Have you ever wondered how designers come up with those awesome mood boards? Where do designers get inspiration from? How do designers get all their work done? We tend to be amazed by the creativity and end results of designers; yet we don’t really know how designers work with other teams or even understand what the exact role of a designer is, especially when it comes to marketing.
On July 23, MKTG WMN hosted an event “How to up-level your partnership with design” featuring Ashley Lulkovitz, Senior Brand Manager at Bbot; Chloe Louderback, Senior Graphic Designer at MyComputerCareer; Crystal Martin, Art Director at EveryoneSocial; and Leah Klein, Creative Brand Manager at ClearEdge Partners. Here is what we learned:
We need to do a better job of understanding the role of a designer
Do you know the role a designer plays within your company? Designers can play different roles within an organization whether it’s marketing, web design, UI/UX, or product. Our panelists had some key insights for partnering with designers:
“I really appreciate having champions within the organization that can advocate for the type of work I do and show that I’m multifaceted.”
— Leah Klein, Creative Brand Manager at ClearEdge Partners
“There is an actual science behind being a designer; it’s not just all about the art and the visuals. Also, at the end of the day, we [designers] just want to do our jobs without the outside noise. Just trust us with our expertise.”
— Crystal Martin, Art Director at EveryoneSocial
Part of understanding the role of a designer also includes getting clarity around the challenges they face. Leah shared that people have no idea what designers do, let alone understand their work process and how long it takes to complete a project from start to finish. Chloe Louderback says that when she describes herself as a graphic designer, people don’t actually know, “what we do.” Ashley shared that in her experience, she struggles with meeting multiple deadlines especially when deadlines at times can be arbitrary. Crystal added that as a designer, she has been learning to find her voice and understand boundaries, especially when it comes to managing workload and deadlines.
Collaboration is key when working with designers, no matter where they sit within an organization
Wondering how to best work with designers? Crystal Martin shed some light for us: “Collaboration is key; everyone needs to know what they’re doing and what’s needed for a project. Everyone needs to be on the same page.” There are different ways to collaborate with designers, and our panelists provided some examples. Crystal said Google Sheets or project management tools such as Jira or Asana are great ways to receive requests for design work. Klein described the importance of having a team of analysts within her company, who supports her by allowing her to focus on major priorities and getting rid of the noise/clutter.
The designers also shared insights on how stakeholders can better collaborate with designers to achieve business goals. One major way is to bring them early into the process because they want to be part of the storytelling process from the beginning. Other great ways to collaborate include capturing feedback throughout the process. Designers want to know what worked, what may not have been successful within a project, and whether the end deliverable succeeded in terms of meeting expectations. Finally, analytics is another way to capture data whether its number of views or clicks.
We need strong leadership to empower and elevate designers.
Like any company, designers need strong leaders to manage them and empower them. Crystal has had experience managing designers, and she added some color around her approach as a design leader. “It all really comes down to communication, no matter if you are working with contractors, full-time hires, or agencies. There are crazy deliverables, a learning process, or some kind of work environment to navigate; the important thing as a leader is to understand your designers’ needs and get a sense of designers on your team who want to receive feedback, which could look different based off the individual.”
Company leadership can also play an important role in empowering and elevating designers within their organizations. Chloe said, “Ask questions; don’t be afraid to have that dialogue.” Ashley shared that brand office hours can be valuable time dedicated to helping projects get approved internally, especially with granting designers the opportunity to explain why they made the choices they did.
What are some tips and tricks for channeling that inner designer?
We asked our panelists for some tips and tricks to channel that inner creativity or inner designer in you:
- Chloe Louderback: Check out YouTube; I’m always trying to see what’s new, checking out trends, and looking for new stuff to learn. Also, the world is beautiful and everyone is creating. Look at your surroundings and capture anything inspiring that can be channeled into your projects. Finally, keep the creative juices going!
- Leah Klein: Taking classes or attending conferences are great ways to hone in on your skills or learn something new. Also, there are no new ideas -> take a look at competitors or big tech companies!
- Crystal Martin: Moat is a great resource to see where companies are landing in terms of ads they are running. Also, stay connected with fellow designers!
- Ashley Lulkovitz: Take a look at emails you are subscribed to; there are some really good blogs/emails with strong design/layout. SuperHi is a great website that has classes e.g. design, coding, HTML, and CSS!
What’s next for MKTG WMN?
We are psyched to continue to create opportunities to support women in marketing from all over the world.
Here’s what is coming up next:
-Friday 9/17 from 12PM ET/9AM PT: MKTG WMN discusses how to get the most out of networking
-Friday 10/22 from 12PM ET/9AM PT: MKTG WMN discusses how to think about personal branding and career planning
Make sure you get an invite by joining us here!