Design

Collaborative design, explained in comics

4 min read
Justin Jones  •  Feb 20, 2019
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We’ve written so many posts about how to best collaborate with your coworkers, but real life isn’t always so simple. We know it can be confusing to know what is good collaboration and what is a path to frustration.

Fear not, dear reader. We’re here for you.

We’ve asked illustrator Justin Jones to spell it out in these comics. Feel free to pin up in your office, drop it in your Slack, or passive-aggressively attach them to your next kick off meeting invite. We won’t judge.

It’s easy to play the blame game when it comes to collaboration. Was it the designer’s fault for not sharing updates along the way? Why didn’t the product manager have a kick off meeting?

The next time The truth is that the responsibility is on us—all of us—to identify gaps and work together to overcome them.

What better way to nail down these commons problems than classic good-bad scenarios? Here are three common situations you might find yourself in, plus a look at how they could go horribly wrong or remarkably right.

Collaborative software: Just use it

Cursed is the coworker who shouts across the open office to their teammates, leaving a trail of side eyes, shade, and frustrated colleagues in their wake.

It’s 2019, my dude. We have software for that. Get your collaboration in via Freehand and get it done.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Shipping a product is no easy task, and it takes a lot of stakeholders to get it done. If you’ve ever had the thought, “I’m basically a design superhero. I can handle this myself. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again!,” you should probably think again.

Save yourself from that all too familiar deadline-is-now anxiety attack. Be realistic, plan ahead, and don’t assume you can make magic happen all on your own. Get the appropriate team members and stakeholders involved on time and make magic happen—together.

Start with the problem first

It sounds obvious, but you can’t create solutions without problems.

The life of the designer (and dare we say, the entire org) is easier when stakeholders tackle the problems first, then figure out the solutions. Collaborators that steamroll teammates jumping to solutions may mean well, but the final product will take longer (and they’ll probably make some design enemies along the way).


Feeling a little called out? Chances are you might need to brush up on your collaboration skills. Here are some other articles on collaboration that might be helpful:

Want some more collaboration therapy? Check out these 6 memes about designer and developer collaboration. Plus, enter our giveaway by sharing your best (or worst!) collaboration story below.