Input is a flexible system of fonts designed specifically for code by David Jonathan Ross. It offers both monospaced and proportional fonts, all with a large range of widths, weights, and styles for richer code formatting.
I’m incredibly proud to announce that my primary client over the past year, Appurify, is joining Google. Appurify is a brilliant cloud platform for testing/optimizing iOS and Android apps, and designing/developing the interface over the past year has been a joy. I couldn’t imagine a better outcome for the team.
As a part of the transition, I’m happy to say Google asked that I join the team full time—and, after some consideration—I said yes. I started yesterday and am very excited see what the future holds.
Joey Lomanto on an irritating trend in the design community for designers to put other (often newcomer) designers down:
Who are we to define the wrong and right ways to experiment and grow? You have to put in your 10,000 hours somehow and I’m not going to slap a label on anyone who’s passionate enough to work towards their goals. Is a hockey player not a hockey player unless they’re in the NHL? Or maybe a musician isn’t a musician unless they’ve released an album? What defines us shouldn’t be our accomplishments or status but rather simply what we practice.
Mills Baker presents an interesting essay on design’s role within startups, how it has evolved over the past few years, and whether “pretty” is enough of a differentiating feature to create success. While I don’t agree with all of the conclusions made—eg. citing Medium or Square as any sort of failure seems somewhat premature—I do agree with the general basic sentiment: Design goes far beyond UI and UX (even with all those lovely animations).
To me, though, this is not a problem “designers” face as much as it is a company culture problem. Yes, designers have been given a seat at the table, but which table and how many other seats are around it? In most early stage startups I consult for, there is no “executive” team member responsible for design. This means that all high-level strategic planning, even product planning, is done by a combination of CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, and investors. Many of these startups have a “creative director,” who will ensure a company’s brand resonates with its advertising, product, and communications—but is, at the same time, not consulted for actual strategic input. As these startups mature and grow in size, they will sometimes bring in a VP Design, often when their creative director’s daily responsibilities become too much to balance against interfacing with the executive team. Now, truly, design has a seat at the table; but so do a whole new batch of board members, COOs, and VPs. It’s already too late.
Designing, to a great degree, is an act of empathy. It requires an understanding of psychology, emotion, and relationships. It is of great mystery to me why this role is not considered fundamental when discussing strategy. Questions around pricing/licensing models, partnership opportunities, and even enterprise sales approach would all be better answered with a knowledgable, experienced designer in the room.
To this end, I’d love to see more startups embrace the role of CCO (Chief Creative Officer) from the beginning. The name itself implies an equality with CEOs and CTOs (both of which are common positions in 2-5 person startups), which I believe helps ensure their ideas are valued on strategic matters. Adding this role at the beginning signals to future employees (and customers) that the company not only values design, but a creative, human approach to doing business. This is the real “design” that unfortunately, in most cases, is still stuck in the high chair.
The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial.
Matt Gemmell writes beautifully on one of my favorite topics:
Eventually, I began allowing myself to acknowledge what I’d always inwardly known: that there’s no higher purpose than making an emotional connection with another person. That the success of an endeavour isn’t in the broad strokes and metrics – the sales, or downloads, or ratings, or comments or whatever else – but in the myriad individual moments where someone would be briefly touched, or empowered. Ephemeral, unmeasurable, rarely reported. But critical.
“The mental gymnastics are especially tricky if you’ve built a career from people seeing your work, reading your words, and following along on your adventures. I have many friends that are awkwardly uncomfortable with their audiences. I am, too.”—Frank Chimero, This One’s for Me
StartupsAnonymous is a place for startup founders, employees and investors to candidly share their stories, ask/answer questions and vent.
Similar to the recent iOS hit, Secret, StartupsAnonymous shows that anonymity can be a powerful tool in allowing people to be open and authentic—a refreshing concept in a world of self-promotional social media. I highly recommend this blog to any aspiring or early-stage founders; it shows a side of startups rarely seen in the press.
A cautionary tale of what can (and often does) happen after a company takes it’s second round of financing. I have watched this happen several times, and can’t recommend this article enough for early to mid-stage entrepreneurs. For a more constructive take on the issue, I also recommend The Series B Trap and How to Avoid It (also from Pando, they’ve been killing it lately).
If I didn’t know any better, I’d say standards bodies and browsers (those responsibility for crafting/implementing CSS) are starting to care about designers. Another big win from the Adobe Web Platform team.