Abstract graphic of the thirteen23 logo involved in a football-style playbook.
Abstract graphic of the thirteen23 logo involved in a football-style playbook.

Setting standards within our design systems

At a small agency like ours, we don’t work in the same design language or grid system everyday. We don’t always design in our favorite tools (hi, Figma!) and we don’t always build with our internal development team. We adapt our process to fit the needs of the project and the client—which means we’ve seen a few brand languages, built a couple design systems, and tried a lot of tools.

Late last year, we set out to translate our findings in order to make them more widely available to our team. We’ve always had shared processes and workflows, but never established, company-wide standards for how our design team architects files. We wondered, what’s in the name of a color? Should this be two Sketch files or one? How can we share our insights and gain alignment without creating a stifling, code-of-conduct document? We needed a way to quickly jump into a project knowing we were making the best decisions, pre-validated by our design and development teams. …


An abstract representation of our design team’s results.
An abstract representation of our design team’s results.

Every six months or so, our design team settles into the Austin Central Library for a themed campfire to get us thinking about where we’ve been and where we’re going. They are often great for bonding, vulnerability, and historically, a good way to get aligned internally.

Following a period of transition at Creative Director, designer Stephanie and I wanted to use our campfire to better grasp the team’s disposition before we began interviewing director candidates. It was important we understood our collective values and goals, so we could all move forward in the same direction.

First, we had to define ourselves

Everyone came to the oasis-themed campfire with their test results from 16personalities, a free, twelve-minute assessment based on two prominent psychological models — the Myers-Briggs acronym format and the Big Five personality traits. Our results plotted each of us on a spectrum from Introverted to Extraverted (Mind), Observant to Intuitive (Energy), Thinking to Feeling (Nature), Judging to Prospecting (Tactics), and Assertive to Turbulent (Identity), though you can read much, much more about the theory here. …

About

Morgan Gerber

Senior Designer at thirteen23

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store