Medium’s Best Design Writing of 2015
This article needs little introduction: we’ve curated and categorized 62 of Medium’s best design posts from the past year. Enjoy!
Approaches to the Creative Process
The pathway to creative success is neither static nor singular, as the following articles reveal.
What Kind of Design Work Should I Do? by Julie Zhuo. What Do You Think? details a terrifying, albeit life-changing encounter with Steve Jobs; by Arno Gourdol. The Jony Ive Principle discusses the care and thought we ought to pour into the products we design; by Daniel Rakhamimov. The Inspiration Lie dismisses the notion that creatives ought to wait for inspiration to strike; by Tobias van Schneider. The Unfair Truth About How Creative People Really Succeed by Jeff Goins. The Day You Became a Better Designer introduces the idea that the best place to find design inspiration is outside of the field; by Tobias van Schneider. What Designers Can Learn from Project Managers by Julie Zhuo. What Steve Jobs Taught Google’s Tony Fadell About Designing Simple Products by Greg Ferenstein. Behind the Scenes of the Creative Process
The following posts provide in-depth looks into some of the tech industry’s most successful products. The processes of Slack, Facebook and Foursquare are laid bare for you to soak up.
Designing Moments is a behind-the-scenes look at how a multidisciplinary team built the photo sharing app Moments; by Laura Javier. Slack’s $2.8 Billion Dollar Secret Sauce by Andrew Wilkinson. What I’ve Learned Designing Small Things at Facebook by Jasmine Friedl. A List of Creative Exercises for Creative Teams by Foursquare’s Jon Steinback. UX
User experience is a broad topic and the focal point of any great product. Luckily, the following collection of UX pieces covers a vast amount of ground, from basic tips to cutting edge recommendations.
Making Learning Easy by Design summarizes Google Primer’s attempt to engage adults with an educational app; by Sandra Nam. 5 Simple UX Principles to Guide Your Product Design by Invision. Why Product Thinking is the Next Big Thing in UX Design by Nikkel Blaase. Design the Beginning suggests that a great user experience begins the moment someone comes in contact with a brand; by Julie Zhuo. 4 User Experiences You Never Knew About by Michael Wong. Emotional Intelligence in Design proposes a handful of ways that digital design could evolve to become more emotionally receptive; by Beth Dean. 7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About Web Accessibility by Jesse Hausler. Misused Mobile UX Patterns by Zoltan Kollin. Material Design is Different, Not Better by Meng To. Material Design is Design Science by Daniel Hollick. UI
UI is a robust, fascinating topic, especially in 2015. The following pieces reframe long-held assumptions concerning spatial issues, design states and present trends.
Will UI Designers be Unemployed Soon? by Ariel Verber. No UI is the New UI details the emergence of conversational interfaces and the consequent design implications; by Tony Aubé, Spatial Interfaces suggests that great software should mimic how we move through the world and interact with objects; by Pasquale D’Silva. The Nine States of Design catalogues the paths a user might take when interacting with an interface, and many of them are not ideal; by Vince Speelman. Logo Design
The logo is an organization’s visual handshake with the public, and a tricky element to master. Fortunately the articles below offer a host of sage advice.
The 7 Step Paul Rand Logo Test asks how your logo stands up to the scrutiny of legendary logo designer Paul Rand; by Dave Schools. The Story Behind Medium’s New Logo by Erich Nagler and Karen Jaimes. Asana Logo Rebrand by Micah Daigle. Animation / GIFs
Animation has become an integral part of digital design, and its implementation has ignited some interesting debate and discussion over the past year.
The Principles of UX Choreography suggests that Disney’s animation principles are an excellent blueprint for great interactive design; by Rebecca Ussai. Your UI Isn’t a Disney Movie by Sophie Paxton. How A Well-Crafted Easing Curve Can Improve UX unpacks the term “easing curve” and discusses how its implementation can make good animation great; by Ryan Brownhill. How to Design Animated Gifs by InVision. Funniest Animated GIFs of 2015 by Muzli. Color
Color, a design element that is often taken for granted, is covered below by a couple of veterans with a unique, seasoned perspective.
How I Work with Color by Justin Mezzell. The Colors of an App Icon uses infographic maps to catalogue the most popular app icon colors; by Stuart Hall. Trends
Whether it’s mobile’s widespread adoption of the layered interface, or the death of the fold in web design, 2015’s design trends are covered below in great detail.
The 21 Best Designed Apps of 2015 by Daniel Eckler (disclaimer: that’s me) Mobile: 2015 UI/UX Trends by Onur Oral. 7 Future Web Design Trends by Jowita Ziobro. The Future of Design in Technology by Julie Zhuo. We Don’t Need More Designers Who Can Code by Jesse Weaver. The Rise of the Full Stack Designer and the Tools They Use by Eden Vidal. Misc.
The following pieces aren’t easily categorized, but merit inclusion on this list for their array of valuable thoughts on design.
How to Design a Pitch Deck by Daniel Eckler (disclaimer: that’s me). Want a Better Pitch? Watch This by Andy Raskin. Saul Bass on his Approach to Designing Movie Title Sequences is a classic 1977 interview with the visionary movie title designer; by The Academy. How We Changed the Facebook Friends Icon by Caitlin Winner. How I’d Redesign Piano Sheet Music by Alex Couch. The Future of Web Design is Hidden in the History of Architecture by Mike Sall. Designer Blindness discusses a designer’s inability to use poorly designed digital products; by Jeffrey Zeldman. Explaining Graphic Design to Four-Year-Olds by Dean Vipond. Designing for (and with) Color Blindness by Aaron Tenbuuren. The Dribbblisation of Design is an account of how Dribbble provides a somewhat hollow, superficial vision of product design; by Intercom. The Secret of Apple’s New San Francisco Fonts by Akinori Machino. Intro to Product Design by Stephanie Engle. The Big Mistake Nearly Every Designer Makes by marie poulin. Tools & Resources
No best of 2015 list would be complete without an obligatory rundown of key design tools and resources.
The Perfect UX / UI Design Tool. 13 Things Designers Need Most by Tom Koszyk. Designing at 1x: The Ideal Product Designer’s Workflow discusses the myriad ways that Sketch is the most efficient workflow design tool; by Brad Wrage. Building Silver, the Do-It-All Design Tool is the story of Silver, the mobile design tool and Sketch extension; by Aby Nimbalkar. Modern Design Tools: Adaptive Layouts proposes a variety of ways that design tools (including Sketch) could evolve in order to create better digital experiences; by Josh Puckett. Exploring Dynamic Layout in Sketch details a designer’s experimentation with Sketch’s layout features; by Matej Hrescak. The Only UX Reading List Ever by Simon Pan. by Stock Photos That Don’t Suck Dustin Senos. Thanks!
That’s it — all of our favourite design writing from the past 12 months. Thanks for reading (or skimming). If we missed a great design post from 2015, please let us know!
If you enjoyed reading this article, please hit the ♥ button in the footer so that more people can appreciate great design!
Daniel. I’ve founded a few companies including Piccsy (acq. 2014) and EveryGuyed (acq. 2011). I am currently open to new career and consulting opportunities. Get in touch via email.
This article was co-authored by
Shaun Roncken. You May Also Like: Design for Humanity
An interactive essay I wrote exploring the past, present, and future of anthropomorphic design. Also
available as a talk for conferences, events, etc.