The Lean Design Approach

Design your Company to Succeed

Get it right the first time. Create with the end in mind.

Make the most of your marketing by presenting a strong, defined brand.

From the time Plot Creative Studio set out to help B2B SaaS companies scale their products and marketing, we noticed that one thing kept them from growth: an under-developed or undefined brand. 

Symptoms of an undefined brand: 

  • Constant pivots or changing goals
  • Confusing messaging
  • Last minute scrambling to create marketing materials
  • Poor user experiences
  • Disappointing ROI

For all the time, money, and dedication spent on marketing initiatives, they struggled to convey their value.

  • Their marketing strategy flexed just to follow trends
  • Their content wasn’t cohesive
  • Their websites and pitches missed the mark
  • They kept starting over from scratch
  • They kept changing pieces of their collateral, seemingly at random

A company’s marketing struggles aren’t usually a result of faulty color palettes or not enough images in their website headers—yet this is where teams often get hung up in endless iterations. Companies are in trouble the moment they decide to market themselves without first defining what they stand for. If they don’t dedicate creative thought or resources to support their beliefs, they lack the ability to build a strong brand that could attract more customers. Without this foundation and supportive leadership, no marketer or graphic designer could make a lasting difference.

Plot Creative took these companies, startups and entrepreneurs back to their foundation—their brand promise—to help them get back on track so they could create a lasting impact. 

Lean Design for Startups is the product of all our resources, experiences and lessons learned, made accessible for young companies to set themselves up for success right away.

Lean Design for Startups provides a simple, step-by-step process to help young companies get started on the right foot, in less time and for less money. 

  • Discover your brand’s unique qualities 
  • Gain insight into how to maintain a stickier presence in the market
  • Build more with less waste
  • Convey your value
  • Present a cohesive visual identity

When you complete Lean Design for Startup’s self-guided process, you will focus your attention on answering the tough questions, like how to convey value and target users.

Building a brand is an ongoing task that’s never really “done.” That’s why our tools are designed to anchor your brand so you won’t miss out on new opportunities. 

As you respond to changing markets or build new offerings, you’ll still be able to convey your value easily, with on-demand templates and guides that are professionally designed to fit together.

You’ll spend less time thinking about how to translate your value into marketing content, and more time doing what you enjoy: growing your business.

Discover what’s missing from your message.

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Why use Lean Design for Startups

Lean Design for Startups exists to simplify the workload for young companies by making marketing, design, and brand strategy more accessible, affordable and effective.

The tools, templates and resources were developed from years of testing in the real world, and hundreds of hours of research and tedious analysis. They will help you shave off the thousands of dollars and months of experimentation that often weigh down entrepreneurs, preventing them from reaching their goals. The Lean Design for Startups process will prompt you to think about the things you don’t know to ask about—like how should your brand influence product development?

The Lean Design template collection will continue to evolve, with the goal of helping you preserve the precious resources of time, money, energy and relationships that it often takes to build an operational business.

Whether you’re building a company out of passion, curiosity, adventure or necessity, create with the end in mind. That is how you can design your company to enhance your life and those around you. 

Who’s Behind Lean Design for Startups?

Lean Design for Startups was developed by Kari Kay, the Founder and Creative Director of Plot Creative Studio based in Seattle, WA, to help more entrepreneurs bring their vision to life.

Since 2006, she has developed creative strategies for startups, scaling companies, mid-size corporations, non-profit organizations, and Fortune 100s. Companies rely on Kari’s keen insights, strategic questions, and confident directives to define and refine their brand strategy and product design. A systems thinker who is passionate about efficiency and creativity, Kari brings design principles to businesses to help them pinpoint their value and focus their energy on what matters most. 

Kari developed Lean Design for Startups because she wanted more entrepreneurs to realize their dreams without burning out in the process. She studied business successes—and failures—to see what worked and why. Along the way, she collected thousands of examples of creative brand experiences and user flows to support customer-centric values. The Lean Design for Startups’ templates, brand guidelines, design sample libraries and how-to manuals are the result of more than a decade of Kari’s research and real-world application.