Centralized Design Function

Why organizations should have a centralized design function

Organisations can improve on productivity and quality by having a central design function. This would ensure consistency in both internally and externally facing interfaces.

There are so many different types of designers – Product, UI, UX, Graphic, Interaction, Creative, Motion, Visual, and the list goes on. To add to it, companies also have designers divided into different functions – Product, Marketing, HR, etc. Instead of dividing designers into different functions, having a centralized design function just like how we have Engineering, HR, Product Management, etc. can bring in the overall productivity and optimal resource utilization while ensuring that the designers are motivated and challenged.

Here is how we at Netcore, went about bringing in this change. We combined the designers in our marketing function along with the designers in the product function.

Why to have a Central Design Function?

  • Have a single design identity inside and outside the company ( For Netcore it is at design.netcorecloud.com)
  • Cross collaboration and consistency of thoughts and principles in product design and product marketing.
  • Having a common capability pool and plan for hiring resources accordingly
  • Designers are creative people who like to be challenged with distinct problems. Doing this not only ensures cross-collaboration and better quality output but also tends to satisfy the innate curiousness of a designer and keeping engaged and satisfied with their role which would eventually result in reduced attrition.
  • Improved resource and bandwidth utilization
  • Improved economics by utilization of tools we have for both the teams

What could be the challenges of doing this?

  • Need to make sure that the focus on core products and marketing operations does not get impacted.
  • It should not be perceived as the product design or product marketing team’s strength increment and there would still be a soft bifurcation between the two.
  • Having someone to lead the marketing & product design team’s day to day operations. 

How to address the challenges and moved towards consolidation?

  • To make sure the focus on core products is not impacted, we will make sure that the individual’s current day to day functions are not changed. (Eg., Product Designers still continue doing what they are doing and similarly the guys in the marketing design team)
  • Having a dedicated lead for marketing design who would be responsible for the day to day operations of marketing design.
  • Identify gaps in the skillset of the combined pool and plan for hiring resources

Recommended Charter

The value addition that we get out of consolidating the design function surpasses the risks and hence we should aim for a central design function (a.k.a. Design Cult).

PS: This article was originally an email that I sent as a proposal to our CEO to have a centralized design function at Netcore