The Designer’s guide to Startup Weekend

04/28/2016 | By Laura Kerrison

This post originally appeared on

What does it mean to come to Startup Weekend as a designer? Honestly - whatever you want it to mean.

The term ‘designer’ covers such a broad spectrum these days that any two designers in the room may have a completely different skill base, toolbox and process. 

This is awesome.

Whether you work in the fields of UX, digital design, print, advertising, illustration - all of the above or none of the above, you will find a place at Startup Weekend. You will work alongside other designers, techies and business people from a diverse range of backgrounds to create and transform together.

Some key areas in which your skills may be put to use include:

  • understanding the problem and finding the best ways to communicate it
  • empathising with possible customers and partners
  • designing a brand and communications
  • creating prototypes
  • packaging the work to make a killer presentation

But by no means is that your task list for Startup Weekend. If you want to develop your skills in market validation - do it. If you want to put your programming to the test, put your hand up for that. The beauty of Startup Weekend is that you and your team can shape the way you work.


Things to bring along:

  • Laptop - set up for your ideal work processes (or a big screen if that’s what floats your boat)
  • Pen and paper
  • Whatever tools and resources you need to do the best work you can - whether that’s a sketchpad, wacom, specific computer programs, your favourite Staedtler black ink pen,
  • Your processes - if you’re production is maximised by putting on your headphones and blasting Daft Punk then do it. But remember to be present when your team needs you.

Things to remember:

  • You’re the designer - back yourself and your skills when it comes to the creative concept
  • Conversely, listen to your team and trust that you all want what is best
  • When it comes to Startup Weekend - “Done is better than perfect” (Sheryl Sandberg). You don’t have time to finesse that heading to pixel perfect - so don’t be too fussy.
  • Your Sunday presentation needs to shine - that slide deck it is an integral part of the pitch, make it awesome and don’t over clutter it.
  • Don’t forget to have fun! Get to know your team, go for a walk outside, watch real-life doodles to destress.

“Startup Weekend gave me a more holistic view of business operations. Generally you only work with people of your similar skillset, so it was great to work with people who bought a multitude of skillsets to the table. Startup Weekend allows you to see the breadth of an organisation and see all of the cogs work together.”

Anna - UI/UX designer

This is your chance to shake it up and do things differently. Expand your knowledge base, open yourself up and I guarantee your day-to-day work will improve exponentially.