Design & Marketing On The Island

If you’re at all interested in knowing about the Nanaimo graphic design and marketing industry on the island, this should help. I’m making lists of all the design and marketing agencies across British Columbia; starting with Nanaimo. I hope this will be a great resource for designers looking for work or for businesses needing marketing work. Plus, I really love seeing what local companies are up to.

Nanaimo, the ‘Hub City’, is one of the larger cities in BC, but doesn’t have much of a media/tech industry, especially compared to larger cities like Victoria or Vancouver. Despite it’s size, Nanaimo does have a decent amount of marketing & design agencies in it, though those companies are small. Even though Nanaimo is a hub for all of Vancouver Island, it has no large design or marketing agencies, and the majority of jobs are primarily in retail and healthcare.

This means that it’s rare to find a marketing agency in Nanaimo with the same expertise and portfolio of work as in the big cities. Only a few on this entire list could rival agencies in the larger cities. For Nanaimo’s sake, I hope that changes soon.

I’m not listing companies that are one-man/one-woman operations. There’s a lot of very talented designers in Nanaimo that run small design businesses with no staff but themselves. I’m not including them here because they don’t really fit the definition of ‘marketing agency’. I might do that list in the future. But for now I’m focusing on agencies with at least a handful of people. Here’s a list of all the design and marketing agencies in Nanaimo, which I will try to keep updated.

Alpha Strategy

Alpha Strategy hasn’t been around as long as other agencies in Nanaimo, but their work is great. I love how they detail each project they’ve done on their website. Seeing a company’s process is extremely helpful in deciding to work with them or hire them. They also have a YouTube channel that features an introduction to the company.

Specialties Web design, digital marketing, SEO, brand development, photography, technical services
Founded 2016
Employees 2 – 10

Array Web + Creative

Judging by their Instagram alone, these guys have done some beautiful design work. I’ve been following them for awhile and their logo designs are a great source of inspiration. I’m a fan of their brand re-design for the Lake Louise Inn. I love how polished and clean their website is too. And look at all these awards!

Specialties Marketing, SEO/SEM, web design, programming, and brand design
Founded 2009
Employees 2 – 10

Better Mouse Trap

I’m only slightly familiar with Better Mouse Trap, but I like how they detail their approach to marketing very clearly on their website. They have some pretty stellar website designs in their portfolio. The website design for High Tide Pub is my favorite.

Specialties Marketing planning, advertising, marketing consulting, web design, branding, internet marketing, graphic design, copywriting, and social media marketing
Founded 2010
Employees 2 – 10

Box 221

Box 221 is one of the newer studios in Nanaimo, having only been around since 2016. They don’t have a huge amount of work in their portfolio, but what is there is pretty solid. Their logo design and website for West Coast Helicopters is really nice.

Specialties SEO, social media, websites, photography, videography, design, branding, advertising, marketing, campaigns
Founded 2016
Employees 5 -10

Elite Image

Elite Image is a full service advertising agency that operates out of Nanaimo, Parksville, and Victoria. They also do onsite digital printing.

Specialties Print, Design, Branding, Marketing, Advertising, Websites, and Software Development
Founded 2009
Employees 11 – 50

Evolution Business Media Group

Evolution Business Media Group is a marketing & advertising agency specializing in small to medium sized businesses. They promote themselves as having a team of marketing specialists. However, I can’t find much about the actual team anywhere. Although they had a short feature in the September 2015 issue of Nanaimo Magazine.

Specialties Web development, video, online advertising, social media, SEO
Founded 2012
Employees Unknown

Hired Guns Creative

Of all the design and marketing agencies in Nanaimo, these guys have the most unique, creative stuff. Hired Guns is a small company with an impressive array of illustrative talents. Their portfolio of packaging design is some of the best I’ve ever seen. Their attention to detail and typographical abilities are amazing. The typography and illustration work for Mad Bruin is insane. Seriously, look at their stuff. Their work is world-class. Their awards are proof of that.

Specialties Branding, Design, and Marketing for Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries
Founded 2008
Employees 2 – 10

Lynk Website Design

Lynk is a boutique website design and marketing firm with offices in Nanaimo and Langley. They specialize in website development and online marketing services for small to mid-size business.

Specialties Website Design, graphic design, Digital Marketing, Branding, PR, social media management, and SEO
Founded 2007
Employees 2 – 10

Primal Communications

Primal has been around for a long time. When I was in design school, these guys were the company you wanted to get a job with after grad. These days, there is a bit more competition in Nanaimo, but Primal has remained a major player in the marketing & design industry in Nanaimo.

Specialties Tourism & Hospitality, Packaging Design & Product Marketing, and Branding & Corporate Collateral
Founded 1994
Employees 2 – 10

V3 Media

V3 Mediaworks is a full service technical and creative company specializing in branding, website design and hosting. They provide design and marketing services to businesses across BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and apparently, everywhere else too. They have slightly altered landing page designs in an effort to target different cities in Canada and the US. I’d be curious to know if that tactic works. I like that they list their pricing structure for branding projects right on their website. It’s great when companies are super transparent with what they provide and how they price things. I’m also glad to see a company that uses value based pricing instead of hourly. Although, charging only $1200 for a custom logo identity package is quite low.

Specialties Website design and hosting, branding, marketing, graphic design, and logo development
Founded 2002
Employees 2 – 10

Webacom

Webacom has been around for a long time with a portfolio of work to match. They work all over Vancouver Island and the mainland. They’ve also worked with some major brands like Subway, Boston Pizza, and Telus.

Specialties Website Design, Marketing, and SEO
Founded 1995
Employees 11 – 50

250 Digital

250 Digital is a Nanaimo based website & digital marketing company supplying businesses with a variety of marketing solutions. Their website re-design for Shift Energy Group is my favorite project of theirs.

Specialties Web Design, Paid Media, Facebook Advertising, Email Marketing, SEO, and Digital Marketing
Founded 2017
Employees Unknown

460 Communications

460 Communications includes a large portion of what used to be Impact Visual Communications. Impact was my go-to print house over a decade ago. They were also the place I wanted to work before I moved away. These days, 460 Communications continues to be one of the major marketing and design companies in Nanaimo.

Specialties Public Relations, Digital Media, Social Media, Branding & Advertising, Internal Communications, Crisis Communications, Web Design & SEO
Founded 2015 (Impact began in 1993)
Employees 2 – 10

Nanaimo Graphic Design & Marketing: In Conclusion

With Nanaimo being so centrally located on Vancouver Island, it’s a shame it isn’t more of a tech and media hub. Vancouver Island University is continually producing talented designers from their design degree program. Unfortunately, most of those designers Nanaimo in search of work. I truly hope the companies above continue to grow in size and skill. Maybe one day we’ll see Nanaimo competing with Vancouver and Toronto agencies. That’s what the ‘Hub City’ needs.

Are there any marketing and design agencies in Nanaimo that I’ve left off this list? Let me know in the comments below. I’ll try to keep this page updated with a current list of Nanaimo agencies. What city should I do next? Victoria, BC?


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