I am in need of some measurable goals, they have to be measurable by an amount or number. I am a web and graphic designer in a marketing department and I am the only designer. Need to come up with SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely).

It is up to me to come up with these goals, but I have a hard time coming up with measurable goals in my job. I did see in a similar thread, that a possible goal could be to reduce # of typos in first drafts by 10%. I did think this was good, but all the text is always supplied to me and it has already been proofed, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Does anybody have any other possibilities for measurable goals and can be measured by a number???

I'm in charge of designing and developing our main web site, creating email templates, increasing social engagement and visitors, building web graphics, trade show collateral, product data sheets, webinar graphics, etc

Thanks so much!!

  • Could you elaborate a little on what you do? I am also the sole marketing / designer for the company I work for (as well as my last company) so I can definitely offer you ideas if I knew a bit about what you do.
    – Ryan
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:49
  • 1
    This is more of a workplace.se question--not really graphic design.
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:49
  • 1
    Also, SMART goals are often complete BS. My advice is to come up with broad things like "will take continuing education courses, will attend a conference, will collaborate on internal process improvement committees, etc."
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


I believe that this question would be better asked over at workplace.se, as the SMART process is much more about HR than anything else.

I'm not a fan of SMART. Where I've seen it implemented, it tends to hinder, rather than contribute to quality work product.

At the end of the day, your SMART goals are there to help measure you as an employee. As such, you want your goals to be measured against something you have complete control over. Alas, when it comes to design, there are so many other factors involved.

Example SMART goals you could create:

1) redesign website to make improvements and increase monthly site traffic by 5%

2) Attend a local conference on web design for continuing education.

Goal 1 sounds great, and seems easily measurable. However, this is not a task that you have complete control over. Often with a site redesign you are at the mercy of:

  • those in power with strong opinions that forces you to make design changes
  • those developing the site that may or may not be able to deliver an experience that matches your desired design
  • your IT infrastructure (servers, bandwidth, etc) that is set up to deliver your experience
  • marketing of the site, promotion of the site, etc.

For example, something as simple as a URL typo on a magazine ad may blow your 5% goal away.

As such, I suggest not making SMART goals tied to the success of the product itself. Instead, stick with goals like #2. It's completely measurable (did you or did you not attend the conference) and isn't at the mercy of other people. It's entirely within your control.


Preface: I do it sounds like the exact same work as you, but don't follow any sort of "SMART" protocol. My boss is also very understanding that some endeavors will work and some won't, if anything he is more inclined to take risks on some marketing ideas than I am.

I'm in charge of designing and developing our main web site, creating email templates, increasing social engagement and visitors, building web graphics, trade show collateral, product data sheets, webinar graphics, etc

Social Engagement and Visitors

Well this is easy enough. Did you see an increase in Likes, Visitors, etc? Did changing the design result in longer visits? If you have a "Goal" did the change see an increase in users reaching that goal? A lot of times websites will talk about setting Goals only around Checkout but as an example we only sell to Dealers. The ultimate Goal of our website is an End User sees it, uses our Dealer Locator, and then clicks through to the Dealer's website. That's our Goal. Design for that.

Product Data Sheets and Trade Show Collateral

How is it received by your target market? Being Data Sheets it sounds B2B, does your company have any long time loyal clients? Talk to them about it. What parts of the design do they like, what do they find confusing, what do they struggle with, etc. For example we sell items in 56 different color combinations and had a very confusing color matrix that my boss was originally adamant about. After talking to Dealers though none of them were using it because they, like me, found it very busy and confusing. On our new catalog I removed it entirely and instead show a small sample of actual products in different colors fanned out.

As far as making something like this measurable it is much more tricky. First you have to have historic data which you may not have. But let's say you do --- you can look at how many catalogs did you give out? How many leads did you generate? Or how many actual sales came through? Or all 3 even. Part of this depends on product and lifecycle. For us if we go to a show and gave out 30 catalogs last year, and go again the next year with a more targeted catalog and end up giving away 100 then that's a very real success. It's one we're currently experiencing as I continue to create different marketing materials depending on the audience it'll be given too.

Website Graphics and Webinars

This can get a bit tricky as well (really all of this is). We don't create webinars here but we do have a technical product that requires some advanced knowledge. One thing we look at is a Content Drilldown to see where visitors are spending their time, then I talk to my coworkers that generally field calls and see what people are asking about. As an example we have a "Sticker" page that talks about the Stickers construction and benefits. But it was receiving a disproportionately short time on page compared to other parts of our website. Talking to coworkers I found they're calling in and asking some key questions - how to order more stickers and how to customize the stickers just as an example. So I created new graphics, new copy, and laid the page out in a way that "How to order" was very prominent. Time on page increased, calls asking about it decreased.

While we don't do webinars I do develop videos for us. One of the most successful things is when a dealer calls to say how much he likes the video and used it in a presentation with a client to sell our product. Another time a Dealer gave the video to a client, the client put it on their facebook page and we saw our largest ever traffic spike. That video is clearly successful in delivering the message it was intended to. (It's about our product's security)

More Specifics

As far as specifics related to SMART goes I don't think I can answer that. For one thing Product Lifecycle will be key. Our product has a 10 year lifecycle generally. We don't go to tradeshows expecting to sell much. We just want them to know about us so when they do upgrade their system we'll be something they consider. So a realistic goal for us might be if we spend $10,000 on marketing to Universities (trade publications and conferences) that we see an increase in calls and/or quotes related to Universities over the next 3 years. I'm not even saying sales just calls/quotes. That tells me our marketing during that time period to the University industry was working. But this is just a very rough example and yours will be completely different.

Hope some of this helps you.

  • 1
    This is just my opinion, but I'm very wary about trying to tie SMART objectives into my deliverables for a number of reasons. One is measurability--often the business isn't set up to measure them. But more importantly, often it's not just my deliverable, alone, that is responsible for success. For instance, I may have built the best web site ever, but the server admin can't keep the server running. I don't want my SMART goals tied to other's in the org that I have no control over. That's why I advocate to make the goals personal and somewhat 'soft'. Training, collaboration, etc.
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 18:31
  • As an example of how inane SMART goals can be, I worked at a company once where the UI team had the goal of producing fewer defects per release, and the QA team had a goal of finding more defects per release. Neither of these goals are actually any indication that business objectives are being met or that the software is improving. They're measurable, but completely arbitrary and open to easy manipulation internally. At the end of the day, they just made things MORE inefficient due to all the extra defect logging that could instead have been handled via a quick IM or call instead.
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 18:32
  • @DA01 yeah I agree with that, as I said I've never actually used SMART before. Is one particular suggestion I gave something you consider bad? How would you do it differently?
    – Ryan
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 18:33
  • For anyone that has watched The Wire (and if you haven't shame on you...go watch it. Now!) I equate SMART goals with 'Juking the Stats': youtube.com/watch?v=_ogxZxu6cjM They are not something that typically improves the product in any meaningful way. Instead, they're merely a way of manipulating numbers to make someone's boss look good.
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 18:34
  • I wouldn't say any of your suggestions are bad. Rather, SMART is bad in general outside of a factory floor, perhaps. SMART is more of a game employees often have to play in large organizations. Treat it as a game. What are the best answers you can come up with that don't actually interfere with you getting real work done and don't sabotage yourself due to outside sources. Thinking like a politician. Make promises that don't really have much weight to them. :)
    – DA01
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 18:45

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