NEW Strategist/Design Researcher

Long time reader, first time contributor.

I’m a recent graduate from the New School in New York. I studied an interdisciplinary degree labeled “Liberal Studies”, but I had a focus in Social Sciences. I spent four years prior to that, studying Marketing at a State School in Texas. So my background primarily consists of Marketing and Social Sciences. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my studies whilst I was taking them, but I’ve recently discovered Strategy and Design Research and think those are a pretty good fit for my background (although I realize it will take a sell). I’m an academic of sorts, but more than that a creative, and big picture sort of thinker, and I want to see that materialized. Anyway, I’ve gotten a Resume together over the summer and a website and have been writing bits of cover letters (although I learned a lot more from reading some past posts on here about cover letter importance and contact) for practice thought materialization.

Things I’m looking for:

  1. I have an interview with a company called Lextant this week and I’d appreciate any advice on that. I tend to choke during interviews and clinch up.
  2. I’d appreciate any tips or leads or thoughts about Strategy and Research (particularly in the Design/Creative world) and additional resources towards positions.
  3. This might be a stretch, but I live in Austin and would really prefer to stay here, at least for awhile.


frog’s in Austin. Lucky you! If things dont work out without a design degree, try going to Jon Kolko’s Austin Center for Design (I think that’s what it’s called).

There’s tons of interview advice and discussion on strategy, just do a quick search!

But quickly, for interviews:
do your research on the company, their culture, what they do.
think of questions to ask beforehand that’ll trigger good conversations.
dress good-ish?


Thanks for the advice. It’s a phone interview so it’s a little less formal I guess, and only a first step. I would love to be at Frog, but not sure they focus on strategy so much here in Austin (my recent ex is an interactive designer there). I know Jon as an acquaintance and have a friend that works at that school. It’s something that has crossed my mind I guess.

I was just at Lextant last week for a usability talk they had. I talked to a bunch of people there and they seem like a pretty cool design research company to work for.

Hi There:

I probed the question: What is the role of a design strategist in a design consultancy. This was the response I got. Hope you find it useful. I thought there was some great stuff here in how he has broken it down.

Design strategists do quite a bit on projects depending on their skill sets. Inevitably at a design consultancy, multiple people will have different overlapping skill sets so the responsibilities of any individual role become blurry.

In my past design strategist experience, here are some of the activities I’ve had to do:

Pre Project
Help design the project
Set up research activities
Articulate the desired project outcomes

Early Project
Help the project team frame the problems being solved
Define project success criteria
Complete stakeholder interviews
Help clients state the project vision
Choose or develop conceptual models or frameworks that direct the solution.

Design Research
Design or participate in the research (depending on skills)
Help researchers synthesize the findings
Frame the insights of user research insights (personas, archetypes, customer journey maps, mental models, touchpoint analysis, etc.)

Design, facilitate, participate in client workshops
Design, facilitate, participate in internal workshops

Come up with killer ideas
Make sure business strategy is represented in the solution
Make sure the final solution is in line with project briefings
Develop prioritization frameworks
Evaluate costs and benefits

Creative Direction
Make sure business strategy is represented in the solution
Make sure end solution meets customer needs
Review all final creative
Help present final direction

I’m sure the next person to answer this question will have 100 other activities. Long story short, they do a LOT.