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Startups • Working with designers

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When building a startup, designer needs prove to be at the same time indispensable, urgent, and often, a pain in the a**. From our experience of choosing between outsourcing and in-house designers and handling a designer teams on a daily basis, we came up with these advice to help you work in a creative and peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy!
These slides were originally created by Alex Delivet (@alexd) for a presentation at BlendWeb in France.

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Startups • Working with designers

  1. Working with designers
  2. When building a startup, designer needs prove to be at the same time indispensable, urgent, and often, a pain in the a**. From our experience of choosing between outsourcing and in-house designers and handling a designer teams on a daily basis, we came up with these advice to help you work in a creative and peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy!
  3. The (almost) impossible dilemma outsourcing vs in-house
  4. #1 Reason pro outsourcing freelance and agencies are cheaper.
  5. #2 Reason pro outsourcing designers needs are intermittent Logo, graphic ID Website V2 That small stuff you tried to do yourself
  6. #3 Reason pro outsourcing greater ability to choose among different styles and genres
  7. but wait… can it be that simple?
  8. here’s why we rule for in-house
  9. #1 Reason pro in-house a design team will enable you to iterate to find your market fit (yes, it implies a smart product design)
  10. for instance
  11. Frontapp, v1
  12. Frontapp, v2
  13. Frontapp, v3 building a collaborative inbox required a lot of tests, beta-users feedback and UX science.
  14. #2 Reason pro in-house it places the whole company in a pixel-perfect attitude: attention to detail, quality in execution.
  15. for instance
  16. that’s a regular job offer
  17. that’s a pixel-perfect job offer
  18. #3 Reason pro in-house A beautiful product is the tip of the iceberg: all teams inside the company feel motivated by compliments on a design made by their teammates.
  19. look at us all proud of our beautifully-designed hoodie (yep, that’s a designer sitting on the throne)
  20. once you have your own design team, you need to handle it
  21. dos & don’ts when working with a design team
  22. Don’t be the annoying plumber client Do not dictate your designers what they should do specifically. They are the ones who know better what solutions would fit your problems. Just like a plumber knows best how to fix a leak.
  23. for instance
  24. I thought I could make an infographics. Designers do infographics.
  25. Don’t let designer only do design Designers should be implicated on other tasks than strictly product or graphic design. Their creative minds can be a strong asset on other topics, such as management or marketing (just like a rational developer’s mind can be an asset on more creative topics).
  26. for instance
  27. We were looking for a way to encourage our teams to collaborate more. We were using Slack but it wasn’t enough: the idea to build our own virtual currency for ‘thankyous’ - called the Briqs - came from our design team. Today, we even have our own online shop!
  28. Don’t leave a designer alone Designers need to be challenged and brainstorm a lot. If you can’t hire several designers yourself, think of joining a shared office and have designers in the same room, or encourage sharing their work on Dribbble.
  29. Don’t interrupt a designer that’s what our designers posted on their door
  30. Do let designers have a creative environment that inspires them even if it’s messy or outside the office
  31. Don’t say things like: ‘Come on, it will only take two minutes’ ‘I would even do it myself…’ ‘Can’t you just use Paint?’ That shall go straight to the Friday-night’s-beers jar
  32. Do work in sprints: Set goals each 1 or 2 weeks so that your designers can organize themselves freely in that timeframe. Creativity comes and goes: you can’t force them to be productive every hour. Half a day a week should be used for self-learning and exploration.
  33. Do have backlog tasks in stock If a designer is stuck on a task you asked him/her to do, suggest to do something else (preferably low priority and low boredom).
  34. for instance
  35. build a visual ID for a future event, paint a wall in your office, improve social media covers…
  36. the perfect toolbox for people working with designers
  37. Trello is a perfect project management tool if your work in sprints. We use 1 board per project and have a specific board for design.
  38. UXPin is a great mockup tool that has collaborative and advanced features. At eFounders, we follow 2 rules: ‘everything that’s integrated shall be designed’ and ‘everything that’s designed shall be mockuped’.
  39. We use invision for prototyping. The tool enables us easily build dynamic mockups.
  40. All files are gathered in shared folders, for each of our projects. We use the enterprise solution Google Drive (as part of the Google apps suite).
  41. Good tools make good workers. invest in a good computer, good software, and if needed, a graphic tablet.
  42. Thank you! We are eFounders, startup studio. @efounders ! slides made with love by @alexd @griveau @vanierrachel

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