Do you remember the iconic Pringles can? We bet you do. Its creator, Fredric John Baur, liked its design so much that he asked to be buried in one of those famous tubes. So, try to guess where his children saved his ashes when he passed away in 2008. That’s right — in an original Pringles can.
Now, that’s the spirit you’re looking for in a product designer, right? But to find such a specialist, you’d have to go through more than Indiana Jones did in search of the Lost Ark. Don’t worry, every adventurer has a sidekick. And today, Awesomic will be your helpful assistant.
We’ve prepared this article, where you’ll find the answers on who a product designer is and how he can help your business. Besides, you’ll get some pro tips on how to find and hire a perfect fit for your company. Ready? Let’s go.
The position of a digital product designer has been around for about two decades. But employers and designers themselves still confuse this profession with others. For instance, a designer applies for a product designer position, but it turns out what a company really needs is a UX designer.
So what’s the difference between these two if both of them create visuals that improve users’ interactions with your product?
Firstly, let’s clarify that “product designer” is a broader term than “UX designer.” A product designer uses a more holistic approach to design. They analyze complex data, define your and your users’ goals, and integrate your business ambitions into product design. Meanwhile, the main responsibility of a UX designer is to make a product usable and enjoyable.
Henry Wu, a product design manager at Hubspot, put these senses in such a statement: “A Product Designer, at its core, is a problem solver.”
Simply put, if both specialists are present in a team, most often a product designer is the decision-maker, while the UX designer prepares design pitches and does technical work. So let’s see what makes them alike and what differentiates them.
A product designer isn’t a “universal soldier” as many business owners mistakenly believe. Neither are they simply UX designers with additional responsibilities. They’re specialists whose role is to create not only customer-oriented designs but to make them suitable for your business goals.
However, the reality is that usually their responsibilities vary depending on a company and its digital product. In general, a product designer helps you with the following tasks:
Do you still want to figure out more details of product designers’ day-to-day responsibilities? What about finding out all the answers by spending a day of their life?
Definitely, no two days are alike, and yes, a work routine depends on a concrete specialist. Still, there are some processes that product designers face every day.
Grab your cup of coffee, tea, or maybe matcha and let’s start the working day. First of all, you have to be prepared and organized, so look through your calendar and pay attention to the meetings.
It’s high time for some deep work. So, let’s start with market research. Yep, this process takes a lot of time as a product designer has to study users’ behavior to fully understand their needs and pain points.
Now, you can embody all your ideas and insights into sketches of user flows and wireframes. Of course, you also do some designing, for example on Figma. In the end, your final stage of this task is creating product roadmaps.
It’s time for lunch! No great ideas come to your mind on an empty stomach.
Let’s get back to work. Meetings are already waiting for you. Yes, most of the days of a product designer consists of neverending meetings. You need to constantly interact with different teams to have a holistic picture of a product.
Get some snacks and start designing some prototypes for user testing. You might also present your designs to other team members. After that, one of the most important parts — testing. They prove whether designs are effective enough.
At the end of the day, it’s nice to join a meeting with a design team to discuss your success and challenges throughout the day. After that, don’t forget to make a to-do list for tomorrow and prepare your calendar as well.
Now that you clearly know who a product designer is and why you need them, a new question arises. How do I find such a professional? The chances of coming across a product designer with great expertise are as good as finding a four-leafed clover. It is possible but takes lots of searching.
Awesomic has actually done some research for you. In fact, we’ve browsed product designer job applications on LinkedIn and found such results worldwide as of November 2021:
That’s a lot of screening to do, right? And these are the results of only one social network. To avoid spending days on simply browsing, take our advice: narrow your request down to a specific set of criteria. So what are the options?
Firstly, define what kind of designer you prefer to hire. Should you choose a full-time or a freelance product designer? Here’s a list of things for you to pay attention to when choosing either of them.
The platforms on which you can look for a product designer are numerous. Depending on your request, you might choose a freelance or portfolio website, social networks, or design subscription platforms. Let’s see what the pros and cons of each are.
If you’ve decided to hire a product designer full-time, it means you’re ready for a big commitment. And in the case of product designers, this big commitment means big money.
Awesomic’s research on Glassdoor has shown that full-time product designers worldwide earn from $62,000 to $140,000 per year. To be more specific, here are the average salaries of product designers in different countries:
On the other hand, the situation with prices for hiring freelance product designers isn't as clear as it is with full-time ones. What's the complication? It turns out that finding the cost of a designer for a digital product becomes a quest when you're browsing websites.
Firstly, such websites as Fiverr and Upwork offer you a variety of designers that specialize in physical products. To find those that would be helpful for startups isn't a walk in the park. In fact, our research has found only several designers charging $50/hr on average.
If you turn to portfolio sites, we’ve got bad news: they aren’t better than freelance websites. The problem remains the same ― designers of digital products are hard to find. And to make matters worse, you can’t see the price or the package until you’ve contacted the designer personally.
The next on your list of places to hire a product designer is social networks. Let’s take LinkedIn as an example. Here, you won’t see how much each designer charges for their work. Neither will you find out what exactly they include in their services or their previous works. What you can do, though, is either visit their websites or contact them directly to clarify the information.
At this point, it seems like there is no way of finding out how much hiring a freelance product designer will cost you. Not actually. Let us remind you of one more option ― design subscription platforms like Awesomic.
With a fixed price, the subscription will get you a digital products professional selected for your request. The designers can create a mobile app, website, or landing page designs. You’ll also get your tasks updates everyday and will be able to communicate with the designer through chats or calls.
Additionally, you can double your team to two designers by selecting the All-in-One tier. And if your designers managed to carry out the project before the month’s end? Then, you can use it for requesting other design services for your company.
As the saying goes, measure twice but cut once. In other words, before you hire your product designer, make sure they fit your company 101%. To simplify this process for you, we’ve prepared a list of signs of an ideal product designer.
As the person who transforms the knowledge about your company into visual elements, a product designer should have a clear idea of the company they are working for. It includes thorough knowledge of who you are, what you offer, and what your customers need.
When you go through the designer’s portfolio, don’t make quick judgements based on just nice visuals. What you need to find out is whether any of those nice designs have shown effective results such as increased popularity or profits of the companies.
One of the most crucial abilities of a designer is to effectively collaborate with other researchers, engineers, and product managers. But what is as much important is the skill of understanding your users, their needs, and requests. For this, they need to possess the ability to effectively solve such problems.
The job of a product designer requires the ability to run numerous processes like producing wireframes, creating test plans, running tests, and launching simultaneously. For this, they need to assemble and manage teams that carry out these tasks. So their must-have are the skills of time management, coordination, and collaboration.
Your designer should have a clear understanding of what innovation and changes happen in the industry. This includes analyzing the user's changing needs and implementing them in the design. Also, a designer should be aware of how your product can be improved to keep up with the competitors.
As you can see, being a product designer is a job that goes beyond design. To find a great specialist, you’ll need to define your needs and choose a platform that can offer you what you’re looking for.
After this, you’ll carefully select the candidate that has the qualifications for your company, and hopefully, after several stages of interviewing, you’ll have a designer on board.
However, you can choose an easier option and choose to save your time and money. How? Choose design subscription services like Awesomic that offer you preselected experts for your particular request.