Hard-won lessons for junior designers

What talented designers struggle with when they join teams

Here’s a story I’ve seen time and again: a young designer has a great looking portfolio, gets hired by a cool startup, and dives into the work with gusto. But soon they struggle to do great work, and their product never lives up to its promise.

Why does this happen?

Well, there’s a BIG difference between making cool stuff alone and doing it on a team. This transition from passionate practitioner to true professional isn’t quick or easy, and asking someone junior to do it without support is asking for trouble.

I learned this the hard way: by diving head-first as the design lead of a startup and making every mistake I could. As I built a product and hired a design team, I collected the lessons I learned in hand-scribbled paper on my studio wall:

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