Cover-photo-2016-10-09_09_05_56__0000-3311820161009-3-lm9z00
Thomas Michael Semmler

Thomas Michael Semmler

Vienna, Austria UI Engineer. I'm a bit mean sometimes Joined about 4 years ago

  • 18 stories
  • 811 comments
  • 116 upvotes
  • Posted to Ask DN: Need some help for creating a Design System, Nov 08, 2019

    I am in a similar situation. And the worst thing you can do to yourself is believing that there is any one way a design system needs to look like.

    In essence, a design system is a manifestation of rules intended to be followed when designing. Those can be as esoteric and tangible as your organisation needs it to be.

    Here's how I would approach it:

    • Start with collecting current patterns, look for inconsistencies amongst them and in an iteration, unify them where reasonable (for example, different hues of the same color need to become one).
    • Start some form of manifestation for those patterns. This can be a google doc, a website or a pdf - it does not matter, what matters is that it is getting manifested in some form of thing that can be found outside of your or your design teams mind.

    Depending on the brand/product that could already take a while but will be immediately valuable. From there on you can start questioning those patterns and identifying their origin or the underlying principles that cause those patterns to exist, potentially changing them, creating new ones.

    3 points
  • Posted to New personal site. Looking for feedback!, Nov 07, 2019

    This is a squarespace site, so I'll talk more about the content first.

    I am a designer, photographer, husband, dog owner, and pizza eater living just outside of Boston.

    Your website is clearly meant to promote your design business, how is it relevant to this that you are wearing a piece of medal around your finger? I know these types of bio's are really common in the US, but I cringe so hard every time I see it. "Husband" is not a personality trait. Nor is "turning caffein into code", "or deeply caring about serifs". This is the dad-joke equivalent of people working in the creative industry and I personally find it so, soooo unprofessional. Instead, maybe include a picture of your face, that gives me maybe a representative impression, not the impression that I get of a person that has to define themselves by their romantic status.

    Photo by my lovely wife

    I find this truly inappropriate. It makes me think that if that picture would have been taken by anyone else, you wouldn't have written it there. But because it was taken by your partner, you used it to add to your online personality. You want people to know that the human you chose to have a legal, romantic contract with decided to take this photo. Why? I find this really problematic. It really doesn't matter who took this photo, unless you as a photographer took it.


    Now to the UI itself, I think it's fine. It looks a bit outdated, but that is because of the typeface. The combination of slab-serifs and all caps sans-serifs is a bit outdated. If you switch the typefaces as they are right now, it would make a bit more sense and work towards your desired effect. Adelle Sans unfortunately has no personality, due to designers inflationary use of Roboto and Roboto Clones, where as the Brix Slab has. So it makes sense to use the Brix sparingly, on headlines for example, so it can shine in contrast.

    Many of the Pictures of your work are composed, they have had the equivalent of a make up job done to them. I think this is not needed. Just show the interfaces as they are, not in some decorated picture frame. It distracts from your actual work.

    1 point
  • Posted to DesignerNews is almost dead, in reply to R. Kamushken , Oct 09, 2019

    ... around Figma

    Figma.

    0 points
  • Posted to DesignerNews is almost dead, in reply to Catalin Cimpanu , Oct 09, 2019

    Invite-only though is not the solution. Why not make Users apply instead? The way you are selling yourself online should not matter for this.

    1 point
  • Posted to DesignerNews is almost dead, in reply to Andrew C , Oct 08, 2019

    Dribbble is one of the (if not THE) most positive and pleasant outlets for designers to visit on the internet

    Are you serious? I cannot tell if this is sarcasm or not.

    Fuck that Intercom article

    I don't know about this Intercom article - can you link it please?

    ... any designer taking their work so seriously they’ll shit on others that are actually posting good and interesting designs or thought provoking concepts

    That is a bit of a misleading way of thinking about it. Because what is being posted on dribbble distorts the reality for those who consume what is posted there. And that is influencing the way they work and what they produce, which creates trends. So we should absolutely post responsibly on dribbble.

    90% of shots on dribbble are decoration. They are things made pretty. But Design is not only about making it pretty. The way it is right now I only use it to follow illustrators.

    3 points
  • Posted to The $10k Website Process: Learn to design high value websites, in reply to Ran Segall , Oct 08, 2019

    Any updates on the student work?

    0 points
  • Posted to Ask Product Designers →, in reply to Kyle Greely , Oct 08, 2019

    Good effort, but I think this is futile. I agree with you entirely, but this is just how the community works.

    0 points
  • Posted to DesignerNews is almost dead, Oct 08, 2019

    I've been saying it since forever and it is still true:

    Designers use platforms exclusively to promote themselves or their business.

    That is the big problem. If you make Platforms that evolve around attention, which increase its exposure with increasing attention to it, you will always attract a crowd that mostly sees this as an opportunity to milk the audience.


    Also, many designers do not care about this stuff. And the designers who do are busy working. Look at this "10k Website Process". They are literally trying to milk designers who don't know better. We have let this happen forever. People who praise this behaviour are contributing just as much.

    Our Design "Community" is driven by ego, money, and reinventing the same job title over and over again, just exclude someone else.


    I agree with your suggestions completely and I think they would really improve the community, but, and its a big but, it will interfere with monetization of this website. This website relies on sponsored content, ads. Nothing more. The more exposure, the more impressions. It feeds itself, because as more people come to consume the content here, so will people who intend to milk this by posting some nonsense about their mediocre icon library, 200€ Sketch Plugin and clickbait titles about shaming you who is using anything other but whatever is currently popular.

    I think you are trying to solve an issue that cannot be solved. Designernews going down is just a side effect of this issue.

    If you really wanna improve the community, designers need to stop:

    • using twitter as their main source of news
    • start making their own platforms, making their own sites instead of relying on big companies
    • find solutions themselves instead of relying on cookie cutter solutions
    • never, ever again go on dribbble or behance
    • stop stardoming people who are not actually contributing. Someone who makes something pretty is not worth it. We are all capable of making something nice to look at.
    5 points
  • Posted to Ask Product Designers →, Oct 03, 2019

    I'm guessing something is not working correctly with your build pipeline:

    • you are including the scss sourcemaps in your build, you might wanna not do that
    • you are using the Firebase development SDK, there is even a console warning about this
    • you are including readable, not-compressed javascript.

    Visually, I think it looks very vanilla.Which makes sense because Product design is all about making things look and feel similar. It's adapted trends.

    I will say though, that there the animation for the .asidenav-nav-dropdown is way to quick. It feels broken. Maybe remove the animation all together. But the way it is is right now it does not serve any purpose whatsoever.


    I find this really condescending. It perpetuates the notion that designers are only deemed successful, if they attain a following of any sorts. Sites like this only fuel this ego-driven motor of self-promotion.

    Also, these people speak from a very privileged, startup-culture-stained and large-tech funded perspective, commenting a craft that is not at all exclusive tho this. Maybe people who had to overcome technical dept, build knowledge and trust in the craft and teach people about the value of design and managed to actually push the product on a higher level should be implemented. Because the people commenting are already operating in a bubble that knows all of that. But the vast majority of people doing product design do not operate in this bubble.

    Instead they might start a job at a company who has been operating for 10 years but never had a frontend developer, only ever used agencies for design jobs, does not understand the difference between a brand and corporate culture and probably does not see the value in any of those things. So they invest themselves and teach and cultivate, long term, before they can even execute their craft properly. How about letting these people comment?

    Because at this point, every piece of content on UI/UX/Product Design has become nothing more than a circle jerk of people who love nothing more than following trends and phrasing hollow statements for best practices that are true for 20% of people who design products. All they do is keep feeding this religious idea of the esoteric product designer.

    The Rockstar/Ninja Designers is not dead, they are just being called "Product Designers" now.

    1 point
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