Growing a design team: Hire slow. Fire fast.

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Growing a design team: Hire slow. Fire fast.

I joined a group of DBA (Design Business Association) members in Bristol this week, for a discussion about business growth. A panel from Kinneir Dufort, Taxi Studio and Workbrands shared their experiences, reflections and words of wisdom. 

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Design Thinking for pre-starts

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Design Thinking for pre-starts

Applying a design thinking approach with pre-starts introduces the culture of rapid prototyping, being user-centered and visualising various aspect of the journey ahead. It’s not just valuable for mapping-out and managing the product and service development, but also for working through scenarios for the company structure and what success will look like at different stages. In this way, design thinking approaches were applied across this group in a variety of ways for each of the people involved.

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Makers working with manufacturers

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Makers working with manufacturers

Making small batches of products yourself as a maker can quickly reach its limits. To achieve greater scale, suitable manufacturers need to be found and briefed. Whilst you may think this would be a straight forward process, it often isn’t...

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Design strategies at The Cycle Show

Many new cycling products and brands are less about Lycra and more about style and culture. I wandered through The Cycle Show looking for design stories. Here are four that show the breadth of business opportunities and design strategies in this growing market.

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Too green for you?

With increased legislation on the use and disposal of materials; increased expectation of environmental performance in supply chains and procurement; new markets that seek low energy solutions and new technologies; reputational gains for those businesses that value health and well-being; and new areas of innovation for those that can see the potential in facing the long-term global realities, sustainability is not about targeting a consumer niche.

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Diversity = Creativity

Embracing diversity in all sorts of ways is particularly vital for the design industry, because diversity fuels creativity. It leads to better decisions and a greater level of problem solving.

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Design Pitches Part 02 - Selling the Value of Design

Clients don’t need cheap design and they don’t want expensive design. They need design services that give them value for money and return on their investment. And whilst I don’t know any creative people that relish the idea of making a ‘business case’ for their talents, it helps clients understand what you do and will improve your chances of winning projects.

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Design Pitches Part 01 - The Practicalities

As a Design Manager I have organised hundreds of pitch meetings, so designers ask me: “what makes a good pitch?” Despite not having a magic formula for winning projects, there are approaches I see that consistently work well. In a short series of three articles I’ll outline those common traits.

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Design Practice: Rethinking plastics

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Design Practice: Rethinking plastics

Plastic is an amazing material. Arguably the birth of modern plastics came in 1907 with the invention of Bakelite - the first synthetic plastic to be derived not from plants or animals, but from fossil fuels. A wave of now-familiar synthetic plastics followed - polystyrene (1929), polyester (1930), polyvinylchloride (PVC) and polythene (1933) and nylon (1935). But due to the 20th Century upsides of its durability and widespread use, we are now facing the 21st Century downsides of the substantial impacts of plastic waste.

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Buying design services

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Buying design services

Whenever there is a group of designers in a room, the difficulties of dealing with clients is a common enough conversation. But, what isn’t discussed as often is the flip-side of how difficult it can be for clients to work with designers, buy design services, find professional designers and get the results that great design brings to any business. There are a whole variety of reasons, but one factor is the sheer range of design services that are out there to choose from. Businesses need all sorts of design, but knowing which design agency might be the best one to work with is not easy.

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Graphic Designers Surveyed: clients, communication and creativity

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Graphic Designers Surveyed: clients, communication and creativity

Independent publishing company GraphicDesign& has launched its latest title: Graphic Designers Surveyed. The book provides fascinating insights (beautifully presented) about the industry through the responses of 1,988 graphic designers from the UK and US. The multiple-choice questions resulted in data about gender, pay, hours, specialisms, interns, awards and more. As a Design Manager, the ones that caught my particular interest related to the selling or promoting of design services and the relationships with clients.

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Design Thinking: Making Time for Creativity

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Design Thinking: Making Time for Creativity

As a potter, I was very pleased to catch the ‘Free Time’ exhibition at Poole Museum, here in the UK, on the creative processes at the Poole Pottery (originally known as ‘Carter, Stabler and Adams’ when designers Harold and Phoebe Stabler and potters John and Truda Carter brought creative impetuous into the business in 1921).

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Design Management: focusing on the essential

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Design Management: focusing on the essential

As a new year gets started, it’s a great time to remind yourself of the road ahead and the destination you’re working toward. Design projects and design agencies can lose their way in the day-to-day details, particularly when we are busy and more easily distracted. Priorities can shift and become confused. Energy and motivation can lapse as everything gets stretched.

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Creative Strategy: notes from Silicon Beach 2015

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Creative Strategy: notes from Silicon Beach 2015

Delighted to attend the Silicon Beach event in Bournemouth, UK, last week. Two days of great speakers sharing their passions and insights on creative strategy, brands and digital innovation. Here are the notes I made. If you haven’t been to this annual gathering, I would encourage you to look out for it next year and book early.

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Design management and change management

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Design management and change management

Any design project is about facilitating change. Whether a business needs a new identity, a new product, or a new online service model, a good result is based on firstly understanding the problems with the current situation. Then by clarifying the benefits of a desired destination, the processes and resources can be put into place to head in that direction.

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