critical if you want to make a great first impression and establish a memorable online presence for your business. Furthermore, if this is your first time building a website or you simply need to upgrade an existing one, a Bay Area web design company will assist you.
Pretty much every website out there has one solid strategy: to advertise their products/services and sell them to a group of potential customers. This is even more relevant to you if you are running an eCommerce website. Thus, hiring a San Francisco website design company can be extremely beneficial. Since the overall design of your website will assist you in selling more products or relevant services. If your website is difficult to navigate, is disorganized, or very user-unfriendly, then the customers will just leave before even browsing everything that your company is offering. This is very bad news for your business’s sales. With the help of a Bay Area web design company, your business will ensure that your website offers an excellent user experience.
DIY is no good
Unless you have an educational background or experience in creating aesthetic website design and have already learned everything about it, functional design would be challenging. Not to mention, that you have to spend and dedicate a good amount of time to its development, while in the meantime you’ll also have to manage your company and communicate with your team. So delegating this work to professionals is a good choice. When you hire a Bay Area web design company, you will get a stunning website, which is both powerful and practical — all without any personal time commitments.
How to choose a web design company San Francisco?
In the process of determining which one of the website designers San Francisco suits the best for your company, we compiled a few points that should be strongly taken into consideration. And don’t forget that you must carefully weigh down each of your potential agencies, as you’ll be investing your time and money into it, and you do not want it to go to waste.
First things first, look at the San Francisco website design portfolio. Examine their work and try to understand whether their style and guidelines are meeting up with your business product requirements. Since each web design company San Francisco has its distinct design approach and styling methods, it is important to look at a few examples of their work and see which one suits your brand’s personality.
Furthermore, bear in mind that the majority of agencies are happy to work within the brand’s style requirements and one needs to go that way. However, you should still take a good look at their previous work and see how this particular agency has evolved with time and design trends. Plus, keep in mind that some of their work may be kept on separate platforms, such as Behance, Dribble, Coroflot, etc.
If a Bay Area web design company demonstrates a high amount of both successful, visually appealing, and high-traffic website design examples, then it directly shows its ability to work with a variety of brand types and tones. Therefore, this particular agency can work with you on good terms and achieve your vision without a sweat.
Before hiring a web design company San Francisco, it’s crucial to explore marketing tactics to ensure that your potential users can easily locate the new website via a simple Google search. Without search engine optimization (SEO) practices and pay-per-click ads (PPC), users are unable to find your business website at all.
Try to find out for yourself what kind of additional marketing tactics are there and look for a Bay Area web design company that provides them. It’s a good strategy to do so since when it comes to online marketing, it’s important to hire a single agency to handle all of the interconnected tasks. Exactly this can ensure that their offerings are consistent and operate efficiently to generate quality results.
Setting an initial budget for your website development is a critical component for the development of your company’s traction. If you go beyond the point that you’ve made, your business will encounter thick financial problems. That is why, before signing the contract (even if the offer may sound profitable), you should always pay attention to an agency’s price list.
One of the good practices that lots of Bay Area web design firms do is post their estimations online, but only after a concrete discussion will they give you a more detailed answer. This is also an excellent indicator of an honest and trustworthy company.
Usually, scam agencies have secret fees that you will discover after signing their contract. So it’s best to choose a Bay Area web design company that makes their pricing available online and provides a detailed quote after the discussions are over with your company.
These are all core steps that one needs to take to find a web design agency San Francisco. However, if you are looking through other agencies and want to know more information about them, their unique values, and how exactly they are operating, we suggest you look through the web design New York list and website design company Los Angeles list. These two towns are the epicenter of the web design industry for lots of startups and big companies.
How long does it take a web design agency San Francisco to build a site?
To tell you the truth there is no definitive answer to that question. Different agencies can produce a website within a few weeks (but the quality of it will be either low or this website will be viewed as a simple business online card) Others may take the development work for several months, as certain factors affect the deadlines of such Bay Area web design firms. Here are the core ones.
Redesign an existing website or create one from scratch
Most of the time, it depends on the services you offer or the product(s) you are selling. The more extensive they are, the more time it is required for a San Francisco website design company to produce one. So the development of your website could take anything from a few weeks to several months to complete. For example, if you need an upgrade to your current website template, it will take significantly less time than designing an entire website from scratch.
Another factor that directly affects the deadlines of a website design creation is the type of website that you’re going to develop. Since the time taken to design a website varies greatly depending on its features. And the number of features is directly tied to the type of your website.
For example, if your website is an eCommerce store that needs some functional features such as shopping cart management and product lists, you can expect that it will take longer to develop than a non-eCommerce website. On the other hand, If you need a simple website that has only some informational and simple content, you can anticipate a shorter design period.
Before recruiting a San Francisco web development company or firm, their team should be able to provide a project estimate and feature deadline. That is because your team would already and most certainly addressed the requirements of your website, with the chosen agency.
Number of pages
If it’s the redesign that you want to accomplish or start from a bare scratch, the number of web pages you need plays a significant role in deciding how long your Bay Area web design company can take to build your site. For instance, if you need a redesign of your blog in addition to your service pages, article pages, the home page, and 404 pages, the process would take much longer compared to a redesign of only your homepage.
How much do website designers San Francisco charge?
If you try to Google the same, highlighted question above then, you can find out that the range of prices varies from $5,000 to $40,000 for hiring website designers San Francisco and somewhere between $50,000 and $150,000 would go to hiring a professional web design company San Francisco.
San Francisco’s cost of living is one of the largest in the world today. Add to that, the fact that local design companies often employ the world’s best web designers, whose annual salaries can exceed $500,000, and you’ve got yourself one of the industry’s highest web design price lists. The cost of hiring a creative agency can be compared to the cost of buying a house.
This sometimes results in miscommunication between different San Francisco website design firms and business owners, who did not expect to receive a $400,000 — $500,000 bill for their website after reading a few articles claiming that a high-quality website can cost no more than $50,000. However, working with a San Francisco-based website design company is a smart choice, since these firms have an unparalleled understanding of various industry nuances.
What is the web design process?
It’s pretty simple to determine whether or not a web design company is qualified. You just need to examine their web design process. Digital marketing firms at the top of the food chain often work collaboratively with their clients. Additionally, they are extremely frank about their decisions when working on a project. To clarify, a standard web design process contains the following steps:
Any reputable San Francisco website design company initiates every project with a series of meetings with the client to gain a thorough understanding of their business objectives, identify their target audience, transfer knowledge, audit their existing website, and finalize all project requirements. A creative agency often allows its user researchers to interview potential customers, to gain a better understanding of their needs and desires;
The following stage usually entails an in-depth review of competitors’ websites, as well as the client’s business industry and design trends study. This is when Bay Area web design firms produce lengthy reports outlining best practices, their recommendations, and mood boards for design inspirations.
User Experience Design
A strong and professional web design agency San Francisco must have excellent and solid user experience expertise. Any agency should employ at least one usability expert that does know how exactly the customer journey should be constructed.
Since nowadays websites prioritize user interface. Taking this into consideration, the web design firm you employ can build a customer journey map that describes a solid navigation and information architecture of your future website. Following that, the website design team would typically create wireframes for each interactive page to establish the content structure and main layouts. Certain Bay Area web design firms will test these wireframes on real users to gain a better understanding of their feedback and initial actions before going too far with design.
Visual Design Concept
While the preceding phase concentrated more on user engagement, experience, and journey, this one is entirely concerned with design aesthetics. At this stage, firms consider a variety of stunning options for the website based on their client’s brand identity and their products/services. Additionally, some agencies present their ideas to their client’s target audience to determine which one resonates the most with them.
Pretty much every web design agency enters the design production stage as soon as the wireframes and graphic design ideas are fully complete. This is where the website design company produces final animations, diagrams, design mockups, and responsive web design mockups to kick-start development. So, it will polish every idea they have created so far.
Copywriting and Content Creation
The creation of high-quality content or having an experienced copywriter is critical, as it contributes to the overall success of a website along with effective website design solutions. Therefore, if you want to produce the best content for your business website, you should start with what kind of content you want to create on your website and how it will convey to your audience. A creative agency will spend a good amount of time exploring various ideas and strategies with you before beginning the work on your website’s final copy.
As a final stage of the web design process, web developers will convert all produced design assets to the code format and apply them to the website. Later on, you may want to add something new to your site or manage existing pages independently. In this situation, you’ll want to use a content management system (CMS) to handle your website’s content.
However, we will not discuss the web creation process in detail. In any case, every San Francisco Bay Area web design firm will ensure that all design principles and strategies are incorporated by the approved designs and choices their clients have made.
Why are great web design in Bay Area web design firms important?
It is very important and essential for any type of company to own and run a website of their own, as it will gain more social awareness of their business objectives, missions, and products/services they provide. Social media platforms assist in promoting their relevant content without the high expenses. However, some companies take this social media-centric approach too far, and their businesses suffer as a result. They’re beginning to doubt the value of making a website at all. So rather than producing a fully designed website, some companies are opting for minimalistic, one-page websites (“landing pages”) that contain only a few key pieces of information.
However, do not be fooled by this approach. Although minimalism may seem very desirable, it misses the critical nature of a company website. A well-designed, professional website is a vital component of any company’s overall online business strategy, that can turn web visitors into long-term, loyal, and repeat customers. To reach that goal, one should have two main components: UX and UI
A good website design is about curating the visitor experience. This is referred to as the user interface or UX. This element of website design blends the specific desires and needs of your target audience as well as the company’s vision into the design plan.
User interface design or simply UI is a more technical component of user experience design. It is the process by which the user interface’s detailed mechanics are assembled. Once UX and UI architecture are properly implemented on a website, users are far more likely to return and retain it on your website. This is the ultimate objective of every business’s online presence and web strategy — to turn visitors into customers.
A well-designed, competent website often elicits a variety of emotions in its users. For one thing, if a website’s usability is well-designed and a visitor can quickly and easily locate what they’re searching for, their emotional reaction to the site would be favorable. This straightforward, optimistic emotional connection has been shown to aid in the conversion of tourists to customers. The aim of a website is thus not only to provide information but also to ensure that a visitor’s first encounter with your business is entirely positive, eliciting a desire to return. A well-designed website is vital for growing consumer conversions and assisting in the growth of your company.
What should you look for in a web design agency San Francisco?
The San Francisco website design company that you will choose must be able to form your business’s mission and branding into a stunning website that engages potential customers. This team must assist you in reaching your target audience and achieving your business objectives.
A Bay Area web design company can employ both professional web designers with innovative ideas and extensive technological abilities, as well as a marketing team that understands how to drive traffic to the site, inspire user interaction, turn visitors to customers and how to use their user journey experience.
In addition, website designers San Francisco should be able to incorporate search engine optimization practices into your future website and combine it with a content management system. Additionally, seek out a web design agency that is familiar with responsive design and capable of optimizing your website for mobile devices. As the good of potential users is hiding in a plain site of mobile devices. The right web design agency San Francisco is also knowledgeable about emerging design trends. It has experience developing websites for several industries and has a large portfolio of live websites.
What are the most popular Web Design Trends?
The web design trends do affect your website traction and the journey that you are providing to your customers. So don’t even think twice about not implementing a web design trend that is currently hot, as it will not only benefit your company but also will provide a great user journey experience. So here are the 4 most popular web design trends as of today:
- Simplicity — Simplicity can be a literal lifesaver from the overload of digital information during the pandemic. It may one day completely overtake complex designs because minimalism helps users focus only on the essential features that the company is focusing on.
- Complex animations — Animations that are both dynamic, interactive, and are traveling across the screen, almost as if you’re interacting with a film, are a rising trend. These animations are not easy to make, but when done correctly, they result in an extremely positive impression on the company website.
- Parallax — When we observe things in real life, objects closest to us seem to move faster than objects farther away. Those website designers who understood this notion, are incorporating this idea. It’s a surprisingly simple way to create eye-catching, surreal effects and grab the attention of a potential client.
- Realistic elements — Typical screen elements such as boxes, icons, and graphs have been always in 2D and completely flat. However, these days a lot of realistic elements that seem to leap off the screen are gaining huge popularity.
What are the sources of Web Design Inspiration?
Another question worth mentioning on this list is where exactly do various web designers take their motivation and sources of inspiration. Some of them get it from numerous rewatches of competitor websites, others however have specialized platforms that are designed and developed to inspire others. here. Here are these places that could be a heaven for Bay Area web design firms:
- Behance: Behance is a very creative platform that was developed and owned by an innovative Adobe group. Here one may search for unique design styles and guidelines that are based on the venue, topic, and success rate.
- CSS Nectar: If you’re looking for prominent examples of website designs, this is the place to go. A team of reviewers evaluates different design submissions to ensure that their platform features only the best website examples.
- siteInspire: If you’re looking for a way to filter websites based on specific tags such as website type, topic, design, or platform, this platform is a good starting point.
Frequently asked questions when hiring an external web design company in San Francisco, CA
Q: How much does website design cost?
A: All web agencies focus on different types of clients. Some of them are funded startups looking to design an MVP version of the website, others are SMB clients seeking to refresh their online presence and standing out on the market. Different goals require different approaches to the design. As a result the price depends on that. Based on our research, a new corporate website (aka marketing website) in San Francisco-based agency may cost from $50,000 to more than $150,000. In addition to the budget, make sure to allocate around 3 months of your time on managing the process, participating on weekly stand-ups and calls with the agencies. Any even the best agency can’t design a website in isolation, they constantly need input from a decision-maker on client’s side.
Q: How web design process usually go?
A: Here are some basics of the web design process:
Why should you follow a process for your web design projects? There are a lot of great reasons for establishing and following a process. First, it keeps you on track and ensures you don’t miss anything. Second, you are less likely to skip vital planning activities in order to get to the fun parts of the actual design. Finally, it gives you a clear way to communicate what you are doing and how you are progressing with stakeholders. Having crystal clear expectations for your project, yourself, and your stakeholders will save time, energy, and frustration throughout your project.
Your process should be simple and easy to follow, no need for complicated steps, milestones, and gates. It can be as easy as Plan, Design, Test, and Hand-off. For a more in-depth look at a full web development process, check out the classic Web Style Guide by Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton.
Planning steps are the easiest to skip, but the most vital to the design process. During this phase of your project, you gather all sorts of information that inform your design choices later. Your goal here is to make sure you understand the organization the site represents, the purpose of the site itself, and the users who will be visiting the site.
- What is the purpose of the site? Is it to sell something? Provide information? Provide a service?
- What is the personality of the brand? Are there specific marketing guidelines or style guides needing to be followed?
- Who are the site’s customers/users? Are there demographic, psychographic, or geographic descriptions of the ideal site visitor?
- What does the site need to do? Beyond the purpose, are there specific features your users expect?
This phase is when you will gather information on how the project will progress as well. Who are your stakeholders? How will you be interacting with them over the course of the project? Working together, you should identify the roles and responsibilities of your team and other teams to determine who does what and when.
Now the fun part! But wait, not so fast. There is still research to be done into best practices and competitive sites. What works for others? What should you avoid entirely? What did you gather from stakeholders previously that will help shape the design (think color schemes, fonts, content)?
This phase is iterative and focuses on more than just visual design. Deliverables here range from site maps to graphic assets. The design needs to consider navigation, search, information architecture, and key functionality. Depending on the size and nature of the site you may need to plan for expansion or frequent updates, so a library of assets might be worth considering. This includes basic templates for each page type, menus, and buttons.
Start with a few low fidelity sketches of these elements, review, and refine. Move on to higher fidelity wireframes, and test with users. Continue reviewing with stakeholders as needed based on the plan you came up with earlier in the project.
As previously mentioned, user testing can and should be, conducted in earlier steps. From user interviews in Planning to high fidelity prototype testing later in the design phase. Technical testing for things like site speed or broken links is handled after you’ve handed off your design and the development phase is underway (or complete). You may do some functional testing, content reviews, or other reviews prior to handoff though. Functional testing to verify requirements, goals, browser compatibility or other areas could happen now or after handoff. Some projects also include a user acceptance test with business stakeholders or clients as well.
Your part of the project, design, is primarily done at this point. Your development and software test teams will need continued support to ensure that the requirements you provide to them are implemented as intended. Early detection of issues saves everyone time and money.
Web sites live on long after initial deployment. Depending on the type of site there may be extensive technical support tasks, content management, and further updates to fix bugs and keep things fresh. While you may not continue to be involved, it is important to provide any and all documentation that will be needed to maintain and refresh the site in the future.
Q: Which technology stack should I use for a website?
A: Depending on goals, an agency can create a website design in Sketch or Figma and then implement the front-end in ReactJS or Gatsby. If the website has no complex 3rd integrations, it can be developed on Webflow.
Q: How can I manage my content on the website?
A: Web studios use different tools and services, but the most popular these days is a ‘headless’ CMS approach when every webpage consist blocks that are reused across other pages and the content of these blocks is editable through a CMS like Contentful or DatoCMS. They allow to change content like text, images and even add or delete more blocks on the website without involving a front-end developer. We think it is a good middle ground between very user-friendly CMS like WordPress and fully custom html/css/js website with no CMS at all.
Q: Beyond the list above, how to find and hire web design agency located in San Francisco Bay Area online?
A: One of the options would be to find them at design community websites like Bēhance (by Adobe), Dribbble, Google Search.
All in all, we hope that this article will help you understand how complex the process of choosing the San Francisco website design company is. There are tons of factors and aspects that one company should consider when selecting the right web designer. So follow through with our advice and we hope that you will find what you are looking for.