8 Marks of a battle-tested designer

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The Deer Designer: Creative, skilled, and resilient

I’d been keeping an eye on a local voice actress who recently became a big deal on the internet. It was because she admitted on video that she had never finished high school and had never gone to college.

She stopped going to school because her family couldn’t afford it. She let her brothers and sisters finish school while pursuing a career in voice acting.

People were surprised by her confession because she had done well in a field that required fluency in English, a skill that was typically associated with educated non-native speakers.

She was doing and being while everyone else was studying.

After years of being “the voice” of well-known brands, she decided she didn’t need a degree because she could take care of her family well enough on her own.

Life itself is the best teacher

In the design world, there is a lot of bias. People often think that the only “real” designers are those who have gone to school for design. Not true at all! Everyone has the ability to design something.

Look at the comic strip below. That’s how the tall man came into the world. 

He’s lucky that he doesn’t need a book to see over the fence (training or experience). He is a gifted person.

What some lack in skill, they make up for with experience in the real world. Some people even look for pro bono work to help them build their portfolios.

Clients often choose these kinds of designers because they’re battle-tested.

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It’s not what you know, but what you do with what you know.

The marks of a battle-tested designer

Here is a list of characteristics you should look for in a designer. These are also the marks of a seasoned designer or a beginner with a lot of potential:

  1. Positive feedback from previous clients – Don’t judge a designer’s abilities solely on their portfolio if you’re not a designer yourself. You should rather seek out former clients who are willing to give an honest evaluation of the quality of their work.
  2. Design thinking – A designer should be able to create a user-friendly design while also keeping the design simple enough not to confuse your customers.
  3. Understanding of various design tools – They should be able to work with a variety of different platforms and create designs that truly represent your brand.
  4. Collaboration – The goal of design affects every department in the company. So, regardless of how big or small your company is, the designer must be able to collaborate with others.
  5. Culture-fit characteristics
  6. The desire to continuously improve
  7. Patience – Most of your designs will need tweaking, and your designer shouldn’t give up on them until you’re happy with the results.
  8. Adaptability – The designer should be able to grow with your company, even three to five years down the road.

Finding the perfect designer

Have you heard about the Mythical Designer? That one designer with deep and vast design experience that they’re either too expensive to hire or so rare that they are considered a unicorn?

One can be found in Deer Designer.

The catch? It is a design team, not just one designer.

Your design requests will be handled by an Account Manager. The designs themselves will be the focus of the Deer Designer’s efforts.

And the third set of eyes will review the final output to make sure it reflects your preferences exactly (Quality Assurance Hero).

Hire on the basis of ability

Get on-demand design services if you need battle-tested designers. Our designers belong in squads with different design strengths that they learn from each other.

This is excellent if, for example, you need web design now and an illustration later on. You’re not forced to hire another designer with a different set of skills for your requirement in the middle of a project with a tight deadline.

Imagine how many design wars you can win with a design squad by your side and not just one lone design soldier. Because you get the best of the design world, you don’t have to settle for less.

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