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How to Design for a Start-Up

Learn how to design for a start-up from graphic design consultant Chanelle Henry in this Howcast video.


Designing for a start-up. So, perhaps you heard of a little company called Instagram. It just got, of course, bought out by Facebook by billions of billions of trillions of dollars not too long ago. Obviously, the number is definitely not on point, but everyone is really excited about the start-up space. What does that mean for designers?

What it means is that there's more work. There are a lot of start-ups that are coming up within, it seems like one every minute being born here in New York, in Start-Up Valley or Silicon Valley in California, or even in Austin which is becoming the twin capital for start-ups.

At the end of the day, in order to be an effective designer at a start-up, you need to know again the principles of what makes good design. You need to know that these companies are coming to you with a vision, but maybe not necessarily a complete one. Or maybe they have money from an investor, and the investor wants all this amazing stuff to happen in the design. But you know that it won't work right or it won't function well.

The best way to work with a start-up is to not only research the start-up or the lack thereof, but to also research their competitors. Then, also make sure that you help them to discover their identity. In discovering their identity, you discover their brand and in discovering their brand, you're able to create what's going to be known as their culture.

So there are a lot of different ways to get involved with start-ups, in case you just want to try it out for size. One in particular is an event called Start-Up Weekend, which happens all over the world. Some of the upcoming events alone are even going to be in Egypt, Thailand, Florida, the Philippines, New York.

So, there are many different opportunities to get involved with amazing start-up companies, whether you want to be a lead designer on a start-up or you want to work with a start-up that's already went through funding. Another good site is, where designers find amazing start-ups. You're basically matched with start-ups that are looking for great designers like you.

There's many different opportunities and there's always going to be a pressure because being a designer for a start-up means that you're also going to be the designer, possibly a copywriter, possibly the UX person. You're going to not only take on a design role, but also take on more roles to help them to get to the point where they're like, loved and favored by the community that they're seeking after.

So, if you like that type of adventure and that type of excitement, which a lot of people do, then being a part of a start-up is definitely the way to go. It's very calm. Sometimes it is very taxing at times, but it can also be an exhilarating and exciting ride.

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