“Le” as in French for “the”. The Design Team, a mobile design force, here to help you structure and design your company, your product or your services in sustainable, strong yet flexible systems rooted in authenticity.
My wife came into my life unexpectedly, without ceremony or drama. She was hired into my agency by my former partner, and months went by before we realized we had fallen in love. As our bond grew, our ability to focus at work shrank as you can imagine, so we decided that if something had to give it would have to be the work, at least for now. Fast forward 7 years later, we find ourselves still in love, supporting each other, pushing and inspiring each other constantly, and working together in new and amazing ways. We have built our careers independently, yet have always looked up for each other’s advice, coaching, critique or support.
She has built a legacy in mission-driven, sustainable human-centered design. She has helped build curriculum and educate around design and UX for professionals and organizations, and has built a brand that raises awareness and funds for humanitarian and environmental causes, while coining and popularizing the term #fashionactivism to encompass both explicit style and messages as well as manufacturing ethics.
I have led technology in companies making hardware [founding member and VP Software at littleBits], software, e-commerce, long-form platforms like the one you’re reading now [led the NYC office of Medium in 2016], even Beyoncé! But still felt I was missing something, even though most of the work I do is mission-driven.
Today we join forces in Le Design Team to focus on building a better world for both the environment and humanity.
Building all experiences on authentic, responsible, human-centered design. Holistic in that our combined experience encompasses deep expertise across so many micro-disciplines of design and tech. We focus our initiatives on companies that are deeply committed to their missions. I’m here to build a foundation and she is here to connect it to the world. Here are some projects we are working on right now:
- Platform to counter the radical Right’s “long-term ideological investments” in extremist propaganda
- The mission-driven fashion label that popularized #fashionactivism, funding human rights and environmental initiatives with meaningful clothing & accessories
- A new VC fund to foster innovation in progressive political technology
Closing the Loop
- Working with an early stage company making high nutrient flour from waste grains from micro-breweries
- Producing classic clothing designs with 100% environmentally responsible materials
Compasses over Maps
There are some really great ideas in our friend Joi Ito’s new book Whiplash. One that resonated especially is the importance of “Compasses over Maps”. We love maps, don’t get us wrong. Maps are important; roadmaps, organizational architecture maps, systems maps. But more important to remember is that the terrain is always changing, and this is a good thing. As the terrain changes, what you need to focus on is your compass to know which direction to go. Your compass will outlive your map every time.
Check us out at LeDesign.Team and if you want to join us or collaborate on a project with us, we would love to hear from you!
PS: Notes on Holistic Design
This is not a new idea, but one that is still surprising relevant and necessary to promote as a priority. So many of the companies we have advised and consulted for in the past few years are still separated into silos and sub-divided into micro-disciplines; project phases are completed and lobbed over a wall to the next part of the process, without the benefit of hybrid teams and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
The labels and divisions of labour in digital & product design have changed so much over the course of my career. I saw the simplistic “What we should do and how should we do it” spawn so many sub-disciplines — Design into UX, information architecture, ui, interaction, branding, visual; Tech implementation into frontend, backend, ui, api, application, infrastructure; Communication into . That’s not to say that these aren’t all real separate skillsets, just that keeping them all very separate leads to a fragmented organization, and following Conway’s Law, a fragmented product or service.
When you are building a company, product or service you need collaborators who have broad experience across all aspects of a business and how they relate to each other.