Talking Point: How to get on design teams

If you have been doing this artistic thing online for a while, chances are that you have thought about being on design teams. Perhaps it's about self-actualization - to see how far you can go with what started off as a hobby. Perhaps it's to score the "free" stuff when you design for a manufacturer. 

But if you have applied for design teams, you would also know that a 100% success rate is unheard of...*LOL* I've asked some of my bloggy friends Laurel SeabrookJulie Tucker-WolekAmy Tsuruta and Lizzy Hill for their tips on getting on design teams. Hope they can help you... and me! *winks*

1. Use their products.

Nothing beats seeing the product in action. If you can't get hold of their products, use similar products in your projects when applying for the team. [I have gotten on some design teams without using any of their products - Purple Pumpkin, Zeus and Zoe, Gauche Alchemy, Blue Fern Studios, Faber Castell. ]

"Create different types of projects (cards, layouts, altered art) so that they see how well you can use their products." Laurel Seabrook                                                                        
2. Apply to companies whose products you are passionate about.

Applying for a design team is very much like applying for any job. You need to know about the company and like the product that you are going to help sell with your designs.

"When I started out applying to design teams I applied for anything that was posted.  Personally, I've learned through the years that you're better off to apply to companies/blog DT calls that you're passionate about.  That passion will show in your projects. " Amy Tsuruta
"I always apply for teams that I believe in....whether that is in their ethos, or their products. I feel really strongly that having an affinity in this way strengthens your chances. And if you DO make it, you know you'll feel comfortable in that role. " Lizzy Hill                                                                                                           
3. Get spotted by being involved.

Help yourself get "discovered" by playing along with the challenges and participating in social media.

"If you are going for a manufacturer design team, then follow their blog, follow their Facebook page.  But don't just follow them, comment on their blogs and 'like' and comment on their Facebook posts! :) They will get to know your name and that is a good thing when you go out for their team! :)" Julie Tucker-Wolek
"Share your projects using their products with them via facebook, instagram, however you can." Laurel Seabrook 
"I think being an active blogger who both posts & comments regularly helps a lot too. Many teams are product or challenge based, so it's important to understand that you are actually helping that product or site to become better known. Being 'visible' is a huge draw card for getting on teams. " Lizzy Hill                                                                                                              
4. Play to your strengths.

As you know, I don't fit into the standard mould of a mainstream designer...I'm happiest doing what I enjoy rather than being pigeon-holed into doing what's popular. Not doing what everybody else is doing makes it easier to stand out because there's less "competition" in that space. 

"It's about having the skills that a particular DT is looking for - so make sure you highlight your scrappy strengths when applying - or apply for teams that look like they would suit your scrapping strengths!" Lizzy Hill
5. Don't give up.

Rejection comes with the territory. Don't take it too personally. You can always try again.

"... those of us that have tried out for design teams know how hard it is! It can be nerve-wrecking, stressful and totally depressing if you don't make a team! And all of us that have tried out for teams, have been rejected.  No doubt about it! Rejection has come to all of us!" Julie Tucker-Wolek
"I'm not gonna's not easy to get on teams. You need persistence & perseverance - and of course, you've gotta give LOTS of them a shot. And you will get knock backs. I'm never disappointed if I get that 'Thanks but no thanks' email. There's ALWAYS another opportunity around the corner....& you've gotta be in it to win it!" Lizzy Hill                                                                                    
Have you tried applying for design teams? What other tips do you have? Please share in the comments.


Julie Tucker-Wolek currently designs for Artful Delight and LESSology.
Laurel Seabrook currently designs for Pebbles, My Mind's Eye, Jillibean Soup, SRM Stickers and Unity Stamp Co.


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Lisa said...

Awesome post and they are all great tips!! Thanks for sharing!!

A Mermaid's Crafts

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Awesome tips!!!!

Sindhu said...

Thanks so much for the awesome tips!:)

Annette Allen said...

thanks for the tips.. :)

Lynnda said...

Great tips!... Thanks Ladies...

Great post Yvonne!...

Personally for me... At the moment- I'm too afraid to commit!.. So I passed lots of opportunities...[but inside me I'm dying to apply to be part of the team!!!] No win situation here! But then again I also think I gave up easily... Oh well... as long as I enjoy and have great passion for crafty stuffs!


Cindy deRosier said...

Excellent tips! I'd add "Be realistic about your weaknesses." Definitely play to your strengths, but know your weaknesses and/or areas for improvement too.

~amy~ said...

Great post Yvonne!

Julie E said...


Katy said...

This is a great post! Thank you! :)

Rose said...

great tips ladies :)

i love challenges and sketches for design teams, so i found it is best to play along on a regular basis before trying out for a challenge design team.

Sarah said...

Awesome post!! There's some awesome tips here!

yyam said...

I have seen you win challenges based on merit Lynnda and that is proof that you do awesome work! Go try out!

yyam said...

Great point Cindy! It's hard to "fake" a skill you don't have.

yyam said...

That was how I got on card sketch teams too! :)

Reusing with Quilling said...

SO many different thoughts on applying/being on design team..!!I never looked it this way .thanks for this thoughtful post ladies !

Lizzy Hill said...

Thanks for having me take part in this post, Yvonne... Hope it helps someone somewhere down the line:):))

dstandard said...

Great tips - thanks for posting!

Sylvia Blum said...

Very interesting post and awesome tips :-)
I want to add something, I personally think is very important: Be yourself, when applying!!!
Don't try to do what you *think* the DT coordinator is looking for, but just be authentic!

Radhika said...

Thanks for the tips ..fab post Yvonne :)

sandi said...

Wonderful tips! Good to share this with all!

Hussena said...

All wonderful insights and tips ..This post has to be bookmarked for sure !! I never have the confidence to apply for International teams. This post has given me a new perspective about it ..Thank you so much Ladies for sharing this with us :)

yyam said...

Yes I agree with you Sylvia. :)

Charlene said...

I think you really have to have a passion for whatever company your interested in. It's hard to design for a product that you don't care for! Also, before you apply, you need to think about the time involved and make sure you have that free time to commit to the dealines from the manufacturer. I agree with the other girls, they gave some great tips!

Colleen Dietrich said...

What a great, informative post, Yvonne. Lots of great advice here. :)

Kirsty Vittetoe said...

Haha.. I always have the thought but never have the action, this tips is so helpful, now I just need to kick myself to go do it, LOL!

Jennifer Grace said...

These are cool tips to read. I have tried out for lots and lots of teams, and only made it onto a couple, my mantra is 'just keep trying, just keep trying'!

I have shared this on the DT Calls Facebook page, I hope that's okay. x

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Thanks for visiting my blog and taking time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it. Have an awesome day!:)

Cheers, Yvonne.

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