With all of the different types of agencies—ad agencies, marketing agencies, digital agencies, creative agencies—it can be hard to tell the difference. Many modern agencies offer a hybrid of capabilities that put them in more than one category. While there are thousands of marketing agencies that also provide creative services like branding and website design, it’s not easy to find pure creative agencies.
We’ve identified 25 of the best creative agencies in the US, ranked by revenue figures according to ZoomInfo. Their annual revenue ranges from $10 million to over $400 million.
We’ve done our best to ensure that these firms are creative agencies first and foremost. They may offer ancillary digital marketing or creative advertising services, but their primary focus is branding and/or website design. If you’re looking for agencies with broader capabilities, here are the top advertising and marketing agencies in the US.
25 Best Creative Agencies
1. Landor, $408M revenue
2. Interbrand, $348M revenue
3. Sid Lee, $184M revenue
4. FutureBrand, $142M revenue
5. frog, $136M revenue
6. VSA Partners, $74M revenue
7. Design Bridge, $68M revenue
8. Kreative, $67M revenue
9. BVK, $65M revenue
10. Red Square Agency, $58M revenue
11. Rhapsody, $44M revenue
12. Art Version Interactive, $35M revenue
13. Ignition Creative, $33M revenue
14. Magnetic Creative, $29M revenue
15. Definition 6, $25M revenue
16. Digital Kitchen, $24M revenue
17. Pentagram, $22M revenue
18. HUb, $21M revenue
19. Wolff Olins, $18M revenue
20. Column Five, $17M revenue
21. GKV, $16M revenue
22. Lexicon Branding, $14M revenue
23. Jacob Tyler, $13M revenue
24. DesignStudio, $10M revenue
25. Motion Agency, $10M revenue
A Closer Look at the 5 Biggest Creative Agencies
Only five agencies on this list generate more than $100 million in annual revenue: Landor, Interbrand, Sid Lee, FutureBrand, and frog. Here are a few quick facts about these top creative agencies, along with some recent accolades that prove they’re also among the most creative agencies.
Landor is a global brand consulting and transformation agency with 13 offices around the world. The agency specializes in strategy and positioning, brand architecture, naming, identity and design, and employee experience.
- Founded in 1941
- Headquarters in New York
- 1,200 team members
- $408 million in revenue
- Won 36 awards at the 2021 Transform MEA Awards, including the Grand Prix
- Won the D&AD Wood Pencil Awards 2021
- Won the New Blood Awards 2021
Interbrand, a subsidiary of Omnicom Group, is one of the world’s leading brand consultancies with 29 offices in 22 countries. It is well known for its annual Best Global Brands and Breakthrough Brands reports.
- Founded in 1974
- Headquarters in New York
- 1,680 team members
- $348 million
- Won 17 awards in the Red Dot Design Award 2021
- Won 16 awards in the Transform Awards North America 2021
- Won the Brand Impact Awards 2021 Bronze Award
3. Sid Lee
Sid Lee is a creative services firm that applies storytelling, design, and technology to create branded customer experiences. It has offices in Toronto, New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Paris.
- Founded in 1993
- Headquarters in Quebec, Canada
- 900 team members
- $184 million annual revenue
- Won 6 awards in the ADC 2021 Annual Awards
- Earned 3 certificates at The One Show 2021 Awards
- Won Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards
FutureBrand is a global brand and innovation company that is part of the Interpublic Group. It specializes in corporate branding, consumer branding, luxury branding, brand research and measurement, brand innovation, and branded environments.
- Founded in 1991
- Headquarters in New York and London
- 750 team members
- $142 million annual revenue
- Named Branding Agency of the Year at 42nd Grand Prix des Agences de l'Année
- Won 9 awards at the 2021 Transform Awards ANZ
- Received 8 awards at the 2021 Transform Awards Asia
frog is a leading global creative consultancy owned by Capgemini Invent. They offer strategy, design, and performance services that bring brands, products, and customer experiences to life.
- Founded in 1969
- Headquarters in San Francisco
- 400 team members
- $136 million annual revenue
- Won the Red Dot Award for Product Design 2021
- Received Fast Company’s 2021 Innovation by Design Awards
- Won the Soho House Design Prize 2021
Challenges with Scaling a Creative Agency
Creative agencies are significantly smaller than their marketing and advertising agency counterparts. We were surprised to see so few agencies with more than $100 million in annual revenue. For comparison, there are 30 marketing agencies that generate more than $100 million, 11 of which are billion-dollar-plus firms.
This raises the question: Why is it so hard to scale a creative agency to 7-, 8-, or 9-figure revenue numbers?
In connecting with creative firms, we here at Mosaic have discovered several factors that make it challenging for many of the best creative agencies to reach their full potential.
- Creative services are often considered “boutique” services. Not every business needs them so there’s simply less demand.
- Creative agencies typically have few, if any, retainer clients. Meaning they have no recurring revenue and start from scratch every billing period.
- The creative process takes time. Projects often exceed the scope that was allocated for them, threatening deadlines and eating away at profit margins.
- Creative agencies have smaller teams so they can only bring on a couple of projects at a time. They can’t afford to scale their teams without having the project load to support increased headcount, but in the creative world, it’s particularly difficult to forecast future demand. So they often find themselves hitting a plateau before they ever reach the $5 million revenue mark.
While some of these challenges are simply due to the nature of the creative industry. Others— like operational efficiency, profit margins, and forecasting—can be overcome with the right people, processes, and technology.
There are several technologies that agencies use to scale operations. Resource management software, for one, is purpose-built to help agencies improve efficiency and increase profitability. It can often be the differentiator between a firm that caps out at a couple of million in revenue and one that grows to join the ranks of the best creative agencies in the US.