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Posts Tagged with “Graphic Design”

Post 29: Designing Helpful Interfaces

Untitled-2Good interface designs should in theory help the customer complete a specific task with ease. For that to happen, the designer needs to understand what the task is the customer is trying to complete intimately, including understanding any potential potholes or things that might throw the customer off course.

Above are some screen grabs of our ‘Edit Card’ screen. This isn’t live yet, but I decided to take a stab at improving it based on my own assumptions of how a customer might move through it.


Adding & Explaining Something New

Displaying a persons work availability is something that has come up as an important feature in our user tests. It is however a new idea that if viewing for the first time, will likely not be 100% clear what it is/does.

To cater for this, I pulled the part of the form where you set your availability out of the main form and put it on its own to show that is it important/new. Beneath it there is also a short description of what this actually does/means.

There’s no data yet on how this design preforms, but I’ll follow up down the track when we find out.





An Email About The Design Industry

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.29.31 am


I wrote this to a friend this morning and wanted to share it because I hear these topics talked about all the time. The text from the screenshot above and ‘*’ on ‘Understanding’ is below.


Hard to know what roles they are thinking about filling, but I wouldn’t be surprised if their were jobs in the industry that weren’t being filled by the output of the education system here. The gap between industry and education is every widening.
I believe that we are at a really unique time in the design (specifically graphic) industries history.
Demand to be a designer and ‘work from home‘ + abundance of courses teaching design + access to design hardware and software +wider community understanding* (thanks Steve & Apple)  = Over supply of designers, many under qualified.
Key points that concern me about the Australian design industry:
1. Most People Speak Different Languages
(Generally speaking) Design and business are still talking to each other in different languages. Firms like IDEO, Frog & Tank don’t make this mistake. This is where value is miss-understood. Design effectiveness isn’t measured. That’s insane.
2. Digital Design & Education
(At a graphic design level) Digital design is extremely underrepresented in the curriculum’s of most education providers.
3Design & Business Education
The number of students that are graduating without adequate business skills is remarkable. Our industry is unique because even before you start your formal training you can begin freelancing or running your own business. Unlike law or medicine you don’t need any formal qualifications to be a practicing graphic designer. You also don’t need to complete any work experience. This means we have lots of students graduating and starting their own ‘Motherbird’ studio without any idea of how to charge clients or manage projects or understand billable hours.
I’m not convinced that forcing students to complete industry practice is the right way to go (although it would help). I’d rather see a much larger investment in educating our students about running a business and helping them understand that we are in a service industry. The market is impartial. It doesn’t care if we can’t manage our own time.


*Understanding: this is still relatively low. People look at Apple products and launch events and understand that design is somehow linked to increase value, but I’m not convinced that they understand why or when to use design.

Post 7: First Deck Mock-up


Yesterday I decided to build a few screen that would tell my own professional story. This was a good process, it uncovered a bunch of fundamental questions about the structure of the product which I’ll share later.

I’ve been playing with colours and type for the last 2 hours and it’s been pissing me off, so I just decided to grab some .png’s and share them for feedback.


Keep in mind, at this point I’m not interested in the colours and overall UI. I’m interested to see if any of these parts or screens interest you. What makes sense, what doesn’t etc.

All the information in these screens is correct.

(This is the 7th post in a series as I explore some digital product ideas for 30 days. All my work is being published here on my blog. Click here to read the other posts, scroll down.)

Post 6: UI Development


With consumer tech products, actually all tech products, I think it’s important that the customer (user) can look at something and have an idea of how to use it or how it should work. App’s like Clear have certainly done it differently (and it’s worked well for them).

Today I’ve been developing some screens of a basic profile, trying to get it to a point where the customer would understand that:

  1. They are looking at a Profile Card
  2. They can swipe left or right to find a new Profile Card
  3. Their are 13 more cards ‘under’ this Profile Card that can be revelled



You can see here how I developed this UI in a couple of hours. The objective is still just to make something that can be shown to potential customers to see how they feel about the mock-ups. Is it confusing or making some kind of sense?



It was this UI from Clique (by Focus Lab, NYC), that Marc shared with me on Twitter, that I used inspiration for the UI direction (thanks Marc).

That’s all for now 🙂 Feel free to leave comments & feedback below or hit my up on Twitter or email.

UPDATE: There was some feedback on Twitter that it wasn’t obvious that you could swipe the cards left and right. I’ve just reduced the size of the main card and added a small preview of the edge of the next cards to make that a bit more obvious.


(This is the 6th post in a series as I explore some digital product ideas for 30 days. All my work is being published here on my blog. Click here to read the other posts, scroll down.)



Post 5: Graphic Design Resume Survey

Last week I asked for some examples of resumes from graphic designers. I was interested to see how people were categorising and presenting their professional lives, what information did they include and what did the exclude, what was the average number of pages etc.?

My thinking here is that my findings could act as a guide for what ‘cards’ to include in someones professional ‘deck’ (see Post 3).

Below is a screen shot of the spreadsheet I created with the results.

Graphic Design Resumes

I looked at 6 surveys from male and female graphic designers from Australia and America. NB: Green indicates that the section was included in the resume. Red indicates it was excluded and the text is how the person labeled that section in their resume.

Some Key Points

  •  For me, the most simple and easy to read were only 1 page in length. Anything over started to get a bit complex. The average number of pages was 1.8. 
  • There were common categories with only 2 of the 8 appearing on all 6 resumes. (They were ‘Design Experience’ & ‘Education’. 
  • The 9 most common categories were:
  1. Bio/About
  2. Design Experience
  3. Education
  4. Technical Skills
  5. Events Attended
  6. Referees
  7. Interests
  8. Exhibitions / Awards
  9. Other

I’ve found this information really interesting. It gives me a basis for the potential architecture of the product (if it continues in this direction).

It’s possible that all new users of the product would have these 9 ‘cards’ available to them for free.

One thing to keep in mind is that a resume from a designer would almost always come with a folio, so it’s reasonable to assume that there would need to be ‘folio card’ in there too.

I’d love to increase the sample size, so if you’re happy for me to read your resume, please email me:

(I’m currently spending 30 days exploring some digital product ideas. All my work is being published here on my blog. Click here to read the other posts, scroll down.)


Post 1: Day 2 of Product Development


Yesterday I wrote that I was starting to explore some ideas from the last 4 years that had started to connect.

Below are some screen grabs / mock-up’s I made today based on some resumes I was sent via Twitter and answers to this Google survey from my friend Carlos from Studio Fellow.

As I said to Carlos today, I’ve no idea what I’m actually building here. Just making things and connecting the dots.

But here are a couple of observations & thoughts that are relevant:

  1. Over the past 12 months, the number of designers that have joined LinkedIn, and/or have started using and updating the application, to my eye’s, has increased significantly.
  2. The are many great services where creative types can display their work online (The Loop, Behance, Dribbble, Cargo Collective etc.) and they all offer varying levels of social interaction.
  3. Until recently, none of them were doing mobile particularly well.
  4. LinkedIn seems to be lacking a ‘verification’ element to it. Anyone can have worked anywhere. This is not their fault, its a huge/complex problem.

I’m wondering if there is a need for some kind of mobile professional network for people who don’t fit in the LinkedIn basket?

We (the professionals who aren’t in suits and don’t have MBA’s) have so many online touch points that blur the boundary between personal and work life (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Dribbble) that perhaps there should be a network that understands this and designs for it?

I see my own and others professional lives as a deck of cards. It’s made up of a) who you are & b) what you’ve done/what you do. One face card and many numbers cards if you will.

All just fuzzy grey thoughts right now.

Notes on Mockups:
I’ve been using the Entypo Icon Set for all the icons here and I’ve referencing the current Twitter UI for iOS and Behance app UI. The objective is just to bring the idea to life as quickly as possible and make it feel like a real thing.



Connecting The Dots

In his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forwards, you can only connect them looking backwards.”

It’s been almost 5 years since I naively started my first online venture. ‘Mobile’ wasn’t ‘A Thing’, very few Australian’s Tweeted, and the word Selfie didn’t exist.

Right now I am continuing to work on my current company and also doing various consulting work for some great clients – but recently there have been all sorts of dots that have started to connect for me and I’m starting to explore what, if anything the mean.

It could all be nothing, or it could be something.

Either way, I’ve decided to share the ‘connecting dot exploration’ here on my blog as a way of personally documenting the process and maybe also creating some value to anyone else who is trying to connect their own dots.

I’ll write some more about the dots soon, but in the mean time, here are some sketches and mock-ups of the ideas that I’ve been having.




Printing Companies Should Become Development Companies


The phrase “A product is what a product does”, was first introduced to me in my 3rd year of university. My then lecturers claim was that most businesses don’t understand what their product actually is and this mistake ends up killing a lot of once successful companies.

The example given was of the now almost dead, Blockbuster video. “What is Blockbusters product?”, he would ask. We would eagerly answer, “DVD’s and video!” Of course we were wrong. The product Blockbuster was in fact selling was the thing DVD’s and videos did which was provide in-home entertainment to people.

Blockbuster sold in-home entertainment, not DVD’s. A product is what a product does.

I recently caught up with someone who works for a large Australian printing company. The person complained that business was slow and drying up. Immediately I wondered what a printers product is if it isn’t paper and ink. So I asked the question, what do printers products do?

Well, printers do a few key things:

  • Manage the often complex and messy process of taking artwork specified by designers and producing high quality final outcomes
  • Manage shipping and logistics
  • Provide specific expertise in production methods

It became quickly apparent that none of these points were specific to the printing industry and that there was another industry doing almost exactly the same thing in a different medium already. Digital development companies.

Think about any digital development company that builds websites. The overall process of working with one from a designers point of view is not that dissimilar to dealing with a printer: you come up with a design > send it to them with some instructions > they deal with the messy stuff > you pay them and you get the finished product to hand to your client.

Essentially development companies, ‘print’ websites and apps. They are modern day printers.

I think there is a good argument to be made for established print companies like Finsbury and Bambra Press (Australia) to consider making a move towards offering digital development/production services to ensure their business remains relvant.