A little known fact about designers is that they are herd animals. Not only do they like the company of their kind, but they can benefit from working together in a number of ways.
Pairing designers and creating a micro-community within a project team can be a great way to avoid burn-out and increase motivation. There are a few things to consider when pairing designers, and several types of pairing combinations.
The symbiotic buddy
This is when you take a pair of designers and place them together based on the skill-sets you might need. For example, you might have a great visual/graphic designer on the team, but lack interaction and prototyping skills. Pairing designers with these complementary skills can create a formidable design force.
The research geek and the visionary
Some designers geek out over empirical evidence-based designs. Others prefer to be left alone to develop their ideas. Pairing this unlikely chalk-and-cheese duo can be really helpful to them both, and will help them grow as designers, learning to empathise with the other’s way of working.
The introvert and the extrovert
This might seem like a risk. At times their personalities will clash, but all-in-all it’s a pretty healthy combo. Extroverts often have an amazing way of maintaining energy levels with stakeholders, who can require regular updates from design. Introverts, on the other hand, may suffer burnt-out from anything akin to micro-management and shy away from stakeholder or team engagement. In this scenario the extrovert provides an effective flak-shield or translation service between the designer, who just wants to get on with their work, and other humans.
The junior and the vet’. The knight and the padawan
Every Luke Skywalker needs a Yoda. Pairing a rookie designer with a more long-in-the-tooth team member accelerates the ‘bedding-in’ time between somebody starting, and becoming a designer you can confidently send into a project alone.
I hope this is useful. The above pairs don’t always work perfectly, and there are many types of pairs I haven’t covered. A flexible approach is best, as much of it will come down to individuals, the project and availability. But in short, designing in pairs can deliver greater results than having two designers work independently.