The Lean Design Approach

Great Companies are Designed to Succeed

Build for sustainable impact—create with the end in mind.

Fight the temptation to simply build.

Entrepreneurs are some of the most creative visionaries and driven problem-solvers. But we tend to face three big dilemmas when we try to scale our businesses: 

  1. We love to build and experiment
  2. We don’t really like to promote ourselves
  3. We struggle to prioritize our ideas

Making stuff is fun, but the real reward comes from sharing what we make. No matter how perfect our creation, it won’t automatically attract people who are willing to fund our evolving concepts. Even marketing and SEO tactics aren’t enough to sustain a business.

To survive, you need the right amount of attention. To withstand competition, you need a more sustainable way to build something people want. To flourish, your company must embody an ideal that people remember and are willing to pay for.

Love your work and your life.

After 15 years working on creative strategies for startups, scaling companies, mid-size corporations, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 100s, I’ve seen how much time and energy are often wasted due to a lack of focus.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from working on hundreds of brands, marketing campaigns and product launches, it’s that process is everything.

If there’s two things I’ve learned, it’s that companies that don’t invest in defining their brand will struggle to execute ideas and advance their company because they don’t know what ideas to prioritize. They will bleed resources, run around in circles and drain morale. This way of working is not sustainable. It’s painful because it steals away from your personal life, not just your working life.

Use your brand as a guiding light, not a sales tactic.

No matter what size company you operate, or how nimble your process, investing in your brand strategy can improve your efficiency and operating costs.

Defining a brand goes beyond simply designing a logo or parading a slogan around to entice buyers. Defining your brand sets the tone for the way you build your company—from the people you hire, to the products you create, and the ways you choose to relate to customers and grow your company.

Defining your brand leads to incredible clarity that allows you to not only bring your vision to life, but to do so in way that can bring life in return.

Why use Lean Design for Startups?

I created Lean Design for Startups to simplify the workload for business owners by making marketing, design, and brand strategy more accessible, affordable and effective.

The tools, templates and resources I provide were developed from years of testing in the real world, and hundreds of hours of research and tedious analysis. I wanted to shave off the thousands of dollars and months of extraneous experimentation that often weighs down entrepreneurs from reaching their goals.

My collection is continuously evolving, but maintains the goal of preserving the precious resources of time, money, energy and relationships that it often takes to build an operational business without slowing ambition.

My hope is to help you learn to design your company to enhance your life and those around you, and not simply build a company that exists. Whether you’re building a company out of passion, curiosity, adventure or necessity, create with the end in mind.


Who’s Behind Lean Design for Startups?

I’m Kari Kay, Founder and Creative Director of Plot Creative Studio based in Seattle. I found my dream job as a graphic designer and brand strategist in 2006. After launching my own company in 2010, I moved to the West Coast to get closer to the tech industry and support ambitious teams looking to make a positive impact in the world.