BUILDING DESIGN

The lay of the land

The first thing to do conduct an audit. In a way there were a few audits.

Brand assets

Where do people use them. A good exercise is to get big open space or a few large boards and print out all the places the brand is currently used. This includes all the usual suspects. Website, social media, app (in this case this included the physical hardware product and packaging). This will give everyone an idea of how the brand is currently implemented. Who knows what you'll see but I would bet you'll see some inconsistencies and outliers (we did). Now you have some sort of baseline. This will help you decide where you want to go next.

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Halo-OHalo-O

Understand the organization

Spend some time with the non designers (which will be everyone at this point!). What do they think the role of design is? How do they see you helping them achieve their goals. Your responses may vary. In my case I felt like it was my job to lay the foundation for the role of design in the company. In some cases the needs may be very tactical (we need assets for paid advertising, we need press kits, what about the website?). Which are all valid. But my goal is to help the rest of team understand how the design team can help the beyond asset creation. What are benefits for Marketing, Engineering and Customer support if we as a design team at our core are user centric problem solvers?

  • Could user research help marketing shape messaging?
  • Can communication between design and support lead to better understanding of customer needs? (spoiler alert, I would say yes).
     

Build these relationships early on. It will help you understand what the team needs from you. It also gives you an opportunity to help them understand what you plan to do.

Prioritization

At this point you can take what you've learned and make a plan.

This is your roadmap for the next 6 months and year. You've got something to get you started. As you get into a rhythm you'll find what makes sense for you but at first I check in and update this every 2 weeks. Full disclosure, this is arbitrary. This is my framework and its what works for me.

Dividing between design needs early on. When you're drawn between Marketing, Brand and Product you can get overwhelmed quickly (and I did). Your friend in this case is prioritization. Harness you're inner PM and ruthlessly decide what to focus on