What Makes A Great Design Team

Nicole Krosnowski

Senior Designer

When you take the time to establish a great design team, it makes all of your projects go a lot smoother. Each member on the team will have clear objectives, tools and methods to utilize the structures to follow. This setup ensures that each member carries out their roles and responsibilities, improving efficiency and productivity. It also avoids redundancy - and you know - those uncomfortable talks about who’s in charge of what.

Below are three steps to help you build a great design team. You’ll thank yourself later!

Define Your Vision and Core Values

Before you even start adding people to your team, be sure to define your vision and the core values you expect everyone to follow. A clear vision gives your team guidance as to what the final result should look like. It also keeps everyone on task and working toward the same goal, as well as motivates the leader of the team to do whatever it takes to achieve the end result.

Core values make a difference, too. These values will help you choose the right people for your team. What type of leadership qualities are you looking for? What gaps do you hope to fill with your team? How do you want the working environment to look and feel?

Let’s say that your vision is to create high quality websites for clients. Your core values might include developing meaningful relationships, providing clear communication and retaining talented designers. As you can see, you have a main vision and values to support it.

Fill Roles with Top Talent

It’s not easy to fill every position with qualified candidates. But, even one person who doesn’t “fit” can change the course of the project. When hiring individuals, we strongly urge you to look beyond the background experience and skillsets. While important, a high-performing team takes ownership of their roles. They will extend themselves for the benefit of the team.

You may already have employees in-house that you know will do a great job. You may have to hire some as well. Make your decisions carefully, and be prepared to communicate the roles, responsibilities and expectations of each member. Being transparent is helpful for you and the candidate. They need to know that they’re more than a photographer or coder. They are instrumental to the project, the team and your company.

Practice Strong Communication Skills

There will always be hurdles that your team will face, but strong communication and conflict resolution strategies will prevent them from getting in the way of a great project. Most of the time, miscommunications occurs because one person heard something differently or didn’t hear it at all.

There are a few ways that you can keep communication moving forward. Always include all members on emails and schedule weekly or bi-weekly progress meetings. Encourage an open door policy where employees can share their issues openly, in a non-defensive way. An open office layout can be great for this purpose. Review active listening skills with the team and always restate messages so that they’re understood.

Building a great design team takes patience, work and strategic thinking, but it can be done! Putting in the effort now makes completing projects in the future easier and more efficient.


About the Author: Nicole Krosnowski

Nicole is a Designer at SEMGeeks. She is a Jersey girl who loves to “go down the shore” and spend her time at the beach. Nicole is a creative thinker, fueled by iced coffee and innovation. She loves to stay up to date with the latest trends in fashion and technology and uses this as design inspiration. With experience in web design, digital design and advertising, she approaches each project with a designer’s careful eye and a marketer’s strategic thought process.

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