June 20, 2022

What Is Design By Committee and How Can You Make It Work

Design by committee is a process where many people are involved in designing the same product. Each team member contributes their ideas and expertise to create a final design. The goal is to achieve a cohesive product design that fosters collaboration and communication among the team.

This process can benefit a company because it can help with creativity and innovation. But, it can also damage an organization if not managed properly.

Design by Committee Pros and Cons

To determine if this design process suits your company, let’s dive into its benefits and disadvantages.

On the plus side, having a whole bunch of people involved in the design process can give you some alternate points of view. When there’s only one designer involved, you have a very narrow-focused idea. Having multiple designers work on a project can expand the horizon and arrive at a better and much-improved result.

Another benefit of having a whole team work on a design project is the ability to delegate parts of the process. This will allow the entire team to work together using each others’ strengths. As a result, there is less riding on one person’s shoulders, and all the tasks can be distributed amongst the team.

Finally, there can be more enthusiasm as members of the committee buy into the process. This allows everyone to feel like they have a sense of ownership and contributed to the project. And when they see the final product, they feel proud no matter how big or small their role was in that process.

Now, let’s talk about some of the negative aspects of the design by the committee. Many designers or clients will agree that one of the undesirable things about this process is having too many opinions.

Having a whole team work on a project would mean too many people giving direction and opinions. And many times, when you get into design, there can be some points that become subjective.

Things like specific shapes or layers of design might be more of a preference than a personal purpose. So when you have multiple individuals on that deciding team, it can get frustrating along the way because of the differences of opinions.

Another common pain point in this design process is confusion for the designers. One of the biggest roadblocks a designer can face is when multiple instructions are given at different times from different sets of authority.

Changes and instructions from different team members may look good when taken in isolation. But when they are brought together simultaneously, it could result in a design that is no longer aligned with the desired outcome.

Lastly is the conflict that can arise when members of the team disagree. People opposing opinions and decisions on the design can cause a roadblock in the project development.

How to make the design by committee work for your organization

The way to make this design process work well is to establish a single person who will make the final decision. They will gather all data and decide on the actionable steps the design team will take. This person will act like a gatekeeper that keeps the team in check and on schedule.

Part of their job is to take all their team’s design insights and wisdom and approve those. They will then take actionable steps and give that to the design team to move things forward.

If all these things work together, then design by committee can contribute some very positive results. If you want to dive deeper into this process, schedule a call with me, and let’s discuss!

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About the Author

Jason Rutel is the founder of Creative Nomads, a dynamic agency centered on enriching donor engagement for nonprofits and global missions organizations. With an impressive track record in web design, videography, and branding, Jason brings innovative communication strategies that drive mission-focused initiatives.

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