The backgrounds the designers come from often vary. The majority of them contribute to the startups as consultants, freelancers and employees. Very rarely designers, who are highly skilled, ambitious and possess the ability of handling uncertainty, end up becoming the cofounders of startups. Some of the most prominent instances of startups with designer cofounders include names like Pinterest, Airbnb, Square, Instagram, Typekit, Android, Tumblr, Vimeo etc.
A quality designer possesses the ability of contributing significantly to almost all kinds of team or product. However, in this write up, we’ll be discussing about certain situations where designer founders play the most important roles.
There are certain industries where major structural changes result in rise in consumer expectations regarding product experiences. One example of such an industry is the music industry. Within a few years devices used for listening to music have evolved from simple Discmans to feature-filled iPods and advanced iPhones. The music applications have also matured from the basic Napsters to exciting iTunes and Spotify. Technical barriers that people had to face while publishing music also have dropped appreciably. All these changes have resulted in drastic increase in competition. Thus, companies, especially the music startups now need to work harder for providing the best user experience; they need to make sure that the user experience offered by them must be better than what any other company operating on the market is offering. Better design can help you in promoting your creations with better effects. As a result, designer cofounders work well for music startups.
You can have a designer partner to in your startup if you feel that user experience and design are your company’s core competencies. A skilled designer partner will help you in attracting the talent required for realizing this vision of your organization. It has been found that startups having designer cofounders with great skills and knowledge keep on attracting several other skilled and talented designers. A designer founder also helps in creating a perfect environment for allowing the talented designers to thrive. Great designers are aware of the fact that some people working under them might have the ability of making design decisions irrespective of the kind of position they hold. Designer cofounders who teach and model innovative designs created by other designers do so assuming that this procedure will promote an impressive design culture.
Suppose a situation arises that is only allowing you to create products competently, but not giving you the right idea regarding what kind of product you should make, particularly when you are developing a fresh product, expanding the user base of a particular product or pivoting. A designer cofounder can be of great help in such situations. He can help you by empathizing with users, identifying the exact problems and solving them and targeting use-cases that will address your company’s goals in the best possible manner. If the person partnering you is a great designer, he will have different ways of doing the above mentioned things; the most commonly used methods however are interviewing and observing users.