Choose and work with a designer

Create an effective design team


A good design team will comprise a number of key people within your business. They will each have key roles and responsibilities to ensure that your design project is delivered on time and meets its objectives.

Design team roles and responsibilities

Most design teams include four general categories of people:

  • designers
  • managers
  • subject matter experts, eg users of product or service that is being developed
  • stakeholders

Every business is different so your circumstances will dictate how your design team forms and functions within your organisation. You may need to work with several designers - including a lead designer, product designer, graphic designer, user research or user experience designer, etc.

It's generally a good idea to try to agree some level of processes and guidelines for your team - for example, around communication or sharing assets and project files.

Project manager relationship with design team

Behind every great project is a great project manager. You should identify a manager for your project from the outset - a person who will have responsibility and authority for design-related decisions.

Your project manager should consult on an ongoing basis with the designers, as well as the key departments in your business, such as sales, marketing and production - since the design project will benefit from their input.

The project manager should be responsible for:

  • defining the parameters of the project
  • co-ordinating brainstorming and other design-related teamwork
  • setting targets and deadlines
  • managing budgets
  • assigning specific tasks
  • identifying ownership and intellectual property issues
  • communicating the brief to everyone involved
  • determining how the larger team functions
  • facilitating co-operation
  • debriefing at the end of the project

Project team

A project team within your business can act as a sounding board, take responsibility for the project and ensure it retains momentum.

For a project team to be effective it needs to include - or consult frequently with - representatives from across your business as well as key people from outside it. Your project team might include some or all of the following:

  • salespeople or other customer-facing employees
  • engineers - to advise on technical feasibility
  • marketing and research staff
  • selected key customers - to take part in user-research work
  • key suppliers
  • third-party resellers

See more on managing your design projects.