Saturday, March 21, 2015

Design Team Etiquette

Some of you might already know that I have been a part of a few Design Teams in the last five years and with one company for the duration so I've accumulated some real world wisdom to share with whomever finds it useful or just anecdotal.

What To Do:
So you have tried out and made it to be a part of a team, to showcase the products of a company that is utilizing the creative juices of it's Design Team to highlight what's new, now what?  I can share with you my honest observations from both the point of view of a member as well as Team Lead and Social Media Coordinator.

  • Timeliness - after all you wanted to be a part of this group, hopefully because you enjoy the products, now don't forget to stick to the outlined schedule.
  • Creativity - you were picked or sought after because of your creative spark, don't let the fact that you are now on the team to diminish your efforts. Believe me, I've seen it all. Submission projects with 20 products used but Design Team creations with one sticker. It's obvious who 'phones it in'. Reminds me of an old joke - link
  • Patience - if you are enjoying your term and would really like to stay on or re-apply, whatever the company process is, try not be overly anxious and ask about it. That tends to come across as ungracious, remember there were many people who tried to join but were not able to for one reason or another so your temporary membership to the group is just that, temporary. New members can't join if old ones don't retire. 
  • Communication - be as open and direct with the DT Lead or Owner of the shop as appropriate especially when you are unable to make a deadline so they can make alternate arrangements. Life happens and crafting is a hobby for most so everyone understands that there will be times when what you planned for just does not happen. 
  • Saying No - it's OK to turn down Design Team offers, especially when you might not be in love with the product. Viewers can always tell when someone is not being genuine or are 'peddling' the same or similar product from one team to another. Jumping from one company to another is not missed by subscribers and comes across as, well, how can this be said in politically correct manner - 'whorish'.  Jumping at an opportunity differs greatly from using well meaning companies as stepping blocks on your clime to crafting nirvana. (Please understand that humor is what I use to teach and there are times you have to be direct to make a point). 
  • Point of View - I have always seen being a part of a Design Team as a contractual 'employee' for that company. I represent them while in tenure, I am compensated either with product, credits, exposure or traditional payments. An expectation of creating the number of projects per week, month or entire duration is similar in many ways to a job. The bonus is that these jobs are a joy because it incorporates something you are passionate about.
Extra Tid Bits:
  • Enthusiasm - it's contagious, but some self restraint when it comes to being the 'best' team member is recommended. You were picked, probably from a vast selection of designers, now is the time to deliver and by deliver I mean share your joy for the products.
  • Use LOVE judiciously - you cannot possibly love everything (statistically impossible) but if you find that it's a challenge to describe products or process you used in a project there is nothing wrong with doing a little homework and have an outline for your video or research for a blog post to vary up the terminology.
  • Stretch You Crafting Muscle - we all have our comfort zone but the best of creations are born out of a challenge to try something new or new to you. Recreating the same type of project (unless specifically requested in the guidelines) gets, well, repetitive. I can only see so many xyz projects (trust me, it took all my self control not to mention specific examples but I could easily name 10 off the top of my head) when they are made in similar ways with similar products in similar color palates before they all melt into one. After all, your main goal as a Design Team member is to make the products of the company your are 'working' for to stand out.
  • Don't Burn Your Bridges - if you find that it's not a good fit, be honest. Contact the coordinator and/or owner and be direct. Provide feedback if at all possible - did you have a difficult time meeting the expectations? Did you not take into account the amount of time and dedications accepting a Design Team post requires? There is nothing wrong with identifying your limitations. Turn it around as a learning experience. There is nothing like learning on the 'job'. No one is successful at everything, you might have the skills but need some fine tuning. Don't be hurtful or beat yourself up. I have no doubt that if it's not 'right' right now, it might be later down the road.  All the better to leave things on a good note. 
If you have any Design Team experiences, I'd love to hear your take.


  1. Very well written article, Natasha!

    1. Thank you Debbie, sometimes a Design Team can be a good and a bad thing.
      :) Natasha


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