Designers suffer from title fatigue. They don’t know what to call themselves and they don’t know which roles to apply for. The ecosystem of skillsets and toolchains have never been larger 😱😱😱

I’ve had this conversation with designers and developers at a wide range of experience levels. We’re all on the spectrum, we just don’t know where we fall.

I recently spoke with a recruiter from Google for the SF and NY offices. Here’s what I learned. There is a Design Title Spectrum, and this is a rough guide:

I’ve written previously about the recent merging of design and development. The timeline goes like this:

  • 2016: AirBnb/Jon Gold’s React-Sketchapp allows you to render React Native components to a Sketch artboard.
  • 2017: Webflow allows you to build web pages visually (with some slick CSS/JS effect functionality) and output code for publishing.
  • 2017: Brainly/Konrad Dzwinel’s Html-Sketchapp allows you to render any HTML element to a Sketch artboard.
  • 2017: Seek/Mark Dalgleish’s Html-Sketchapp-cli. Wraps up Brainly’s process into a single terminal command.
  • 2018: Google debuts a suite of tools to deliver tight mapping of Material Design UX assets to Material Design code assets…

At I/O 2018, Google unleashed a wave of new Material Design tools, components and documentation. But one thing is missing from the ecosystem: Sketch artboards with grids, columns, margins and gutters configured for each screen size. Here is the missing Sketch file, built to Google’s new MD specs 🎨🛠.

Material Design is now infinitely customizable by color, size, shape and typography. Material Design Theme Editor will generate your components for you. will assist your Material Design handoff to your development team.

But nowhere can you find Material Design artboards that reflect the new 2018 grids, columns, margins and gutters for each of MD’s three primary responsive screen sizes:

Combine create-react-app, Google-approved Material Design library rmwc, html-sketchapp and html-sketchapp-cli to render Material Design components to Sketch.

In 2018, design is hurtling forward. Design and code are merging. There are two major bellwethers of this trend:

  1. AirBnb’s innovative React-sketchapp, spearheaded by Jon Gold, landed in 2017. React-sketchapp renders React components to Sketch using Sketch’s API. Ushering in a paradigm in which the design “source of truth” resides in code. The code can be exported to Sketch as a designer’s starting point, and serve as a visual archive.
  2. Google’s new Material Design tooling, introduced this month at I/O, which builds a different kind of bridge between designer and developer. The bridge has two pillars: Material Theme Editor, a Sketch plugin…

The quest to be the AR Lens To Rule Them All

Augmented reality is the vital technology for overlaying dog ears and sunglasses on top of your selfies. But Google, Apple and Facebook are now locked in battle to be your future AR lens for retail stores, product reviews and branded experiences.

Forrester Research suggests that brands should “shift their billions from ad interruptions to branded relationships.”

Forrester Research just released a report called “The End Of Advertising As We Know It.” It makes a strong case against programmatic ad units, and suggests that brands should “shift their billions from ad interruptions to branded relationships.”

Basically, the problem with programmatic ads are that people don’t like them, people aren’t engaging with them, and people actively avoid them:

Domino’s understands that modern brands are built with a sequence of innovative and useful customer experiences.

I’d argue that Domino’s understands the future of marketing better than it understands making pizza. Modern brands are built not with ad units, but with a sequence of innovative and useful customer experiences.

Here’s a brief timeline of the tech-enabled experiences Domino’s has recently offered:

2015: Pizza Emoji Ordering. Order a pizza by texting the pizza emoji to Domino’s.

2015: DXP Delivery Vehicle. With integrated warming oven, 80-pizza capacity and a light which projects their logo on the street.

2016: Pizza Drones. Domino’s begins…

Creative technology boutique Superbright in Brooklyn, NY

One of the most important reasons I co-founded Alphachannel was to shine a light on the best partners you would never find yourself. The fragmentation of the media landscape has created a long tail of boutique specialists, and we help our clients discover the gems in this new ecosystem.

SUPERBRIGHT is a Brooklyn-based studio which prides itself as much on its internal experiments as its client projects. Their self-described mission is “to apply a non-disciplinary approach to foster scenarios where technology can be both practical and thought-provoking.”

The GIF above is from their…

Reading is hard. It makes your brain hurt. And mobile text is too small to read, even with Retina Display. That’s why publishers are creating short, well-produced, daily audio news roundups.

April 12, 10:22 AM: Burger King debuted a new TV commercial in which the on-camera actor asks, “Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Which triggered thousands of Google Home living room units to answer the question.

April 12, 2:45 PM: Google globally disabled the voice trigger across all Google Home units.

Google was not involved in the Burger King concept, and it’s safe to assume they deemed it too intrusive to allow. But in terms of PR, the BK-Google battle is probably a win for everyone. Burger King gets credit for a marketing prank, and Google gets to be the hero who stops it.

Let Alphachannel’s Partner Network propose ideas for Google Home and Amazon Alexa experiences. Learn more here.

Aaron Adler

UI Engineer / UX designer / Front-end developer / JavaScript / React / Ethereum. NYC.

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