The first Break Conference is over. All done until next year (fingers crossed). Was it good? yes it was. Very good in fact. Was it eclectic? again, yes. But this, I felt, was a good thing. Every day I’m neck deep designing and building for the web, so it was a refreshing break to spend a day listening to insights from speakers on product and print design. If you were there, you know what I mean. If you weren’t I’ve added my notes below. I hope they make sense.
Sarah Richards sarahjrichards.com
- Simpler, clearer and faster. These are the guiding design principles for Gov.uk.
- Start with needs. User needs not government needs.
- Gov.uk design principles.
- Good rule of thumb: Use the 80–20 rule when content culling.
- When analysing content think of the user. What content are they most likely looking for?
- Example: Gov.uk restructured their bank holiday listing page to highlight the next holiday. This was the information the user really needed. They’re not looking for every holiday date, only the next.
- Iterative, responsive change based on real user needs is at the heart of everything Gov.uk do.
- The user. Always remember you’re designing for the user and their needs.
- Have you identified your user? Specifically, exactly, precisely. Who is he or she?
Nicolas Roope pokelondon.com
- Make better things. Make things better.
- Think about what the reality is for the user who you are designing for? Reference this when considering a design solution.
- Extract what’s important to the user from the problem.
- Design should be used as a tool to enable the user to complete tasks with ease.
- Example: Mulberry checkout experience. The majority of project budget was spent improving the checkout experience.
- Mulberry understand their brand is experienced through using their website. The customer experience matters. Make sure the experience is great for the customer.
- Regards product design Steve Jobs understood it’s the why not the what?
- Why should the product exist? To satisfy a user need.
- Steve Jobs, Stanley Kubrick, James Dyson, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), all understood how to make a great product. Although through their methods they’re often misunderstood as dictator types.
- Branding is a users experience with your product.
- Nike Fuel is an example of a product that was nicely designed and smartly marketed but ultimately failed. Why? The product had no real user need.
- The advantage of the start-up company: one vision, one goal. An idea that the collective believes in.
- IKEA effect If you build it then you will like it more.
- Thought: The bulb, an object associated with Ideas but the reality is it’s form is very much lacking in originality and innovation.
Hamish Muir hamishmuir.com
- Interested in form and language as applied to graphic design.
- Important to view your work in context. For Hamish this meant observing how effective his posters were when viewed on walls around his city.
- Crowell’s brief: use only Futura, create a face for the museum. Led to working closely with Futura for 5 years.
- Nobody talks about how things are made.
- Hamish felt in relative terms the A1 format is quite small and restrictive. Thought about how this medium could be extended. His solution was to use depth. Imply a 3rd dimension.
- Form is always a result of conditions and technology. Example: the first pixel fonts.
- Hamish often finds interesting visual solutions by restricting his work by using underlying numeric systems.
- Example: all type sizes relate to each other. The proportions of each relate, for example 1:2, 1:3. This forms an under lying design system.
- Process is important, we don’t get to see it very often.
Dan Rubin danrubin.is
- If thinking is an intellectual response to a problem, then the absence of a problem leads to the absence of thinking.
- If you believe your product is already great, then you’re not going to give much thought to how you can make it better.
- Focus on the people you are making things for. What do they really need?
- Why did Color app fail? Their promise was not related to the reality of using the app
- Transparency is important.
- Everlane is a good example of a company practicing honest communication. They are very open about their production costs. Here’s all the costs and here’s what we charge you.
- Why is it so hard to be honest?
- You need to make a promise you can actually fulfill…if your promise is too great you erode trust.
- Disney are the masters at experience design.
Jane ni Dhulchaointigh Sugru
- The magic is in the process.
- It’s Important to share your ups and downs.
- Creatively respond to people’s needs. Design is about solving people’s problems.
- You don’t need to be an expert. Learn as you go. Jane had a good product idea but had to figure out how to make it real. She needed to learn about business and science.
- Nobody else will care as much as you about your idea.
- Don’t plan to be huge straight away. Start small and make it good.
- Social proof. You need real world examples of your work. You can’t just say you’re great, you need to prove it.
- How do your customers feel about you? This is branding.
- Sugru epitomise start-up culture. As a company they really believe in what they are doing.
- New branding evolved as product has evolved. Iterate. Design is never finished.
Alex Klein kano.me
- The best way to learn is through play and experimentation.
- You don’t have to be an expert. Learn as you go.
Adrian Shaughnessy uniteditions.com
- Regarding client driven work it’s hard to have full control and create really great work. This led Adrian to reflect on what other things he could do with his skills. Which led to writing. Which led to Unit Editions.
- All design begins with research.
- The nature of graphic design is changing hugely.
- Social media is hugely important to Unit Editions. The ability to communicate directly with a market is a huge advantage.
- FHK Henrion first graphic designer to really understand publicity and how to use it to his advantage.
Peter Smart petersmart.co.uk
- Driven by innovation through user-centered design.
- Worth remembering that we’re in the first minutes of the first day of the internet revolution.
- The future of the web is tangible. Haptics will be used to improve communication.
- The future of the web is connected devices which can communicate with each other.
- The future of the web is invisible.