Why You Need a Product Designer for Your Startup

Robert Gourley freelance product design

Hiring Product designers are essential for startups because they can help you create products that are both user-friendly and visually appealing. They can also help you understand how users interact with your products, which can help you identify opportunities for improvement.

In your hunt for a product designer, you might consider harnessing the abilities of an experienced freelance professional.

Benefit 1: Flexibility and Agility

Hiring a freelance product designer for your startup offers unparalleled flexibility. Unlike traditional employment relationships, freelancers can be engaged on an as-needed basis, allowing your startup to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. This agility can be particularly useful during early stages of development when project requirements might evolve rapidly.

Freelancers often operate across different time zones, which can allow for a faster turnaround on urgent tasks. This on-demand accessibility combined with the ability to scale up or down depending on the project's needs allows startups to remain lean and agile, a key factor in their growth and survival.

Benefit 2: Access to a Diverse Skill Set

A freelance product designer brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from a variety of industries. They're accustomed to tackling diverse problems and can inject fresh, innovative perspectives into your product design process.In addition, freelancers have likely worked with multiple clients, gaining exposure to different design methodologies, tools, and techniques. This breadth of experience can provide your startup with unique insights and creative solutions that you might not get from an in-house team that’s been working in the same environment.

Benefit 3: Cost-Efficiency

One of the primary benefits of hiring a freelance product designer is cost-efficiency. Engaging a freelancer eliminates the need for a long-term commitment and associated costs like employee benefits, office space, and training.Instead, you're investing directly in the work you need to be done, with clear parameters set around costs from the outset. This can be a crucial advantage for startups operating on lean budgets, ensuring that you're only paying for what you need, when you need it, allowing for more efficient allocation of resources.

What to Look for When Hiring a Product Designer

When hiring a product designer for your startup, there are a few things you should look for:


A portfolio is essentially a designer's resume. It showcases their previous work, demonstrating their ability to creatively resolve complex issues. While reviewing a portfolio, pay attention to projects that resemble yours in scale and complexity. It's beneficial if the designer has tackled similar challenges and industries. This is where you get the first impression of their aesthetic sensibilities, technical skills, and problem-solving capabilities.

Case studies

Case studies serve as a window into a designer's mind. They demonstrate the designer's approach to problem-solving, their thought process, and how they execute projects from inception to completion. Well-articulated case studies provide a depth of understanding about the designer's process, showcasing their problem definition, research, ideation, prototyping, and final solution. They can reveal their strategic thinking ability, understanding of user needs, and their capacity to derive practical, user-centered solutions.

Communication skills

Communication is a pivotal aspect of a product designer's role. They need to articulate their design decisions and ideas to a wide range of audiences, including both technical teams (like developers) and non-technical stakeholders (like clients or marketing teams). They should be able to explain their ideas and designs in a clear, concise, and engaging manner. This ability will be beneficial for collaborative work, ensuring that all involved parties have a shared understanding of the project's objectives and proposed solutions. You can evaluate this skill during interviews or through reference checks.

Design process

Every product designer has their own unique process. Ask the designer to walk you through their process and explain how they approach problems.

Personality fit

Personality fit is a critical yet often overlooked aspect when hiring a freelance product designer. You're not just hiring for skills and experience; you're also hiring someone with whom you'll be communicating, collaborating, and sharing ideas regularly. A designer could be exceptionally skilled, but if your personalities clash or their communication style doesn't sync with yours, the working relationship can become strained and negatively impact the project.

This factor becomes even more crucial in the context of a freelance or remote working setup where clear, regular, and harmonious communication is key. The ideal designer will be someone who shares your passion for the project, understands your vision, and can constructively articulate their thoughts and ideas. They should be open, responsive, and respectful of your opinions, while also being confident and skilled enough to advise you on the best design practices.

How to Hire a Freelance Product Designer

Identifying and hiring a proficient freelance product designer necessitates a strategic approach. Begin by detailing your project requirements, including scope, budget, and desired expertise. This clarity will guide your search.

One excellent place to start is Google - just type in "freelance product designer" and sift through the results. Carefully review their websites, especially their portfolios, to get a sense of their design approach and if it aligns with your vision.

LinkedIn is another excellent resource. It not only gives you access to a vast pool of professionals but also allows you to view their experience, skills, and endorsements. Use filters to refine your search and locate candidates who meet your criteria.

Additionally, don't underestimate the power of referrals. Reach out to your professional network, ask for recommendations, and you might just find a highly qualified designer who's already been vetted by a trusted contact.

When you've found potential candidates, interview them to gauge their understanding of your needs, their problem-solving abilities, and their communication style. Ask for references or read testimonials to ensure they've successfully delivered on past projects. Remember, value often comes before cost - the goal is to find a designer who offers quality, aligns with your vision, and is genuinely interested in your project.

Product designers are an essential part of any startup team. They can help you create products that are user-friendly, visually appealing, and meet the needs of your users. If you're looking to hire a product designer for your startup, be sure to look for someone who has the skills, experience, and personality fit that you need.

Now that we've covered the basics of finding and hiring a great freelance product designer, you might be wondering - what's the next step? Well, let's talk about that. I'm a product designer with a knack for creative problem solving and a passion for user-friendly design. I've had the opportunity to work with big names like Apple, Salesforce, Microsoft, and Disney, so I know my way around complex projects. So, if you're thinking it's time to turn those ideas into a tangible product, feel free to reach out. Let's chat about how we can make your vision a reality.


years in the


design companies founded


filed patents for prototyping tools


Awards received for design work

Clients I've worked with

Throughout my career, I've been humbled to work with brands both large and small. I only take on project that I feel I can make and impact and help grow the business through smart design.


Let's chat

Feel free to reach out. Lets talk and see how I can help.

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