EXPERIENCE DESIGN

How to create virtual spaces that establish presence.

Until recently, I worked on Facebook’s Portal device, where I helped plan and design the future of video calling. My research and design work have focused on the idea of presence in virtual environments, or how to make online meetings feel more like real life. …


How do we learn from past work that is trapped in version releases and Dropbox folders?

A few years ago, I had an opportunity to visit the Eames’ ranch in Petaluma, California. Charles and Ray’s granddaughter, Llisa Demetrios, gave a tour of the archive they still host there. Most people are familiar with the Eames’ house in LA, a giant prototype they made their home, but…


Custom typefaces often get a bad wrap as the fetishized, self-indulgent projects of “visual designers,” but platforms risk ignoring real metric-moving opportunities by failing to invest in typography.

In 2012, eccentric documentary-maker, Errol Morris, ran a test with the New York Times. The test asked readers to verify whether or not a series of statements were true. Each test-taker was shown the test in a different typeface in an attempt to see whether the believability of simple statements…


Finding good people is hard, hiring them is an exercise in gambling and salesmanship, and keeping them is both a joy and a constant stress.

I’m often approached by founders who want advice on who their first design hire should be. You usually have two choices: hire fast and cheap (junior designer) or slow and expensive (senior designer). It’s worth mentioning that when I say “junior” I don’t mean young. I mean new to the…


I’ve helped hire designers at IBM, Airbnb, Postmates and here are my tips on killing your presentation:

It will never cease to surprise me when a designer says, “I’m just not great at presenting.” Designers have a natural gift for selling ideas, services, products, and whatever this thing is, so why do designers stress about the portfolio presentation? …


I picked the best of the books I read last year to make a reading list of “sort of” design books. While many of these books are only tangentially related to design, they make for good influence on your work.

Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One Is Looking” by Christian Rudder

Written by a founder and data scientist at OkCupid. I…


In 2012, the New York Times found that serif typefaces, like Baskerville, made statements more believable. This month, Yieldmo extended that experiment to see if it made more people tap on mobile ads.

A few years ago, the New York Times ran an experiment about fonts where participants would identify if a given statement was true or false.

The quiz was delivered in one of six typefaces: three serifs (Baskerville, Computer Modern or Georgia) or…


Building a smarter product with fewer options

Today you will make more than 200 decisions about food. A child makes as many as 3,000 choices each day. An adult? 35,000. The stats on how much information we digest and make decisions about are staggering. With the increasing number of screens…


Big Data vs. Milton Glaser

Reconciling design practices in an era of machine-learning.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to be a student and an employee of Milton Glaser. My mind was a sponge to his sage advice and philosophies, which, like many other legendary faculty in the MFA Design program at the…


A recent job switch is teaching me a lot about the benefits of product design at a micro scale.

I recently left a big tech company that was trying to solve big problems, the biggest problems really: poverty, urban blight, cyberterrorism, endemics, you name it. The scope of such design projects was exhilarating, but deep down I think I knew we couldn’t possibly design our way out of the…

Shawn Sprockett

Design Director of Emergent Experiences at Godfrey Dadich Partners. Formerly of Airbnb, Facebook, Google, Apple, Milton Glaser, and Condé Nast.

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