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Over the past year, Clearleft has had the pleasure of working extensively with EngineeringUK, whose ambition it is to grow the number and diversity of tomorrow’s engineers by informing and inspiring young people.

Last week EngineeringUK launched a brand new platform called Neon which, put simply, helps teachers get kids of all backgrounds interested in engineering as a career by giving them a taste for what it’s like to be an engineer.

Clearleft created the Neon brand, and designed and developed a beautiful engaging website in collaboration with our friends at Umbrella. I’m really proud of the work the team did, and I’m particular pleased for us to be involved because of what Neon is trying to achieve and how it’s going about it.


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Our special ‘Fifteen’ Beerleft brew, as sent round to the team (soft drinks were also available)

2020 marks Clearleft’s fifteenth birthday. A milestone like this is cause for celebration, and celebrate we must especially amid what is a desperate year for many. This week in particular is momentous, especially for those of us who have been on the journey since the very beginning.

Early in 2005 Andy, Jeremy and I decided to take the plunge and start our own company. We announced our plans for Clearleft in March at South by Southwest and incorporated the company in May. But this week back in September 2005 is when it all began in earnest — we’d quit our full time jobs and started working together for our first clients.


Earlier in the year Clearleft asked 400 designers from around the world about how design functions within their organisations. We uncovered some fascinating insights around the effectiveness and implementation of design which we’ll be publishing soon. Here we reveal how research is a vital contributing factor to design being successful.

One of the pivotal opinions we gauged was whether designers thought design within their organisation “has contributed to an increase in sales, competitiveness, and/or brand loyalty”. In other words, is design having an impact on the end goals of their organisation?

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We found that 69% of designers agreed that design has had a positive impact towards the success of their organisation. Only 7% felt that design was not having an impact. A quarter of designers weren’t sure whether or not they were making a difference (the not-knowing tells a story in itself, but that’s for another time).

It’s fair to…


Last month Clearleft hosted a lively morning of discussion and debate featuring leading industry voices from Spotify, Virgin Atlantic, Google, Deliveroo, Bulb, and Pfizer.

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In front of an audience of design leads, two panels explored some of the common challenges facing internal design teams; from understanding and responding faster to customer needs, implementing the right systems internally for driving innovation, and creating a culture of design thinking. These are five key takeaways from the sessions.

Customer expectations are evolving

Customers are expecting more from the services they use and pay for. Service designers have known this for decades, but the design you do needs to be not just on screen, but before, after and behind the screen experience. User research and testing is a fundamental part of achieving…


Automatic hyphenation on the web has been possible since 2011 and is now broadly supported. There is, however, far more control available to designers than just turning on hyphens.

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A Gutenberg bible with hyphenation c1440

Earlier this month I was invited to give an evening lecture at the Typography Society of Austria (tga) in Vienna. I was honoured to do so, as it meant following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Matthew Carter, Wim Crouwel, Margaret Calvert, Erik Spiekermann, and the late Freda Sack to name but a few.

I presented some golden rules for typography on the web to a full house. In the Q&A afterwards I was asked about the current state of automatic hyphenation on the web. This was a good question considering that German is well known for its long…


We’re on a mission to find out the real state of design in organisations in 2019. To join in, take our Design Attitudes survey.

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As a strategic design partner, Clearleft works closely with in-house design teams. We see first hand the huge opportunity that design can bring to an organisation, and the challenges presented in integrating design into the corporate ethos. We want to find out more about the current state of design in organisations, and present our findings in a report for all to read.

To that end, we have created a survey to take the temperature of how designers feel that design is used and understood within their organisations. …


How do design leaders stay ahead of the curve, while simultaneously managing their teams and delivering the required design excellence that drives their brands forward? To find out more, Clearleft assembled a panel of design leaders currently shaping the future of digital design.

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Here at Clearleft, we’ve long held the belief that applying design discipline and process to new digital products and services minimises risk as they come to market. Organisations are fast coming round to this way of thinking. How your company looks and feels online can increase or demolish profit margins and customer bases. If a commercial competitor has the edge as a result of an effortless experience meeting prescient user desires, then it is time to implement change.

The need for success in the digital marketplace has heralded in a new era of design leadership. The new school are on…


Today marks 100 years since Parliament passed the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act which allowed women to become Members of Parliament for the first time. This was a logical outcome of the law passed earlier in 1918, which allowed some women, and all men, to vote for the first time.

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#Vote100 celebrates the anniversary of votes for women

Allowing women to vote and sit as an MP was clearly an important step towards equal rights for all (although it wasn’t until 1928 that women would have equal voting rights with men). It was also an early stride in the drive for diversity in the workplace, especially once Nancy Astor became the first woman to sit as an MP in the House of Commons, in 1919.

Now we have a female prime minister, and 209 out of 650 MPs are women, which is not bad in the grand scheme of things. …


Design sprints enable teams to find solutions, innovate products and explore strategies, over the course of five days. A design sprint will deliver a user-tested prototype yielding valuable answers — but it will also provide a host of other side-benefits you may not be expecting.

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Cross-company team building

Design is too important for the growth of your business to be left solely in the hands of designers. That’s why all well run design sprints have an emphasis on a wide mix of perspectives and feature an ensemble cast of problem solvers from right across your organisation.

With no prior design skills necessary, the intensive, collaborative and above all, fun environment of a design sprint enables a team to be energised and highly engaged throughout the process. When I talk to clients after a sprint, they will often recall how a surprising camaraderie developed across team. This is particularly…


Ampersand, the web typography conference, is back with a brand new line up of fascinating speakers, not least of whom is Bianca Berning, Dalton Maag’s Head of Skills and Process. We ask her the burning typographic questions of the moment…

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It’s been 3 years since the last Ampersand conference — how have typography trends changed during that time?

Especially web typography is still very much in its infancy but in the last few years browser support for webfonts has improved and I think that was possible because designers, implementers, and users are collaborating more and more efficiently than they did before. …

Richard Rutter

Cofounder of @clearleft, author of @WebTypography, designer of digital things. Please patronise responsibly.

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