In May 2003, President George W Bush stood under a garish banner on the deck of an aircraft carrier and boldly proclaimed “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” in the Iraq War. A decade later, the U.S. military would still be fighting a war that was increasingly unwinnable. The infamous image of President Bush standing at the lectern on an aircraft carrier is seared into the U.S. consciousness, not as a moment of victory but as a warning on hubris.
I think of this image every time I hear a designer say “we finally have a seat at the table!” or “everyone understands the value of design!”. We designers think we have accomplished something meaningful — when all of the serious work is ahead of us. …
It might surprise you that high blood pressure (hypertension) is one of the most common causes of death in the world. High blood pressure leads to heart disease and strokes, and it kills more people than all infectious diseases combined. In many countries, like the US or India, about 1-in-4 adults has high BP, which translates into hundreds of millions of people who are at risk.
Over the last couple of years, several of my friends have landed coveted leadership roles at a company that I’ll call BIG DESIGN STARTUP. First one guy that I know joined as a VP, then a close guy friend took another VP position, then another friend became a director. Just last week, yet another guy I know joined as their newest VP.
I’m honestly excited for my friends. From the outside it looks like they’re getting a fun band together to go on tour. Who wouldn’t want to get on that bus? …
We asked the larger design community for suggestions. People came through with excellent suggestions and we thought it would be helpful to share them with you:
New England Journal of Medicine, June 2018
A really useful article about human-centered design at Kaiser Permanente (a large US health system) and the impact on healthcare quality and safety gains over the past two decades. This article applies particularly well to a health audience, but is applicable across the board.
McKinsey Quarterly, October 2018
Regardless of what you think of McKinsey (and we have mixed feelings) this high level article on design’s value makes a compelling case backed up with performance metrics. The charts are excellent and the authors make a strong case that design reduces costs and drives value — compelling to business leaders and government officials who deal with budgets. …
The contributions from the community have been nothing short of stellar. Whoa! We are so happy with where this project landed. Thank you so much to every single person who contributed with their design work, critique, and encouragement.
The most exciting part of this process has been the collaboration. …
I’ve been to many conferences over the last twenty years. Mostly the speakers droned on about their topics, which were easily forgotten. Thinking back, only a few big ideas really stuck with me. These are three ideas I’ve come back to over and over again in my career.
Graphic design legend David Carson gave a tedious presentation at one of the first conferences I ever attended. However, fifteen years later, I still clearly remember a pair of slides from his talk that looked something like this:
I am the director of design for Resolve to Save Lives, which is an initiative of the not-for-profit organization Vital Strategies. We are currently working on apps for doctors, nurses, and patients under the new moniker: Simple.
Fourteen years ago, a group of us helped design the Firefox identity. We liked Mozilla’s mission and it seemed like a fun, rewarding project. The Firefox brand was a true open-source effort. The members of the Mozilla visual identity team remixed each others’ ideas, gave all ownership over to Mozilla, and volunteered our time for a cause that we believed in.
So, I got to thinking, would it be possible to rally a similar effort for Resolve to Save Lives, but in an even more distributed way? …
I asked a whole bunch of designers what books, which weren’t specifically about digital or graphic design, inspired them. And, wow I got a ton of great responses. Here are twelve of the most popular recommendations:
The classic book about city planning in a humane way. Still as relevant as when it was first published in the early 1960s.
Twenty years ago, when I started my design career, I made a lot of fake stuff. I can still clearly remember when I designed my own CD covers for albums by famous bands, created a fake e-commerce site with my friends, recreated famous logos in Corel Draw, redesigned a popular website just to see what I would do differently, and designed fake logos for fake products that didn’t exist yet. You might say, “What a waste of time on unpaid work!” You could say “Gosh, you didn’t understand the intricacies of designing for the real world!” …
Recently, Jared Spool caught my attention with an article about how Netflix’s performance engineers are actually designers. It’s a provocative idea, but it makes sense. His argument is that everyone in your organization (including performance engineers) designs the product, not just the people with “design” in their job titles.