Awesome People - Ep 61

UI/UX design, brand design, content, co-founder relationships

Hi founders and fellow VC Friends!

Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.

Please meet Jeff, Your Freelance Designer 🎨

I met Jeff through his wife, Ashley, who’s also on the awesome people list and does product marketing and brand positioning work. Jeff's trusted by Google, REQ, The Knot, Via, Amazon Publishing, PayPal, and more. His work has been featured in Billboard, Jezebel, and The New York Times. He once worked on a Google campaign featuring Lizzo!

You can hire him to be an extension of your design team when you need extra capacity. Think of him as the ‘Jeff of all trades’ designer who can work closely with your teams when you need an extra expert on hand. 

He can develop your visual identity, consult on UX/UI, and design anything from print assets to a new website.

Fun fact: Jeff illustrated and designed The ABC Digest, a children’s book collection bringing more flavor 🌶️ and representation to the ABCs (a collab with wifey Ashley). Their first book, Tasting Chinatown, will be out for limited pre-order soon: get on the list

Respond to this email if you need some design or branding help and I’ll intro you!

Jeff was gracious enough to share some pro-tips with us ✨

Tighten your story before working with a designer

Slim down on your content and resist the urge to share too much in one place. 

I get it: your product or service is awesome and you want to tell people everything about it.

But remember: less is more. Focus on your “main points.” Your readers have a short attention span. You have seconds to hook them. Widdle down your value prop to the key things people need to know.

Ask yourself:

  • Is your CTA (call-to-action) clear? What’s the goal of your design?

  • Will this content lead to a conversion? If the answer is no, remove it.

  • Does your content tie into a broader theme or story? If yes, can you bundle it with other proof points?

Concise language will lead to better, faster design work. I’ve wasted hundreds of hours mocking up pages that never get used because we find better ways to share the content.

Stripe is a great example of how less is more:

Good content makes the heart sing

Great visuals with mediocre copy are like flashy cars that don’t drive well. They’re nice to look at but leave folks disappointed. All roads lead back to good content — copy AND visuals in harmony.

People often focus solely on copy or solely on visuals. Then they ask the designer to create assets that match. Save yourself the headache and pair designers and copywriters together from the start. Collaborative teams produce better work.

Train yourself to imagine how visuals can amplify your story. Create a simple document with two columns — copy on one side and visual ideas on the other. This helps you get the most out of your designer. It’s like starting off with a jetpack versus having to clear the pavement to run on.

Here is an example of great content (copy working with powerful imagery) where design helps elevate the story:

Don’t underestimate the power of the (brief) brief

I know it’s easy to just “tell” a designer what you’re thinking. But it’s more powerful and effective to get your thoughts on paper.

Briefs help designers bring your ideas to life. Writing briefs can feel daunting and time-consuming, but they’re great investments. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Describe your company and what you do in a few sentences.

  • What are your main goals? 

  • Who is your target audience and what are their pains?

  • Who are your competitors? What do you like/dislike about their design style?

  • What’s a big misconception about your business?

  • What are you hoping to get out of a (website / app / campaign) design or redesign?

  • Who inspires you from a structural, technical, or design perspective, especially from outside your industry?

Documenting your goals will save you time, money, and help your designer tell a more compelling story. Use bullet points and screenshots — designers love visuals.

Want to chat with Jeff about a project? Respond to this email and I’ll connect you! 

As always, let me know if you have any questions and if you want an intro to any of the folks in this email (including the PS section 🎉).

Stay awesome,

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People Talent & Awesome People Ventures (join the syndicate)

If you liked this, ❤️ it below. If someone forwarded this to you, sign up here 💌

Perks and Products 🎁

Improve your co-founder relationship

Eric Friedman is one of the top fractional COOs and executive coaches. He’s trusted by brands like USV, Expa, and Foursquare. One of his specialties is co-founder relationships.

Eric just launched Tapestry, a product to drive more honesty, alignment, and resiliency in partnerships.

He kindly offered our community 50% off the Tapestry template and framework. Put in the relationship work now. It will pay off 10x in the future.

Use the code “awesomepeople” for 50% off your Tapestry template today 🙏

Improve your BI and data reporting process

When I ran revenue and growth teams, I used to spend hours analyzing data in Google Sheets and Excel. Every week I'd download fresh data from Stripe, Intercom, and a variety of sources — then I’d spend hours tying it all together. It was a huge pain in the ass.

Do you regularly download data from SQL databases, Airtable, Hubspot, Stripe or Intercom? Wish your data automatically synced to your spreadsheets in real-time? I got your back!

Email me and I'll set you up with a great product to help and a free 6-month trial ✨

Part-Time Opportunities 👀

Part-time Head of Comms for OfficeTogether OfficeTogether is here to make hybrid-remote work successful. We met via multiple trusted friends in the On Deck community. They are looking for a Head of Communications to drive leads, own social media, and create meaningful content. The team raised $2.2M from Defy VC, January Ventures, and former Sequoia partner Amy Sun. Jump on now, they’re ready to 🚀

Part-time Opportunity with X Genesis: X Genesis: Water & Climate is launching a 4-week program on March 15th to help entrepreneurs at the intersection of impact and ROI. They’re looking for prospective CEOs and operators who want to solve the greatest challenges facing the planet. You can read more about the program here and apply here.

If these roles are a fit for you, or anyone you know, let me know and we’ll make the connections!

Most Recent Awesome People 🙏

Michelle - Executive assistant queen. Michelle is the founder and CEO of Squared Away, a network of military spouses turned EAs. They already work with a few of my besties, including Cee Cee Shnugg (Boom Capital) and Chaz Flexman (Forward Foods, ex-a16z & ex-Pattern Brands).

Katy and Sarah - Design gurus. Katy and Sarah run a design firm focused on healthcare and wellness startups. They were recently featured on Adobe Live and were recommended to Awesome People by the CEO of Webflow. 

Rachel - Brand partnerships and campaigns consultant. She’s led campaigns at Uber, Cameo, and Graduate Hotels. Most recently, her work for Cameo drove an additional $200,000+ in GMV over Black Friday + Cyber Monday.

Want intros to anyone here? Lmk and I’ll connect you!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️