While exploring the internet looking for some design inspiration I’ve come across a particular question that has always fascinated me and intrigued my curiosity.
This particular question is “Who Exactly Is A Design Strategist?” What is the Role of Design Strategist? How do they help in Design Thinking? What does their Career Looks like? And all sought of things interested me a lot
There were so many questions in my mind and I started looking for those answers
Many of the people getting into the design field have been asking it quite a lot and honestly, I don’t blame them “Strategist” itself is a fascinating word.
Whenever people come across this word they set a picture of a guy working in a vastly old room with heavy glasses working on a set of computers trying to create the perfect plan.
Sorry to burst your bubble It’s a lifestyle choice really. A Strategist can look like any normal person and can work from/or anywhere.
Now that we are on the same page let’s jump into the elaboration of the Design Strategist.
They say a Design Strategist is a person who defines a strategy for the design process. But I always question this belief because it’s a primary school definition, and defines nothing about that person’s profession and the amazing work they do.
So if you’re asking me
Who Is A Design Strategist?
A Design Strategist is a logical and disciplined person who thinks creatively and derives potential strategies that help in engaging the customers. A Design Strategist in particular is a person of words who can easily define an easy and subtle path to a comprehensive problem with his/her powerful narratives.
“In short, he/she is a storyteller who is in control of the words and uses them to design efficient ways to carry out the creative design process.” Basically, Design Strategist is a term that is a combination of various roles performed by a single person.
Let’s take an example that will be more relatable and will make it all a little clearer.
Consider the example that you want to open a Branding Agency in Sydney and you will consult your family friends or partner or any person close to you.
You’ll search for an optimal place where there is little competition and a larger number of potential customers.
Then you’ll move forward with the process of launching your branding agency in the nearby area of your locality in Sydney with things according to your plan and keeping the needs of your customers.
So in this example, you’re acting as a Strategist, the whole process consists of various activities that help in forming the design strategies that are optimal for your business.
Now that we are clear, let’s move forward and discuss the Top 10 Major Roles that a Design Strategist Carries out within the Organisation.
Top 10 Roles A Design Strategist Carries out within the Organisation
According to me, a Design Strategist performs various tasks on his own within the organisation depending on the skills they have.
1. Organise Interactive Workshops
The first major role of any Design Strategist is to set up research activities that provide the Designers to get an idea of the user’s needs and what a user is expecting from them.
Well, I personally like to call them interactive workshops where we learn new things and these strategists help us achieve great traits that they possess. This way we get to know deep insights about the users, how they think and behave which is an advantage for us.
2. Identifying Problems
You must be wondering what problems do these strategists define within the design process? Well then consider this, you’ve designed a product previously and it didn’t perform well with the customer. A design Strategist will identify the problem within the design and then discuss it with the designing team and overcome it as well.
Let’s take a scenario where you have launched your beer in the market it didn’t perform well as you have expected. Here comes the role of design strategist.
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3. Design or Participate Within the Research process
Well this is awkward for me as we have discussed in the “Designer vs Researcher” that only Researchers are in liberty to carry out this process, well not out of liberty but are obligated to perform the Research Process.
If you’re thinking so then read the heading again either design research or Participate in it. They don’t carry out the research part themselves. The Strategists are the people that help the researchers optimally study the problem beforehand.
4. Customer Interaction
The user or customer interaction is necessary for any company to make a better understanding with its targeted audience. The product is based on these interactions and the Design Strategist is the one who interacts with the user and it’s not like he directly goes up to them and asks something like ”We are designing a product and what would you like to see in it?”.
No not like that it’ll sound wrong professionally and make them some kind of freaks. So this is achieved by seminars organised for the users to test some designs and read their behaviours through it.
5. Customer Needs are Most Important
This is the most important role of a Design Strategist. They make sure that the customer needs are met by the product. We all know that we all work hard to make our customer satisfied, and if the strategy revised by the Strategists is not fulfilling then no matter how good the design is, it’s completely irrelevant to the customer.
6. Review the Final Product
Well, from designing to reviewing the product it’s all in the hand of the strategist. It’s their task to finally check the end product and see whether it’s according to the strategy. The Design Strategy that he has specified is going according to plan or not. Are there any possibilities of new changes to make it more appealing?
7. Cost Evaluation
Let’s admit it, we all want to earn good and regulate our expenses in the process and everyone wants that. It’s our nature, it’s what we are taught and it’s what we desire.
So within an organisation, it’s the Design Strategist’s duty to analyse all the expenses that might come up during the design process and evaluate them along the way to have a proper expenditure in the right places.
Let’s take the example that the setup of looking for an office is completed. Now comes the cost evaluation of other things you will require for your branding agency in Sydney. The design Strategist will collaborate with other teams to give suggestions, calculate the cost, and advise you to take further steps.
8. Success Criteria
Well, this particular role of design Strategist is what makes them different. And according to me this is what I think is cool about them.
The Strategists study the previous patterns and design a product strategy that has exponential success criteria than the previous one.
9. Discussion with Various Bodies of Organisation
We all are aware of how an organisation functions. It’s formed of various bodies that govern different departments and ensure the smooth functioning of the company. The Strategist is an intermediate between all the bodies. It reviews and takes points from all the stakeholders, and then devises a plan that is agreeable to everyone within the organisation. So not only do they devise a plan they also interact with these stakeholders to present their point as well.
10. Final Presentation
Presentation is the part of any product that helps in setting that first impression within the mind of the user. Without proper presentation, the design just looks like Ehh. It’s not likable, that’s what I’m saying.
Consider this you’ve got an apple phone and a non-branded phone that someone told you about.
Which one would you choose? Of course, the branded one because it’s well represented.
It’s the same in the design case.
“A great design needs an even greater representation” and the Design makes sure you’ve that proper representation and your design looks well.
So in the end all I’m gonna say is, it’s an amazing part of the designing process. Being surrounded with this much material and not losing your mind is extraordinary in my eyes and how do Design Strategists cope up with this much pressure is non earthly to me.
Once a Design Strategist gave us advice that is
“A Strategy should be made so flexible that no matter what problem occurs, it should resolve it easily”
And I believed it and still follow it.
I want to know more about design strategists and would love to connect if you are a design strategist.
What’s Say? Would you like to discuss more on the roles and responsibilities of design strategists?
You are most welcome on our Mount Woods Studio Podcast and let’s have a conversation. It will be a great opportunity for us to learn from your experiences.
Also, You can always connect with me on social media, or comment down below. Do support Mount Woods Studio to build a design community where designers share their knowledge with each other.