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The ultimate guide to creating a design strategy

monday.com 10 min read
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We’ve got a question for you.

Do you know where to start when it comes to creating your own design strategy?

If you’re shaking your head right now, don’t worry. You’re not the only one.

With a combination of design thinking and business tactics, getting your head around design strategy can be tricky. Fortunately, monday.com is here to lend a helping hand.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at what a design strategy is, the benefits of using strategic design, and how to execute your own design strategy in 2022. We’ll also be looking at how monday.com can make the entire process that much easier.

Let’s start by taking a look at what a design strategy actually is.

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What is a design strategy?

A design strategy is used to make sure that any design work aligns with company goals, objectives, and overall strategy.

As a result, this keeps designs aligned with the brand identity, and ensures that all design work contributes to the overall success and growth of the company.

Whether that’s graphic design, product design, or UX design — a design strategy makes sure that any creative projects aren’t going to be a waste of time or resources for your business.

Why does design strategy matter?

The benefits of having a design strategy in place stretch far beyond simply planning and executing your designs. Not only will it ensure that your designs are aligned with company goals, but it also makes sure that teams are working toward the same objectives.

Let’s take a look at these benefits in more detail.

Aligns your designs with business goals

As we’ve already mentioned, design strategies play a vital part in aligning business goals with design work. They ensure that everything is created with the company goals and objectives in mind.

As a result, any creative projects and design work become part of a bigger picture, contributing toward the overall success and development of a company. And because of this, there’s less back-and-forth on design work, and more time spent designing projects that are in line with the strategic vision.

Improves internal collaboration

As with any type of work, having a strategy keeps everyone on the same page. This makes internal collaboration much easier and allows communication to flow more efficiently.

By having a design strategy in place, you can be sure that everyone is working with clear direction toward the same goal, no matter what part of the design they’re working on.

And in a world where the majority of businesses now have more employees working from home, improved collaboration is definitely an advantage, especially if you’re using a platform like monday.com.

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As a Work OS, monday.com makes collaboration easy. We provide everyone on your team with one central location to store and share files. You can even add notes or comments on specific tasks.

monday.com's creative requests template

How do you create a design strategy?

Now the moment you’ve been waiting for — how to create your own design strategy.

We’ve broken it down into 5 simple steps to keep it short and sweet. So let’s get started.

1. Analyze the brand strategy

Before you start making your design strategy, you must have a thorough understanding of the company’s brand strategy.

‘But why?’ we hear you ask.

Imagine this: you’re the design strategist for a new design strategy. You create the strategy based on the specifications provided by your management team, and the design team gets to work. Everything is going smoothly.

Then BOOM.

Somewhere down the line, your manager advises that all designs need to correspond with the brand strategy, which you’ve never seen. The strategy outlines the company’s objective to reposition the brand to reach a new target audience, meaning that all your designs up until now are no longer suitable.

To save yourself screaming into a pillow, check the brand strategy before you get started. And with brands paying extra attention to their messaging in 2022, you definitely want to be sure that whatever you’re doing is in line with the company’s brand strategy.

2. Understand the business goals

Once you’ve got a thorough understanding of the brand strategy, you need to get your head around the company’s goals and objectives. This means understanding the business model, the overall strategic vision of the company, and the desired outcome for each goal.

We know it sounds like a lot of work. And we’re not going to lie to you — it is.

But there is a way to make this easier.

Using a Work OS like monday.com provides you with one central location to host the brand strategy and business goals. Much easier than flicking through various reports and data in different locations, don’t you think?

monday.com’s objectives and key results template is a great way to break everything down in a simple, efficient way. With this layout, you can really get your teeth into the business objectives and fully understand the strategic vision for the company without feeling overwhelmed.

monday.com's objectives and key results template

3. Create your design strategy

Now that you understand what the goals are and how to interpret the brand correctly, it’s time to create your own design strategy.

This process looks different for every company, so we won’t go into too much detail. But the bottom line is that you need to combine strategic thinking with design thinking.

Try thinking about the following 2 questions to guide you:

  1. What are we designing?
  2. Why are we designing it?

Consider the constraints, opportunities, and resources you have available to get the work done on time and within budget. Keep all of this in mind, and you’ll be heading along the right tracks.

To make the design process easier, monday.com’s design task template is a great way to get the ball rolling with your design strategy.

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monday.com design projects overview template

Take a look at our blog for more information on how to manage a design project

4. Create goal-driven design work

Once everything is set up to go in your design strategy, it’s time to bring your designs to life.

And remember, everything you do must be in line with the business strategy. 

To give you some inspiration, take a look at these rebranded designs that Pentagram created for Fisher-Price.

The new designs focus on imagery and messaging to revamp the playful nature of the brand for 2022.

Pentagram says:

“The new messaging focuses on making an emotional connection and recreating the feeling consumers had when they were playing with toys as children, and to feel OK to keep playing with them now and forever.”

Fisher-price new imagery with children playing and having fun

(Image Source)

As you can see, the new designs reflect the playful nature of Fisher-Price, all while building an emotional connection with the consumer.

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5. Continually monitor work and progress

As we all know, projects rarely stay on schedule. Whether you’re working on a web design project to improve user experience, or an industrial design for a new product line — things don’t always go to plan.

To make sure everything stays aligned and on track throughout your design strategy, you need to continually monitor progress. Failing to monitor ongoing progress could result in design work diverting from the design strategy, and we know that’s something you want to avoid.

We know that continually tracking the progress of a creative team can be a real headache, especially if you’re trying to do it manually.

But it doesn’t have to be. 

Using a Work OS like monday.com can help you easily keep on top of project progress. With our software, you can easily see how tasks are progressing, who’s working on which task, and how progress is coming along.

Check out our project tracker template to see for yourself.

monday.com progress update column allows users to check progress

How monday.com can help you implement your next design strategy

We know, we like to brag. But that’s only because we know how awesome monday.com is, and how helpful it can be when it comes to project management.

So let’s stop yapping away, and take a look at how we can actually help you implement your next design strategy.

1. Integrate with third-party platforms

We know how important it is to integrate external platforms with our software, especially when it comes to design work. There’s a lot of software out there that you use to get the designs you need, right?

Well, that’s why we offer over 50 integrations with external apps. You can seamlessly integrate your existing platforms into our software. And you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve recently added Adobe Creative Cloud to our list of integrations!

monday.com integrates with Adobe Creative Cloud 2021

2. Visibility of all projects in one, central location

If you’ve got more than one project on the go — and let’s face it, most of us do — using monday.com gives you visibility of multiple projects and tasks, all at the same time.

That’s right — everything in the same place at the same time.

That means there’s no need to worry about flicking through various projects and platforms to see what’s what. Simply use our work breakdown structure template, and you’ll have an all-access pass to your projects.

monday.com's work breakdown structure (WBS) template

3. Easily add and share files

When you’re working on design projects, there will undoubtedly be a lot of files floating around. Various images, infographics, website designs… The list goes on.

But, with monday.com, you can quickly and easily upload and share files in your design project and host all of your design elements in one place. As a result, you’ll easily be able to share them with the rest of your team.

monday.com allows users to upload and share a variety of images and files

Start designing with monday.com

Congratulations! You’re now an expert in all things design strategy. You know how to create your own design strategy, why you need to use one, and how monday.com can make the process much more efficient.

If you want to get started with monday.com, we’d recommend checking out our design tasks template. You won’t regret it.

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