Pair design

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In this report, two seasoned advocates explain how pair design—the practice of having two designers work together on each aspect of a design project—works and what you need to implement it at your company.

Pair Design: Design Better, Together

Why Pair Design?

We’ve all been there: it’s time to review a design with some critical stakeholders, you’re prepared, you think you’ve got a great design, and you’re ready to hear feedback and move on to next steps. Except the feedback you’re getting isn’t about refining your great idea. Looking around the table, you realize that your stakeholders aren’t buying your design, because you haven’t addressed a key part of the business need. Or, you hadn’t considered another persona. Or, what you’ve done doesn’t agree with earlier work. Somehow, now that you’re here, you realize that you became lost in the weeds and didn’t focus enough on the big picture. And the part of the picture you did focus on? Well, your pitch isn’t quite landing and the design isn’t the great masterpiece you thought it was.

This happens to a lot of designers, not because they are bad at design, but simply because they are one person—one person working iteratively on a complex problem with a lot of different stakeholders. It’s easy to lose sight of some critical things. One person can fall in love with an idea, and no one is there to point out its rough patches. One person can end up having to do a lot of information management with all of those stakeholders. One person can lose steam and not know where to turn.

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