Are you considering joining a crafty design team? It can be a very fulfilling experience! If you have NEVER been part of a design team before, you may be wondering about what EXACTLY to expect. Well, each company is unique, but I can offer you a few things to consider before applying to join a crafty design team.
Before you even consider joining design team (DT), you already should be comfortable with the following TECHNOLOGY:
- Using computer or laptop (not just a phone or tablet);
- Taking quality, well-lit photos (and sometimes videos);
- Editing photos in a photo editor (and video editor);
- Creating and editing blog posts (including adding links to photos and text);
- Maintaining and engaging with social media posts.
You also should consider the PHYSICAL SPACE in your craft area for all the new products you will receive from the company. And get ready, because it will be a LOT.
Make sure to examine the CREATIVE EXPECTATIONS of the team. I was part of a creative team for years, and that particular team expects its members to create a variety of TYPES of paper crafting projects from cards to mini-albums to exploding boxes to home decor. Each member was required to create a different type of project (2 different types per month) on a rotating basis. I was well-aware of this expectation going into the team, even though I had never before created an exploding box in my life. But I knew I would need to learn, so I spent time learning well in advance. So make sure to check out the type of creative projects the team expects.
Above all, you must consider the TIME AND EFFORT EXPECTATIONS of the design team.
HERE’S HOW TO TEST YOURSELF to see if you are ready to join a design team:
1. On your social media, follow the hashtag #designteamcall and #dtcall . Scroll through the feed and find a company that would potentially suit you. Follow the links and PRETEND you are applying for the design team (even if the design team call is officially closed by now). HERE’s how to “pretend to join”…
2. Look at the expectations of that particular design team, and PRETEND you are part of that team for at LEAST 2 MONTHS. This means that for 2 months straight, you complete however many projects THE TEAM EXPECTS. You take and edit photos and videos or create blog posts however THE TEAM EXPECTS. And you POST YOUR WORK to your own social media or blog within the TIMEFRAME the team expects. It doesn’t matter if you tell the rest of the public world what you are doing. The point is to create a “simulated feel” FOR YOU for the TIME AND EFFORT you will need to spend doing design team work. The best part about this is if you can’t hold to it, it’s fine because you are not yet on a team. It’s just you, and you don’t have to worry about it.
3. And while you are testing yourself, don’t worry about using the products of whatever sample company you are pretending to design for. It doesn’t matter what products you use because you are just testing yourself in terms of TIME and EFFORT. You could test yourself further by choosing a select few items from your stash and creating your test projects with ONLY THOSE ITEMS— so, five stamps, one company brand of ink, two packs of patterned paper and say, twelve or so sheets of cardstock for two months. Even better, if you have scrapbooking or cardmaking kits laying around that you bought and never used, pull those out and create with JUST THOSE SUPPLIES (and don’t use the “sample projects”, either… create your OWN).
4. On that note, it is worth mentioning that before you apply for a design team, you should check out ALL the products they endorse (including secondary products like stamping ink or adhesive). It is really important when you create for a company that ALL the products you use and love align with what the company sells. If you use Art Glitter Glue and they only sell and endorse Glue Dots, for example, that could be an issue for you as a creator. And look at the company’s other design team members’ posts and videos; what secondary products (like ink or cardstock) do you see them using? Does it seem like they use what they like, or are they ALL using a certain brand of ink or adhesive or cardstock (or whatever)?
My lifelong dream was to join a design team. And I tested myself for THREE MONTHS before I applied for the first time. When you look back at my social media feed from many years ago, no one can tell which posts were my “pretend to be on a DT” posts. I didn’t share that I was testing myself or whatever. I just posted my own stuff like normal, except it was according to the standards of a potential team and on the schedule of a potential team.
The cool thing about testing myself was that my “test” actually allowed me to build up three months of projects that I created and posted in “design team format”. So when I actually applied for a design team and the company looked at my social profiles, they could SEE three months of recent work in the style they could EXPECT FROM ME.
TRICKY ISSUES of being part of a DT
1. Consider the fact that you might be expected to create with a product you do not like. If you really want to see what this feels like, find something in your stash that you can’t think of ideas for… and try to create an awesome project with it. It isn’t easy. You might appreciate the challenge, but this idea could give you real anxiety.
2. You might be requested to suddenly create extra projects in an EXTREMELY SHORT amount of time – outside of the regular design team calendar schedule. This comes up sometimes as the company celebrates certain events or creates “blog hops” or “crafty days” or whatever. Does your home and family life allow you to suddenly put everything aside and spend two or three straight days rapidly creating a project, taking photos or videos, and posting your makes? This is something to consider.
3. Make sure to pay attention to the design team’s stipulations about using other companies’ products. Generally, you cannot “mix and match” company brands when you create your projects for a design team (unless the team is a store or kit that includes multiple brands, of course). Is it a conflict of interest that you love “Brand A” paper and most of your projects use this paper? What about adhesive? Ink? Cardstock? MOST OF THE TIME, what you use for your own blog, video channel and/or social media is up to you, but some companies want total loyalty to THEIR BRAND even beyond scheduled design team posts. Make sure to check this out in the design team guidelines. It’s REALLY IMPORTANT, and it will make a HUGE difference in your creative process.
4. Social media ENGAGEMENT can be required of some design teams. This means that some teams require their team members to COMMENT or SHARE the posts of all the members on a regular basis. Sometimes, this means commenting on every post, sometimes it means commenting something DAILY… whatever they require, you have to do it. Consider this requirement realistically; maybe you don’t mind if your personal feed is full of shared posts from every team member. Or maybe you don’t mind to post comments every day or participate in live chats. Make sure to consider the time commitment of engaging with the public and the other team members OUTSIDE of your scheduled design team calendar.
1. Of course, the total awesomeness about being on a design team means that you receive free product from the company. Sometimes they send you a package of new products before their release, and sometimes the company offers store credit. No matter how they do it, when that package shows up, I mean… it’s just fantastic.
2. Being a part of a company’s design team means your online presence will get a lot of new traffic, which is GREAT. I can guarantee that your organic following will increase and whatever you want to do creatively outside of the team will only benefit because you will gain bunch of new eyes on your work.
3. Some design teams offer monetary payment, which is wonderful!
4. I know people always say that they “gain valuable friendships” when they join a design team, and I can tell you this is absolutely TRUE. I literally thought this was just something people say. It’s not. I have made friends who I see regularly at craft fairs, who I engage with regularly, and I have also made real friends in other countries. You honestly make friends who share the same passion as you, and it’s amazing.
Hopefully, my thoughts and advice have made an impact on your decision to pursue joining a crafty design team one way or another. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Good luck on your crafty journey!