2020

An image from our ‘What is Design?’ showcase. the slides says ‘The final visual execution is a small part of design’.
  • on a personal level, 2019 has been incredible. The birth of my son Arlo and we doubled down on our house in Manchester. Every weekend is a perfect, warm family bubble. It’s wonderful. A nice counterbalance to work right now.
  • Arlo is 4 months old as of writing and I’ve already learnt something from him: smile more. Arlo is the smiliest human you would ever meet. He smiles at me, his mum and sister, nan, grandad, neighbours, the man in the shop, the big issue seller, the hairdresser. It doesn’t matter who you are, he is ready for you with…


Value

A diagram I sketched to explain the fundamentals of how our design culture works. This was for someone who is looking to set something up in another part of the Co-op and is likely wrong.
  • Tunes 🎧
  • Started the week apologising for a snotty DM I sent late Friday afternoon for a thing I didn’t have the full picture of. After I found out more context my reaction looked even worse. Messaging anyone about something that should be said face to face is a no no let alone on a Friday evening. My wife framed it perfectly: ‘how would you feel if you got that message on a Friday night?’ Yeah, I’m an idiot.
  • Spent a lot of time trying to explain really complex systems to stakeholders. I usually get a blank expression back. I’ve…


Co-operating

  • Music for this week. Heavily influenced by my Spotify Year in Review, which was MARRED this year by Disney. But that’s ok, I still look like a cool dad and that’s the main thing right?! 😭
Alex, designer on Identity, show and telling his work on validation for our log in screens.
  • Went for lunch with an old friend who happens to work for another Co-op and we talked Co-op’s co-operating. She is going to do a talk at our next all hands. But the lunch also made me realise I need to make time for friend friends more often than work friends. Even if all we do is talk werk.
  • Interesting chats about career progression…


Airships

  • Tunes! Including one of the worlds best dance tracks ‘Gat Decor — Passion’ and a tune that bring me back to being 17 in my Peugeot bopping around North London (BOP and Subwave).
  • Last week I created a user journey map for a test we’re running in January. This week I printed it and I was ecstatic to find people using and evolving it not half an hour after I stuck it up. Never under estimate the power of a map people! …


Double

This week we started Wardley Mapping the Interaction Design community
  • Double weeknotez for missing last week. I just didn’t have the will last Friday and went straight to the pub and had a curry. That was much better self-care for me than reflecting. Sorry, future Nate.
  • Tunes. More techno than usual. Spotify is forcing it down my throat after a few weeks of head down designing. Not a bad thing, but I need to listen to different types of music.
  • Rethinking the format of these notes again. Taking inspiration from Co-op Digital alum, Gossy. Her weeknotes are bullets. Which makes for a clearer read whilst getting what you can across.


The bends

Bobbi Wu on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/3_h9trxhQmY

This week, I described the feeling of transitioning between heads down designing to heads up strategy thinking as like getting the bends.

In week 40, I spent days with my headphones in, crafting pixels, hardly speaking to anyone. Then suddenly I had to come up: engage with stakeholders, tell the story of the design, knit it with the wider strategy. It was disorientating and made me feel a bit ill.

As a result, I made sure I took it a bit easier on myself this week. That’s not to say that I didn’t have loads…


Waves

Music I’ve been listening to this week — the week I discovered the best Nina Simone track ever! Bit of a banging week of music, which is a good reflection of the words below.

If last week was a week of riding the big wave, this was the week I crashed spectacularly on the rocks. Far from the beach.

Look! A romantic image of someone surfing a wave. My week, not so romantic. Photo by Linus Nylund on Unsplash

As all weeks do, this week started in the last. I was buoyed after a great design review with a Very Important Person midweek 38. My sketches of a future vision had gone down well. Time to fire up Sketch. …


Design

Here is some music I have on repeat this week 👩‍🎤🎵

Talking about the design, thinking about design, planning design, doing design. This week I’ve been in my element.

Paul D’ambra standing front of a whiteboard presenting a diagram he has just drawn
Paul D’ambra standing front of a whiteboard presenting a diagram he has just drawn
Been drawing a lot of diagrams this week. Mainly with Paul*

This makes me reflect on how much the talking and planning in the weeks leading up to times like this is part of the process too. Looking back on the previous month it’s easy to see that most of my time was looking at how to do design. Planning research, stakeholder interviews, influencing teams and people. All so I can open sketch and draw some rectangles.

Research happened this week across…


Grind

Tunes I’ve been listening to this week here!

Mood. Photo by Vikas Anand Dev on Unsplash

I’ve been mentally exhausted this week as it’s been a rollercoaster of one.

The lows:

  • Seemingly encroaching governance in the form of ‘working groups’
  • The exec requesting we sign NDAs
  • Individual check-ins with execs to get their thumbs up (they all did, which is cool, but still…)
  • Different languages for the same things
  • Different ways of doing the same thing
  • Migration to Office365
  • Designing ‘vision pieces’ for things we may or may not make

The highs:

  • Doing lightweight concept sketches for research
  • Designing ‘vision pieces’ for things we may or may not make (yeah, I know)


Insight

Some of the music I’ve been listening to this week. Bit more chill than usual.

Last week I wrote about some tests that I had planned. This week was all about getting those out.

We have a bunch of assumptions and ideas. Some are from the exec, some are from the team. We are starting to formulate a plan of sorts. We have a workshop organised by the insight team that I’ve helped steer. But I have also spotted an opportunity to utilise our own resources to test actual behaviour. …

Nate Langley

Designer.

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