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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

So You Want to Join a Design Team?

Morning all! No pretty card or cute mini album from me today, I thought I would share my musings with you. 
This is mostly aimed at newer bloggers or those who have not yet stuck a toe in the DT waters, but others may find it interesting or wish to share their advice/experience in a comment.

So...there comes a time in most crafty bloggers timeline when you start to think about applying to join a DT, or maybe someone has seen your work and asked you if you'd like to be a part of their team,....well you need to take into account several things...and your first question should be ..

What's your reason for wanting to join a design team. People join for different reasons and there are certain things to take into consideration.

  1. Free stuff. This is a common one, it is however important to realise that all DTs are not the same.             Some challenge blog DTs will offer you a few free digis from sponsors.....this can be a double edged sword, because you don't know which artists you will be working with and often you have to work with an image you are given.                                                                                                                                                                 Some digi artists will give you free rein to chose any of their digis you wish to work with. Some will just offer you new release images or let you chose from a select few.                                                                                 Rubber stamp companies can be a mixed bag, you may get a few new release stamps, you may get the full release, some will also send a few stamps from previous releases, some will give you digi versions to work with as well/instead of and some will send you extra goodies. From stamp companies that also produce dies you may also get some free dies to use.                                                                                                                           Online craft stores may send you a selection of stuff to use, or let you choose a certain value of goods during your design team period. If they send you a large selection of stuff you may need to post reusable items such as stamps/dies back costing you postage.
  2. Exposure. This is another common reason. Being on a design team can get you noticed....but probably not as much as you think it would.
  3. Respect.  Other crafters may well respect that you are on design teams, particularly if they are fairly prestigious ones, but if your work is good and you give other people the respect that they deserve, it's likely that you will get this anyway.
  4. The fun and camaraderie of being on a design team. An excellent reason and you will likely make good friends that you will keep in touch with even after your term has come to an end. Please remember though that not all DTs are the same, some run a very lively interactive chat (La-La Land is one of THE best example of this from teams I have been on), others are much more low key. Some DT leaders can be very demanding also, while others are very laid back and understanding (Debbie and Lou I'm thinking of you here for the best of laid back but hands on).                         

So having explored the reasons, lets move on to what you should think about and look for in a DT.
  1. You should love the majority of what you will be using, or be prepared to use and still produce good work from the items you will be working with. - This may be harder then you think, especially when you have a deadline and your mojo has gone walkabout.
  2. The  amount of work expected from you should fit the time you have available and are willing to give, be that 1 card a week or 1 a month.The rewards (see question 1 above) should be commensurate with this.
  3. Always remember it is not a job, even if you get some free stuff you are not being paid for your time, therefore demands on your time should be reasonable. For your own benefit calculate how many of the items you are asked to work with are likely to be items you would actually choose to buy, that's how much your time is worth, so only you can calculate if it's worth it to YOU.
  4. Do you admire the work of the other DT members, these are people you will be working alongside. Are they friendly? Helpful? Supportive? Does it seem like it will be a fun atmosphere?
What should they expect from you?

  1. Your best work, this should be obvious really.
  2. Your own style. This is a tricky one and one that's frequently misunderstood. This doesn't mean you have to be totally different from everyone else ever, but it probably means that people would see a card from you and have a fair idea that it's yours. I see a lot of work out there lately that all looks the same. By all means take classes, use other people's work for inspiration, but find your own style, experiment, enjoy it. If you love what you do and you're not afraid to try different things, your own style will develop over time naturally.
  3. Your time and commitment. Don't take on more than you can cope with, make sure you have home/family/work/DTs balanced. If you can't cope with the demands of another DT don't take it on, be selective, it's not fair on the DT owner/leader or the rest of the team if you keep skipping posts because you have too many DTs to juggle and can't keep up. Nobody will mind if you have to miss a post from time to time because of health/work/home issues, but this should not be because you have too many other DT posts to fulfill. 
  4. Social media, most DTs will expect you to share your work with their products on such places as Blogger, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram etc, and many coordinate their DTs via a private Facebook group.
  5. A professional looking post. You should be able to take and post clear photographs, add a watermark and add a list of products used with links.
  6. A sense of teamwork, being able to get on with and support your team mates.
  7. For rubber stamp/die companies, you may be expected to send some of your work to them for CHA, trade shows etc. The cost of posting may be met by the company or you may be expected to post at your own expense. This can be quite expensive if you are posting to a different country. The cost of your materials should NEVER exceed the free products you receive. Furthermore you need to ask yourself if the cost of buying the products you would have actually bought if it hadn't been sent for free,exceeds the materials used in your projects OR how much you could sell them for. If it doesn't and there aren't other reasons for staying, you may be best off looking for a different deign team.
  8. A love for the product, if you don't love it, how will you produce your best work.

There may be many things that I have left out, but those are the ones i can think of currently. One good way to experience DT life can be through guesting for a DT. This is an excellent way of getting a taste of things without a large commitment. GDTs can range from 1 or 2 posts up to around a 3 month stint. If your work has been good you will often be asked to join the main DT. GDting is also a great way of experiencing lots of different DTs if you don't have the time to commit to several permanent DTs and as someone who works full time, I can highly recommend GDT spots.

So, that's it. Design Team work is a lot of fun and I've had my share of great teams, just remember it's not all glamour. I hope I've given you something to think about and haven't put you off of trying!
. If you have any questions, please post them in the comment section below, and I'll have an answer for you as soon as I can.

Enjoy your day! :) xx


  1. Your esamination of the various situations has been very clear and detailed. This is a new world for me, so you have help me to understand how it works.
    Thanks so much!!

  2. Well said. I think many people who have never been on a DT know that it can be very time consuming and also hard (demanding) at times. I think this post has lots of great information for all of those who are considering whether to join a DT or not. xx

  3. Some great advice there Linda, you're observations are so true...a love of crafting can so easily get lost when you are up against a deadline and that is something that definately comes under the, you MUST love the artist/products you are working with, if not when Mojo takes a walk nearing a deadline no amount of sitting at your desk looking at the products hoping they speak to you will help and the stress will eat up more and more of your love for craft and no one wants that!
    I love the teams I am currently on, both companies have a warm loving environment that is so supportive we all feel right at home, priceless in the design team world :D
    hugs hunnie xxx


I love to read your comments and feedback and every one left is read and appreciated. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have, I will always do my best to answer them. Thanks for visiting!

Linda xx