Design @ Shortcut.com
A design team needs a place to call home. A place where they can share their innermost thoughts. Here at Shortcut we felt it was time to build our fort and here’s how and why we did it.
The goal was to create a site specifically for our design team, to share our views, opinions, values, our guidelines. A place for us to shout about ourselves, to tell others (and remind ourselves) what’s important to us, and why it’s important. A place that will give us the opportunity to sing about design principles, to share important assets, and to share guidelines about how to apply those assets.
So without further ado let’s show you that very site…
Why do we need a Design site?
So there are a few key reasons as to why this is important for our team. I believe every team deserves a voice, and the only way to be heard is to shout.
The main goals for the project were:
- 🏡 To give our team visibility internally and externally:
Like I just said, the aim is to have space for the team, to shout about ourselves. Who doesn’t love talking about themselves, right? Oh, just me? Ok sorry. Anyways, we want our voice to be heard ✊ We want people to recognize that the design function in Shortcut is so important to everything we do here at Shortcut ✊
- 📃 To have a centralized space for important Documents & Guidelines:
Having a place to house our guidelines will help us create consistency internally and externally. For instance, providing brand assets, such as logos and illustrations alongside how you actually should apply them will cut down on people grabbing the wrong logo from Google and just making it up as they go along. Consistency is key to a growing company and having a centralized place to share documentation and guidelines can only help move things forward.
- 🕵️♀️ To help market our Job Opportunities:
As well as being a great place to help grow consistency, having a site like this will help us market our team. It gives us a chance to be able to shout about open job opportunities (we’re hiring btw) as well as be a place to point potential candidates towards to get a snapshot of who we are. It’s win win.
- 🤹 Give us a place to express Personality and have Fun:
This part was great craic. We wanted to add some personality to the site, so we added some interviewed some of the team, as well as getting everyone to create Spotify playlists. I then challenged them to create the artwork for their album (they are designers after all). This section did two things. It added a nice personal touch to the site, but it also sparked some great conversations within our team. You can tell a lot about someones music choice and I was shocked at the tunes some of the team were listening to… (Not looking at anyone 👀 Paolo D'Ettorre)
When did we feel like we needed it?
As the design team grew, it became obvious that we needed a centralized place to shout about things. Things were way too disjointed, we had design principles, guidelines, blog articles, but everything was spread across multiple touch points. No one really knew where to look for anything. Plus, as the only brand designer, I was getting frustrated pointing everyone daily to where all the creative assets lived.
Obviously in an ideal world, we’d have a fully fledged holistic design systems, outlining all aspects of everything, connecting everything, but in reality, at the size we’re at, currently 5 designers and growing), having something that is lovingly crafted by the in-house team, that’s on brand and is useful, seemed like the logical first step.
How did we go about making it?
So we had a plan. We knew what we wanted at a high level, so we set about coming up with the actual content. We settled on:
- Design Principles - (reinforce our values)
- Brand Guidelines - (give guidance on our brand style along with providing assets)
- Blog Articles - (let us shout our thoughts to anyone who’d listen)
- Job Opportunities - (market any upcoming jobs within the team- we’re hiring btw, did I mention that already?)
- Design Team Interviews - (give the us a chance to dig a little deeper into the designers lives, and our roles within the team)
- Music Playlists - (Have a little fun and express ourselves a little more 🎶 )
Some of this content we had, some of it we had to create but we knew what we wanted.
New pages were designed specifically for our Design Principles, our Brand Guidelines (along with somewhere to download our assets), and our Designer Interviews and with that our site grew its creative legs.
Another visual bonus to theis project was that we’ve recently rebranded meaning it’s given us a chance to use our new shiney colors, illustrations and logo, which in turn has allowed us to reinforce the new brand style drum that we’ve been constantly banging of late.
The next hurdle was actually getting it built. Often, in the past I’ve created similar sites and they were always pushed down the priority list so far that they were never built. This i mainly because it always felt like a nice-to-have project but never really important enough to actually build. That’s where Paolo D’Ettorre stepped in . Other than being a top designer within the design team, Paolo is also a dab hand at Webflow which was the key to this whole project. It meant we could cut out relying on other teams for this to become a reality. Paolo put on his Webflow hat and knocked it out of the park. He created a beautiful, responsive perfect site with all the bells and whistles. What else could you ask for! 🤌
How do we think it went?
Overall we feel the project was a big success, although I am pretty biased, but yea, it was probably the greatest site ever built….EVER.
It gave us a platform for us to be heard, as well as a place for us to house all the important guidelines we want people to find. It also allowed us to show that we could use our initiative and move things forward without being prompted which I feel is so important in the development of a team. Having the desire and determination to push yourself is key to success.
Infact, the project went so well that we actually went one step further and created a similar site for the Engineering team during a recent hackathon, to similar success and enthusiasm.
You can go check it out here: https://engineering.shortcut.com/
Plus we already have more plans for similar projects for other teams across the org, so judging by that it must of been a success!
Whats next for the site?
Well, like everything in life, things grow, and they evolve and we hope that this site will grow too. We may find that this approach is too light for the expectations of a larger team and we’ll need to reassess things, but for now, we’re just going to enjoy having our little fort. A place we can call home.
Be sure to check back regularly to check in with us!