Inside Ueno Agency Case Study Process

January 1, 2020

Ueno, a full-service agency with a track record that includes names such as Google, Slack, Airbnb, and Uber, shares how they make case studies a vital part of their new client wins.

Ueno Agency Office
Portrait of Jan Wennesland

If you work in an agency or run one yourself, I would love it if you could share your thoughts in these 5 short questions (takes you less than ~3 mins).

Ueno agency is renowned for writing excellent case studies that elevate not only themselves and their own work, but also their client.

In an AMA on Designer News, Halli, the founder of Ueno, was kind enough to share their internal case study process document (PDF).

In essence, here's what the document says:

I was so intrigued that I reached out to Halli for some followup questions. He immediately replied and put me in touch with one of the writers at Ueno.

Do you implement the case study process for all your projects?

We try to. We rely on case studies to tell Ueno's story, and our policy has always been to only take on projects that are interesting enough to merit a case study. Having said that, we do a lot of work these days that we're not allowed to discuss, which is kind of a shame.

Is your case study process something that gets initiated at the start of a project or after the project is finished?

We used to do the case study at the end of a project, but we're trying to change that. We want to make the case study more of an integral part of the project.

Do you involve your clients in your case studies?

We want our case studies to be as much about our clients as they are about us. Their purpose is not to show off our fancy visual designs (ok, maybe just a little bit) but to put the work as a whole in the context of the problems our clients were trying to solve and the opportunities they were trying to seize. But we don't involve our clients directly in the making of case studies, other than to ask for quotes and sometimes feedback.

Does your client pay for any of the case study costs?

No. We're happy if clients get something out of our case studies, but we do them for our own benefit, frankly. They help clients find us, they help recruit great people, and they're good for our culture and Ueno's institutional memory, reminding ourselves about what we do and how we do it.

Anything to add?

Well, I don't want your readers to think that we've got this all figured out. The way we do case studies is a work in progress that we're still tweaking, trying to improve and adjusting to the messy everyday reality. It's still more of an art than a science.

A few select example case studies from Ueno agency

Doria Case Study Example

Dorsia — Oh, the places you will go →

Zero Case Study Example

Zero — Banking, rebooted →

Lonely Planet Case Study Example

Lonely Planet— Amazing experiences start here→

Takeaways

For one, it's a good idea to document on the fly. I know it's not always possible, and in that case, outline it as quickly as possible after the project is done. At least that way you won't forget.

Also, while writing, think about your client. After all, the case study should focus on them, not just yourself.

Lastly, in addition to your process, showcase the outcome. This is ultimately what your potential new clients wants. Got metrics? Show them too.

Portrait of Jan Wennesland

About

Jan is a Norwegian UX Designer working as a consultant by day and making side projects like Case Study Club by night. Read more →

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