Three ways a good designer can learn from selling Girl Scout cookies

Girl Scout CookieIt’s that time of year again—the wonderful time when small uniformed girls* make their way around the neighborhood, ringing doorbells and holding out colorful glossy brochures. Before most of them can say, “Hello, would you like to buy some G—”, the pages are grabbed eagerly from their hands and the recipient yells back into the house, “Hey! How many boxes of Thin Mints** are we getting this year?” while scanning the page for this year’s cookie selection***.

So what lessons can designers learn from Trefoils, Samoas, and Tagalongs?

Lesson 1: Variety

There are many different kinds of cookies that appeal to different people’s tastes.

What does this have to do with design?
It’s a safe bet that a financial group will require a different design than for the healthcare industry, or a package design for a line of tropical drinks. Knowing the audience for each shows off our creative chops and increases their appetite for your work.

Lesson 2: Reputation

Girl Scout cookies sell themselves. It’s rare that a real pitch needs to be made, everyone knows them and looks forward to them.

What does this have to do with design?
A strong reputation as a good designer is invaluable. It means we’re more likely to garner more word-of-mouth recommendations. We want to be the go-to firm that our clients can always rely on for great design.

Lesson 3: Limited availability

Unless you know Girl Scouts around the country who are willing to ship to you, you have a window of about a month to order your cookies****, and then you must wait another month for the cookie orders to come in. That’s it for the year!

What does this have to do with design?
Don’t spread yourself too thin by overpromising. Not only is this exhausting, you will set yourself up for doing substandard work, and nobody wants that (see Lesson 2 above). Pace yourself, and don’t make promises you can’t deliver on.

* I have two scouts at my house this year. Email if you need a supplier.
** Thin Mints make up the majority of orders and are far and away the most popular cookie, making up 25% of cookie sales.
*** They’re sneaky – this year the GSofUSA put the Thin Mints all the way at the bottom of the form!
**** I’m not kidding, get your cookie orders in now.

Posted by Elena Nazzaro | Design | Comments 0 |
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