The slides from Yesenia’s talk on scenario-driven design.
Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
Friday, September 8th, 2017
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
The accompanying video lists the design principles:
- Elevate our status
- Surprise & inspire
- Change perceptions
- Do good things
- Be unmistakably Wales
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
After Clearleft’s recent rebranding, I’m really interested in Happy Cog’s redesign process:
In the near future we’ll be rolling out a new website, followed by a rebrand of Cognition, our blog. As the identity is tested against applications, much of what’s here may change. Nothing is set in stone.
Saturday, January 21st, 2017
Having spent half a decade encouraging people to make their pattern libraries public and doing my best to encourage openness and sharing, I find this kind of styleguide-shaming quite disheartening:
These all offer something different but more often than not they have something in common. They look ugly enough to have been designed by someone who enjoys configuring a router.
If a pattern library is intended to inspire, then make it inspiring. But if it’s intended to be an ever-changing codebase (made for and by the kind of people who enjoy configuring a router), then that’s where the effort and time should be concentrated.
But before designing anything—whether it’s a website or a pattern library—figure out who the audience is first.
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
Friday, October 28th, 2016
Jamie Zawinski tells the story of how John Carpenter’s They Live led to Shepard Fairey’s Obey Giant which led to Mozilla’s logo.
So that was the time that I somehow convinced a multi-billion dollar corporation to give away the source code to their flagship product and re-brand it using propaganda art by the world’s most notorious graffiti artist.
Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Mozilla are updating their brand identity and they’re doing it in the open. A brave, but fascinating move.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015
This Eno-esque deck of cards by Scott could prove very useful for a lot of Clearleft projects.
Monday, July 7th, 2014
Words of wisdom from Scott on the clash of brand guidelines and the flexible nature of the web:
One thing I am pretty sure of though, is that having a fast, accessible, user-friendly site can reflect incredibly well on a company, and I’d love to see more guidelines and expectations that prioritize these aspects of a service as branding requirements in addition to the usual visual details.
Monday, March 26th, 2012
The hitherto unnoticed connection between the names of Android phones and the names of condoms.
Monday, January 30th, 2012
A five year old provides a few remarks on some popular logos. Cute!
Thursday, August 25th, 2011
Stewart Brand wrote this twelve years ago: it’s more relevant than ever in today’s cloud-worshipping climate.
I’d like to think that it’s ironic that I’m linking to The Wayback Machine because the original URL for this essay is dead. But it isn’t ironic, it’s horrific.
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
Superb in-depth analysis of Ryanair’s website dark patterns and nasty brand strategy.
Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Here’s a gem from the past: a thoroughly fascinating and gripping interview with Paul Baran by Stewart Brand. It’s thrilling stuff—I got goosebumps.
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Paul takes an in-depth look at the new BBC design guidelines.
Monday, September 28th, 2009
In search of typographical consistency in government departments.
Monday, June 29th, 2009
Beyond the personal annual report; it's the personal brand identity guidelines.
Sunday, February 15th, 2009
Detailed instructions for a delicious-sounding meal from a fellow Brightonian.
Thursday, April 17th, 2008
User Experience vs. Brand Experience
I’m at the Future of Web Design in London and figured I’d pass the time with some live blogging.
Right now there’s a session somewhat in the same vein as last year’s Flash vs. CSS face-off. This time it’s brand experience vs. user experience. And just as with last year’s supposed battle, the truth comes out pretty early on that actually they should work in perfect harmony.
Steve Pearce is on first, fumbling with his Mac setup and mumbling about the importance of user experience but hammering home that brand and user should be in agreement. He’s illustrating this point with some cute cartoons.
The interactive experience is like an iceberg apparently. An experience iceberg. The visual part sits above the surface (what most people see) but the main part (that people interact with) is below the surface. We spend too long focusing on the bit above the surface. It doesn’t matter how much you polish the visible bit if it’s a wreck underneath. Basically, you can’t polish a turd …or a turdy iceberg. Instead we should work on the experience, which is the stuff under the surface. The reason we should work on this is that users will spread the word about good and bad experiences.
At this point, Steve mentions social objects, misattributing the term to Hugh instead of Jyri. I don’t quite see the connection with social objects unless he’s trying to say that any good user experience is automatically a social object because people will talk about it with their friends. That’s not quite my understanding of social objects. Can I include the term social object in every sentence I write? Possibly (social objects).
Don’t work too much on the surface: work on the experience underneath. That’s Steve’s takeaway point.
Now Andy is up to talk about the importance of brand. To demonstrate his point, he will refer to classic British comedy acts like Morecambe and Wise.
Andy makes the point that branding isn’t about what’s up on the billboards. It’s more about the experience and emotional attachment. Think Starbucks. Think Twitter.
Quoting Seth Godin, Andy says that a brand is really about getting people talking to each other. You know, the viral thing.
Now for an Eric Morecambe interlude. There is a connection though. In the past, everyone used to watch the same television shows and share the experience. There were far more people watching the Morecambe and Wise Christmas special than the most-watched TV programme today. Back then we consumed media in a very different way. These days it’s harder to reach those numbers and create something that spreads so widely. Back to the Eric Morecambe jokes now.
Andy plugs Dan’s book. Instead of thinking of systems-centred design, we can practice user-centred design. What if we make people something they love emotionally instead of asking them what they want? This is reminding me of Henry Ford’s quote that
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.
Then there’s activity-centred design. Look at what people do instead of asking them.
Finally, there’s genius design. This is the Apple approach. You create something that you think is going to be fantastic and the user will then tell you if you were right. But you mustn’t fear failure otherwise you will never release anything risky. Yes, it’s the old “learn from your mistakes” lesson.
Andy likes the idea of inspired design. A usable design need not be a safe design.
Design should be more like one-liners from Eric Morecambe. That’s his takeaway point.
An awkward silence follows. Our compére, Paul Boag kicks off the Q and A by asking
C’mon, it’s all good and well to say it’s okay to fail and learn from our mistakes, but I don’t think our clients would like that very much!
Steve says that a beta testing period is a good time to fail. You can then learn from your mistakes and still improve the product. It’s humbling to learn that we don’t know what users want.
Andy says this what we hired for—to create and experiment and sometimes fail. Otherwise we’re just painting by numbers.
Steve says creating great work requires a great client.
Next question: is there any way of measuring the value of user experience?
Steve says you can measure it by how much people talk about it. But there’s no magic bullet for measuring it.
The next question may or not be about inspiration. The advice from the panel is not to create Frankenstein designs by mashing up the best bits of other sites. Those bits don’t work so well out of context. That may or may not answer the question.
Now a question about roles and who should be doing what. Silos are bad, mmkay? Engineers, designers, developers …who calls the shots? Andy insists on doing his own wireframes. He also designs using HTML and CSS. He doesn’t want to get bogged down in process. Who wants to spend their answering Basecamp messages. Steve reminds us that design is about solving problems and that isn’t the exclusive domain of designers—engineers are good at that too.
And with that, Paul kicks them off the stage.