How to Hold a Kickoff Design Meeting | Schweb Design, LLC

How to Hold a Kickoff Design Meeting

The dreaded design meeting. It’s been on your calendar, and you can’t avoid it. However, you can make it a memorable, fun event that helps stimulate creativity in your team members. The beginning of every project should be marked with anticipation and excitement. It’s the time when your team gets to learn about a new idea or client, when you can really go back to the basics of idea generation and brainstorming. It’s one of the most important parts of the design process, and it needs to be anything but boring. Here are six tips for holding a fun yet effective design meeting that gets everyone involved and talking:

1. Develop a Pre-Meeting Plan

Design VariationsBefore you even think about holding the design meeting, you need to first collect materials and prepare a folder or packet of information for your team. It may also be a good idea to send out design information ahead of time so that your designers can begin to think about the project. Here are 10 considerations to keep in mind when planning:

  • Create a meeting agenda

  • Understand technical necessities or specifications

  • Determine success factors

  • Create a list of desired SMART deliverables

  • Develop a rough plan or outline

  • Show current vision or products

  • Conduct client interviews

  • Outline timeline and project goals

  • Prepare a short outline based on the client’s needs

  • The size of your team

You’ll also want to create the right environment by rearranging the meeting room so that everyone is face-to-face. If possible, avoid the auditorium-style layout, and consider music or decorations that aren’t normally in the room. These surprise elements can quickly engage your team and alter their perceptions of what the design meeting is supposed to be.


2. Set the Right Tone

MeetingTry to keep the tone of the meeting similar to the tone of the project. For instance, the meeting should be designed to foster and enhance creative thinking, so getting together around a boardroom table might not be the most effective way to stimulate your team’s creative juices. Break the meeting into parts as follows:

  • Introduction

  • Brainstorm

  • Team activity

  • Question and answer

  • Brainstorm again

  • Tasking and homework

  • Scheduling a follow-up

Remember that the ultimate goal of the design meeting is to ensure your team is excited about the project and has a common ideas of the outcomes, goals, and vision for success.


3. Provide Usable Information

If you plan to distribute or read a design brief, whether it’s about social media or any other aspect of the client’s brand, you probably won’t come away with the ideas and excitement that you’re expecting. The design meetings tend to work best if you break information into usable, smaller parts and save the massive documentation and reading for the follow-up. What type of information does the team need in order to get started? In these instances, visuals are most important, so use the “show, not tell” philosophy. Show the competition. Show the project. Show the client. Then, ask your team to show their ideas.

4. Plan an Activity

Sitting around the table will probably not get your team’s creative juices flowing. It may be better to get thinking in alternative ways or moving around the room to break up the monotony of the meeting. A planned game or activity can be the right idea if you want to engage the thought muscles, and you can approach it as either an unrelated activity designed to clear the creative palette or as an activity related to the project. Either option can effectively motivate the group and help them to function together. Some ideas include a visual gut check, a prioritization card sort, or a concept map to outline how the project will come together.


5. Set a Stopwatch

Once your team starts participating, you’ll quickly realize that time is flying by. Rather than let the meeting consume your whole day, bring a stopwatch, stick to your agenda, and make sure the team stays on track. The exact length of the design meeting will depend on the project or team. Smaller groups come and go at a party-style meeting while other companies have day-long kickoffs for large projects. You can also structure your meeting as a shorter work session for one to two hours so that your team can focus on the initial planning for the project.


Website Design Contexts6. Prepare a Solid Takeaway

 It’s important to remember that your designers need to leave your meeting knowing what’s coming next and where they’re to go from here. Make sure every member of your team has what he or she needs to continue once the meeting ends. Consider making a designer toolkit that contains the following:

  • Duty roster and contact information for the team

  • Visuals that the client has noted for the project

  • Examples of current design materials or packages for the website

  • Logos, images, and other materials

  • Task assignments and deadlines

  • Design scope and brief of the project

  • Style and design parameters, including style usage, font and color palette, and brand guidelines


Contact Schweb Design Today!

Here at Schweb Design, we understand that planning your meeting should use that same creative thinking that’s important when designing a great project. Remember to think outside of the meeting box to engage your team and open the door for something you can really be excited about. Whether you have questions about designing a website or you’d like to learn more about our services, call us today at (717) 715-0993, and we’ll be more than happy to speak with you.