How to Measure the Unmeasurable to Write Creative Achievement Statements for Design Resumes & Case Studies
The field of graphic design has a strong impact on businesses. In the oft-cited study “Impact of Color in Marketing,” researchers discovered that a product’s color weighted about 90% in a viewer’s purchasing decision. Designers can not only enhance a product through its color but indirectly impact sales as well. Another study completed in 2007 in the UK, The Value of Design Factfinder, determined that for every ₤1 invested in design, businesses can expect ₤20 back in revenue. Over 75% businesses surveyed believed that their design even gives them a competitive edge.
Businesses are growing more confident in the economic value of design, and designers, despite our maturing industry, are still in demand. Tech Crunch reports several big names, like IBM, Dropbox, and Uber, are hiring more designers in comparison to other staff developers. This makes a great scenario for designer coders like John Maeda talked about at AIGA DC, who possess a skill set that is both increasingly rare and increasingly in demand.
It’s time for designers to take advantage of our callings and answer their call. Results-oriented accomplishments dominate resumes these days. Citing numbers and specifics provide hiring managers more insight into how a candidate executes creative tasks and performs his or her job. However, many designers don’t have access to analytics or sales figures.
How does a designer quantify creative successes? How does one measure the unmeasurable?
To make it easy, I’ve answered that question and prepared a list of ways to quantify creative accomplishments for to furnish resume bullets, success stories, and case studies–both measurable and unmeasurable.
- Boosted site traffic
- Increased conversions
- Expanded length of stay
- Increased opens
- Increased click-throughs
- Raised user satisfaction
- Increased client sales
- Saw record-breaking sales
- How fast something sold-out
Analytics and other digital marketing metrics are useful for measuring success on web design projects and writing achievement statements. For instance: websites, emails, and mobile apps. Additionally, sales can apply to an even wider range of design projects. However, these kinds of metrics, unfortunately, aren’t available to the average designer. It’s better to avoid guessing. So if the information is lacking here, choose from the other achievement statements below.
Nature of the Work
- On-boarded a new system
- Expanded cross-media support
- Expanded existing projects
- Increased frequency of existing projects
These measures describe changes a designer may notice in his or her workflow. Any implementation of a new system and program is noteworthy for an achievement statement. For example, new systems might include the latest logo and rebrand; the styled master pages of a magazine document; the launch of a new responsive email template; a switch to a content management system; or even the adoption of productivity software like a font manager. Additionally, new systems can be new to the designer or to client, depending on where leverage is best. Furthermore, consider listing what cross-media and/or cross-platform designs were used, and any existing projects that have occurred as the client grows and invests more in design.
- Reduced costs
- Reduced time spent
- Increased ease of use
- Find information faster
- Share information more easily
- Increased morale
- Increased accessibility
- Increase in number of platforms/media channels
- Increased scope, reached more people
- Accommodated physical and cognitive impediments
- Switching to a better supported design format or web development language
- Improved scalability, i.e. “future-proofing”
- Reduced maintenance
- Decreased materials and waste
- Reduced complaints, error messages
- Improved data accuracy
- Prevented errors
- Minimized risks
Efficiency improvements also encompasses many, many ways to measure the success of a design. Therefore, efficiency improvements make great achievement statements. For example, efficiency improvements can be tangible, like cost and time savings. Similarly, they can be intangible, like improved client/coworker morale. Overall, this is an excellent opportunity to evaluate any “above and beyond” moments a designer initiated to improve something in the workflow and customer experience.
- Size of team led
- Exceeded deadlines
- Completed under budget
- Landed new clients
- Operated a bigger budget
- Designed for more prestigious clients
- Designed for larger memberships
- Won over a difficult client
Clients are another great source of feedback and inspiration for achievement statements. Additionally, growing skills creative expertise as well as in time and project management are usually associated with bigger budgets and larger clients. Also, note your overcoming of any difficult clients. Winning over a neutral or perhaps even hostile audience demonstrates great communication, emotional intelligence, and understanding of the client’s needs. They make some of the best success stories and creative achievement statements perfect for a designer’s resume, cover letter, and case studies.
Word of Mouth
- Increase in referrals
- Increase of social media mentions
- Customer testimonials
- Public accolades, awards, and recognition
- Performance evaluations
- Attractive presentation, which in turn may reduce review time required, reduce misunderstandings, and improve information accuracy
- Improved company image
- Improved functionality
- Increased aesthetic appeal to target audience
- Removed unsightly distractions
- Greater customization options
- Greater consistency/standardization
- Staying more up-to-date
Although graphic and web design can be a difficult job to quantify, there are plenty of meanings of success. Designers have many ways to write creative achievement statements.
Most importantly, consider hard metrics and the soft metrics like these. Both tangible and intangible, measurable and perhaps unmeasurable, achievement statements can best portray the value of design and quantify your creative accomplishments.
Brainstorm success stories and incorporate your answers into your results-oriented resume, client pitches, and other achievement statements. Happy writing, and feel free with other designers that may this guide useful!