Be nice. Or else.
Freelance since '08 Joined about 3 years ago
Mike hasn't posted any stories yet.
Although I don’t think soylent-drinking, life/workflow optimizing tech bros like us are the average reader of a huffington post article like this.
I’ve heard from a buddy of mine at Bloomberg that editorial-style articles like these typically out-perform in both time spent on the page and social shares. Our tastes aren’t neccesarily the tastes of the readership.
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.
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.
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.
This is equally as bad as the dropbox re-brand.
The 'Brutalism' thing in a nutshell:
Also, see Aaron's comment below, this site falls much more under Swiss International Style than it does this so-called "web brutalism."
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?"
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.
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.
Be nice. Or else.
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