Cover-photo-2015-05-30_04_29_22__0000-1915320150530-3-1v0nyfh
Mike Wilson

Mike Wilson

Freelance since '08 Joined almost 3 years ago

  • 0 stories
  • 264 comments
  • 117 upvotes
  • Posted to Helen Tran — Product Designer, in reply to Chris Keith , Nov 16, 2017

    100% agree.

    The larger the design team you work for (ie. Shopify size & up), the more important your personality, general interestingness, and the way you signal yourself becomes. In a scaled company the product is already a hit. They don't need design geniuses and left-field innovators (successful companies build war chests of excess profits to acquire innovation). They just need careful stewards of an already successful product.

    Trying to implement your ideas from within a large organization is 90% a game of politics and 10% actually having good ideas. It's simply the dynamics of what happens when you get a large group of people together. Look at government for example. In that environment soft skills and standing out go much farther than technical ability.

    After checking out the case studies, I think Helen's actual design work is just average at best, but she has positioned herself as more of a future corporate leader vs. just a designer. Which is not a bad thing.

    Would I hire her to lead the design an innovative product from the ground up? No.

    Would I hire her to be a member of a Fortune 500 design team and groom her for more of a leadership role? Absolutely.

    6 points
  • Posted to There is at least 54 versions of Facebook’s mobile app navigation right now, Oct 14, 2017

    I think this could go 1 of 2 ways.

    Either they're trying anything they can to desperately increase engagement after seeing some alarming trends in the user data that will not bode well for future ad sales....

    ...OR, they're moving on to something bigger and better, the end goal being an app that slowly shifts to meet the differing needs of individual users.

    1 point
  • Posted to Google Is Really Good at Design, in reply to Sacha Greif , Oct 14, 2017

    Agree completely about open company culture. Apple's culture of secrecy seems to be evolving into a massive problem for the efficiency of the organization and their ability to innovate (and hilariously, the secrets always end up getting leaked anyways). Their product line is expanding and fragmenting every single year, and it's increasingly clear to me that their old culture is not scaling well to meet the increased demand on their teams.

    Google also has advantage of not being a 40+ year old company. You cannot imagine the sheer amount of legacy systems, bureaucracy, old management theories, and ineptitude that probably still exists from 1980s and 1990s Apple.

    ...but all of that said, I personally believe Material Design to be the worst, most heavy-handed and gratuitous design system in use by a major tech company today. Its poor implementation across many Android apps is the biggest reason I switched to iOS recently. iOS is still the most user-friendly OS on the market today. But in the future? who knows.

    1 point
  • Posted to The Wirecutter redesign, Oct 04, 2017

    This is equally as bad as the dropbox re-brand.

    0 points
  • Posted to The Engine — built by MIT, in reply to Clay MacTavish , Sep 20, 2017

    The 'Brutalism' thing in a nutshell:

    1. Designers coming out of art schools like ECAL, Gerrit Reitveld, etc. in the mid-2000s start bringing some of their experimental work into the small print magazine movement (mostly in Europe at this point) after print starts getting less scrutinised in favor of digital. See: https://www.creativereview.co.uk/the-new-ugly/
    2. Hits NYC from Europe (to be fair people in scenes like RISD were always woke) when guys in publishing like Richard Turley bring the aesthetic into the mainstream on publications on Bloomberg Businessweek
    3. More traditional (not product focused) design agencies/studios bring the aesthetic to the web after the fall of skeumorphism and the rise of web type
    4. SF Tech bros who hang out on Dribbble finally take notice when these sites get posted on SiteInspire, steal the term "brutalism" to describe it since it doesn't look like a stripe landing page.
    5. 'Brutalism' becomes a catch-all term for any website that contains an aesthetic nod to a design movement that didn't happen on Dribbble
    6. Myself and others find this amusing and post snarky/snob-ish finger-wagging comments on DN

    Also, see Aaron's comment below, this site falls much more under Swiss International Style than it does this so-called "web brutalism."

    4 points
  • Posted to How does Ueno get clients like Airbnb, Uber, Slack?, Sep 20, 2017

    The reason big companies use design agencies is the same reason they contract out services like legal, auditing, advertising, capital management, janitorial services, catering, architecture, real estate acquisition, etc. etc.

    Airbnb, Uber, Slack, etc. almost certainly have in-house legal departments, however they also retain external legal counsel from various specialist law firms. To add some examples to jrtorrents response:

    No company does everything well It doesn't make sense to invest in anything that isn't core to your business. Design is an extremely wide discipline. Just because you have a top notch in-house team of product designers working on the core product/service, doesn't mean they would be the best team to put on a marketing site or an advertising campaign when compared to the team at an agency that specializes in that work.

    Projects are temporary, in-house employees are not If a firms need for a certain service (ie. marketing design) is cyclical they will often farm this work out to agencies so they don't have have to fire members of their design team after every big project and expose themselves to bad press and lawsuit risks.

    External agencies are faster The bigger the company is, the slower it moves. When you've got a big project with a deadline to meet, hiring an external agency is an immediate way to get a competent team on your project without jumping through the slow bureaucracy of your company. For example, say you want to redesign one of your product landing pages, but your team is already at capacity. Instead of taking 12+ months to source, interview, vet a creative director and then source, interview, and vet a team to place underneath that person...the agency could have finished designing that page 10 months ago.

    Outside perspective Internal design teams are often averse to change and new ideas after spending years learning about legacy systems, old processes, bureaucracy, etc. They become unable to question the status quo for fear of losing their jobs or Stockholm Syndrome. An outside agency can bring fresh perspective to a project your in-house team is struggling to nail.

    Agencies can be cheaper Since agencies often work on a fixed SOW or retainer, their cost is 100% transparent, accountable, tax-deductible and can be negotiated down by your procurement people. You can't walk up to your internal design team and say, "Guys, budget is tight this quarter...will you take 40% less salary on this project?"

    27 points
  • Posted to The Engine — built by MIT, in reply to Alex Camp , Sep 19, 2017

    sigh...

    5 points
  • Posted to Can anyone tell me cool design podcasts?, in reply to Ollie Barker , Sep 07, 2017

    I upvoted because it's true, however afterwards I realized how amusing it is that the top comment in both this thread and the recent Newsletters thread is basically...Meh. Everything sucks...haha

    Seems to be an amusing quirk that we will always give the negative top position. If I were to ask "Hey, guys what are some good blogs?" I'd be willing to wager a large chunk of money the top comment would again be something like...Meh. It's all a bunch of content marketing crap.

    1 point
  • Posted to Crello - A Graphic Design Tool for Everyone, in reply to Ismael Branco , Aug 31, 2017

    Hand woven textile workers used to make good money in the 19th century as well. So did coal miners. There was a better and cheaper way to do both of those things, and hence, the world moved on. People have two options. Change with the times and prosper...or get left behind and become bitter.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luddite

    1 point
  • Posted to Crello - A Graphic Design Tool for Everyone, in reply to Ismael Branco , Aug 30, 2017

    This is the level of work they are targeting: https://crello.com/inspiration/

    I don't think even "low-mid quality" designers were planning on making a career out of social posts and banner ads for the local flower shop (and if they were, I'd strongly suggest aiming a bit higher).

    Personally I love the idea of sending this product to all my friends who always ask if I can "quickly photoshop something for them."

    0 points
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