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Illustration by the remarkable Raúl Gil for this article.

As Head of Design at Gem my job entails not only managing design, but also producing tangible outputs and defining processes for product design in the company. However, my most important and valuable responsibility is building the design team itself.

My goal is to build a team of designers who can not only contribute high-quality designs and creative, scalable ideas, but also who want to learn and grow in ways that accelerate them further in their careers.

To accomplish both these objectives I wanted to share a few thoughts around some of the more interesting aspects of a startup like Gem, and what it’s like for designers who will join the design team here. …

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Illustration by Therrious Davis for this article.

Originally posted on

Have you ever looked at a design, read an article or tweet from a designer, or seen an update to a popular product and thought to yourself: “I could have done so much better!” or “Why did they decide to do this?!”

I know I have.

Unfortunately this is a harmful way of approaching anything we deem as “low quality” out in the world, whether in a design critique, a forum, the news, or elsewhere.

Especially as designers — whose skillset should entail the ability to temporarily step outside and away from our own, limited perspectives — such limited thinking hurts our ability to be empathetic, impactful creators for those we serve. …

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Illustrations by Harry Woodgate for this article.

Originally posted on

The solution is making design a more transparent process. The problem, well…

The problem is many organizations have product designers who unnecessarily repeat work. It’s that designers aren’t leveraging existing work—or sharing the work they’re doing so others can leverage it—out of fear it will no longer be “their” work, or that it will be unfairly criticized, or that their career will be evaluated based on incomplete work.

The problem is inexperienced designers often want to feel as though their output is the result of their own genius, with no external direction having influenced them whatsoever. …


Tanner Christensen

Head of Design at Inventor, author, developer. Never not working.

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