Get an outsider in
By David Bowers
Managing Director @ Lo + Behold
We have a small team at L+B; it keeps us nimble, means everyone is accountable and makes it easy to manage our culture.
However, our team can be somewhat insular: I’m concentrating on UX, getting a user from A to B; devs are concerning themselves with technical issues, site load speed, compatibility; designers wrapped up in precisely what a typeface suggests, getting the perfect composition, etc. It can certainly result in tunnel vision.
Small teams are very susceptible to changes in dynamic — even the smallest disruption can cause ripples through the team.
Agencies tend to hire geeks: design geeks, code geeks. This fosters the kind of enthusiasm and expertise we need to create technically brilliant products, however, by and large our product isn’t going to be used by geeks.
Sometimes we need a different view.
Four months ago my wife Lindsey came to work with us. Effectively she comes from a different world; she is virtually immune to stupid memes and almost certainly couldn’t pick Tim Berners-Lee out of a line-up.
She is also razor-sharp, a social media genius, and has that ability to deliver a blunt message without intending (or causing) insult. She can give us a different type of energy, and a totally lateral view on the work we’re producing.
She’s exactly what we’ve been missing. Devil’s advocate, second opinion. Call it what you want.
Good design is about attention to detail, craft and application. Great design is all that and more; cultural awareness, knowing what makes the world go around and resonating with people.
Make what you do, not only good, but relevant.