We’re of the belief that with each and every passing day, the need for high-quality design grows and grows. In just about every industry imaginable, it’s of critical importance that the design products you put out there for the world to see look impeccable. At the very least, they need to look presentable, and there are myriad ways in which you can make that happen.
Today, we want to talk about DesignOps - otherwise known as Design Operations. In all fields, there is a desire to look at things from a different point of view, and we can understand why when you take a look at just how many technological advancements have been made over the last few years alone. In design, as you can imagine, getting left behind can happen quite easily.
In 2024, the landscape is shifting just as it did in 2023, 2022 and beyond. As such, we’re eager to help bring you up to speed as quickly and efficiently as possible.
With that being said, let’s get into it.
DesignOps is a pretty all-encompassing term that addresses various challenges within the field. This includes growing your design team, hiring people with the right skills for the job, improving productivity and improving the overall quality of your designs. The aim is to establish processes that give designers the freedom to focus on what they do best - you guessed it, designing.
One of the main goals of DesignOps, aka Design Operations, is to orchestrate and optimise. The value of every design and designer needs to be appreciated, and it needs to be protected in any way possible. The objective of any team is always going to be to scale up, but you have to find a way in which to do it that doesn’t detract from other parts of your business.
Within a DesignOps team, there may not be many designers present, but that isn’t a bad thing. Their priorities are different as they look to streamline the designs, remove any hurdles or weak spots, and allow for an improved workflow. They manage projects, they look at budgets, and they hire and fire. It’s a big job, and it can’t be taken for granted.
In an increasingly digital world, designers have arguably never been busier. Everything moves at a million miles per hour, especially within the internet age and, more specifically, social media. So, when your designers are having to deal with structural issues, endless emails, meetings and needless tasks, their ability to carve out great work is going to diminish.
This is where DesignOps comes into the picture. The days of designers going it alone are, in many ways, over - and that’s not a bad thing. In the present day, it’s all about collaboration. You need to take the designers and partner them together with those in marketing, product management, and other aspects of the business that could overlap nicely.
With growth come increasingly complex issues and you have to know how to mitigate them. From communications to liaising with stakeholders, it comes down to taking the stress off the shoulders of those who should focus their attention elsewhere. Yes, designers deserve to have a seat at the table, but their schedules shouldn’t be so hectic that they can’t actually complete the designs.
There are changes in design trends every single day, and in our view, the workload needs to be distributed evenly and fairly to maximise profits for everyone involved.
Every key component within DesignOps is being done for the same reason: improving the quality of the designs. For example, laying out a basic time-blocking schedule. It may sound simple, and that’s probably because it is, but if you can give your designers minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour accounts of what they need to be working on, they’ll be able to manage their projects far more effectively.
The hiring and onboarding processes need to be smooth and in line with the values of the existing design team, the roles need to be clearly defined, and they need to feel like they’re being welcomed into a professional environment. In addition, any pre-DesignOps work needs to be analysed and broken down into a data format that gives everyone a clear idea of how every single detail of the process matters.
We are, of course, simply scratching the surface of what DesignOps can do - which is why we will continue to discuss and build on these points in future articles. Whether it be looking at design metrics and standards or using a proper rewards system to let designers know they are valued, there is so much to digest. That’s scary for some, but in our view, it’s pretty exciting.
How exactly do you know if your DesignOps practices are working? Metrics. They are the heart and soul of just about everything you do in the business world, and that’s no different here. With the adaptability and scalability that comes with this kind of work, it makes sense that you’d want to keep track of how everything is going.
With design, there needs to be real honesty in your messaging, and what it is you’re trying to say. You need to be able to distinguish between good design and bad design, what’s trending and what isn’t, and align your metrics to make sure you’re staying on the right track. Has the overall quality of the design work been improving or declining?
Does the team have the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive, or do they need to sharpen up? Are designers feeling fulfilled or drained, and is that feeling becoming clear to the client? From field research to graphs to data presentations, there are endless ways in which this can be presented. It may be uncomfortable sometimes, but it’s what needs to be done to add some real value.
The world of graphic design isn’t simple, and as you’ve probably gathered, that’s especially true for DesignOps. However, when you’re putting together all the pieces of the puzzle within your company, this is one that you need to get right. It will take time and effort, but in the long run, you’ll be saving yourself some real headaches.
Speaking of which, allow us to introduce ourselves a bit more formally.
At Hatchly, we provide an unlimited graphic design service that allows you to sit back, relax, and let us churn out as many designs as you require. With a team of dedicated professionals working away to get the job done, we can guarantee great communication, high-quality work and a platform that will give you peace of mind.
All of your problems won’t be solved overnight, but if we can help alleviate the stress in any way, shape or form, then that’s a big step in the right direction. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, feel free to check out our website, and if you want to learn more, get in touch!