New Designer 1st Month Checklist

I have 3 new designers starting next week. Here is how I conceptualize their first month of work.

Day 1: Fill out paperwork. I just assume that it takes all day long. Thanks HR! (Sarcasm)

Set up your desk and computer: Everyone likes to put their monitor and chair into their proper place. Everyone has a few programs they like to use. Lots of stuff to set up. A Mac was new to me, but probably will be normal for the new designers.

Meetings: I introduce new designers to a series of people for 30 minute sessions. They should ask “What do you do?” and interrogate them to get their point of view. A great question is “I am on the design team…if you had a wish for me to design something, what would it be?” or “What thing in the system is terrific and you want to make sure I don’t mess it up?” Generally, just meet lots of people. Roughly a dozen people is about right.

Learn Figma: This is our tool of choice. Learn how it works. Learn components, constraints, design system, naming scheme, etc etc. I’ve given all three designers a heads up about this so hopefully they will hit the ground running.

Learn the Product: It’s amazing to me how many designers don’t actually know how their product works or why its used. Treasure Data is a fairly technical business product, so it takes a while. I’ve been working on how internal employees are trained so these three designers hopefully will have more intro than I had a year ago.

Learn the Personas and Market: Similar to learning the product, this is understanding what kinds of companies use us and what kind of people are our users. We have nice personas. They should learn all of them and ask questions. Clarity is key.

Learn the Design Principles: We have a series of design principles. They should learn the nuances of them and internalize them.

All of these items will take a while. I typically give designers 4 weeks to do all of them. I don’t give them any specific design tasks for their first month. Too often, employees are thrown into the deep end on their first week and drown. Starting a new job shouldn’t be stressful. it should be educational and welcoming.

How much time do you give people before you load deliverables onto their plate?