The Hunter, The Farmer, and The Trapper: A Guide to Staffing Designers on Projects

Staffing designers on projects is a critical task for managers, as it can greatly impact both project success and the happiness of the design team. To streamline the process and ensure the best possible outcomes, I’ve adopted a model from the sales world – distinguishing team members as hunters, farmers, or trappers based on their default mode of working.

Designers often exhibit a leaning towards one of these archetypes, and by matching their strengths to the appropriate project phase, managers can create a dynamic and effective team. Let’s delve into each archetype and explore how they can contribute to project success, using examples from my team at LINQ & Driveway.

  1. The Hunter:

The Hunter is a visionary and divergent thinker who constantly hunts for new ideas, innovations, and ways to differentiate offerings. This designer excels in identifying strategic areas for the team or organization. Their strongest project phase is at the beginning – during pre-launch and launch.

Example: Our Lead Designer at Driveway embodies The Hunter archetype. She thrives in the generative phase of projects, consistently coming up with fresh and exciting ideas. Whether it’s creating a new user path or tackling the challenge of designing a forward thinking feature for the software, she excels in setting the project off to an inspired start.

  1. The Farmer:

The Farmer is all about iterative improvement and usability. This designer acts on insights from analytics and customer usage, gradually scaling the impact of the feature or project over time. Their strengths shine during the middle to the end phases of projects.

Example: At both LINQ and Driveway, I take on the role of The Farmer, managing the design and evolution of our product line. Through careful iteration, I strive to reduce product costs while maintaining high-quality standards. Additionally, I work to enhance the products impact by connecting with more customers, steering the direction of our software based on business strategy and valuable feedback from our users.

  1. The Trapper:

The Trapper is a master of communication and design systems. They focus on conversion rates, building a strong reputation for the design team, and designing across an entire experience or organization. Their expertise is valuable throughout all project phases – from the beginning to the middle and the end.

Example: Olivia who was one of my Designers at LINQ embodies The Trapper archetype, as she excels in creating and maintaining the design system that unites all LINQ products with a consistent look. Her world-class skills attract customers, potential team members, and business partners to LINQ, making her a crucial asset to their success.

A Word of Caution:

While matching designers with the appropriate project archetype is essential, it’s crucial to consider other factors as well. Unique skill sets and growth opportunities for each designer should also be heavily factored into the decision-making process.

In Conclusion:

Pairing the right project with the right designer archetype – The Hunter, The Farmer, or The Trapper – can lead to greater project success and ensure a satisfied and fulfilled design team. While it might not always be possible to make a perfect match, monitoring and evaluating how successful the pairings are over time will help ensure that designers and projects are set up for overall success. By leveraging the strengths of each archetype, managers can create a harmonious and thriving design team that consistently delivers exceptional results.

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