Week 7 - 1 December 2019

A week of milestones! We managed to launch both our new homepage and our new cremation product. Being able to find all of our services on one website feels like an important step towards being the first proper brand for death.

A few people said I should write a blog post about the workshops I ran to define the structure of these new pages. I started, but then felt so immensely bored reading it back. Yet another blog post from a ux/ui/product/interaction/whatever designer about how great workshops are… not a thing the internet needs. I might pick it back up again if I find a better angle.

Coming to the end of the year feels a bit like coming up for air. A bit more space to think about things other than the bit of work directly in front of us. Myself and Tom H are taking the opportunity to better define how design should work at Farewill. On a cycle this morning I mentally noted three points I think could be pertinent:

• User centered perspective

• Reduce complexity

• Outcome not output

Writing them down and reading them back now they feel broad. Too broad? I’m not sure.

I’ve also been thinking about the idea of a ‘design practice’ recently, and how that dovetails with working in-house for an organisation. Is it possible to have a defined ‘practice’ (a distinctive viewpoint / methodology) without being your own boss - or are you destined to get swallowed by the flow of objectives, brand, kpis, etc etc etc.

I’m hopeful that that’s not the case - as I’ve said before in these notes one of the best things about our design team (I think) is the range of perspectives and areas of expertise. It feels like difference runs contrary to the things organisations pick up as they grow, like progression frameworks and how hiring is done amongst other stuff. I’m wondering how you formalise difference in a team, and nurture it.

I finished reading A New Program for Graphic Design this weekend. It feels like the sort of book I’ll come back to again and again. I’m going to leave this extract, describing a way of thinking about graphic design, here for myself to come back to:

“Graphic design can be taught as simply a set of skills, emphasizing only mechanical and technical facility. But that’s selling it short. Instead, graphic design can be treated as a liberal art, by which I mean a subject to study, a body of knowledge that, when mastered, informs everything you think about. Perhaps it’s the most liberal of arts - it has no real subject matter of its own, and graphic design is always working with outside content. It’s a method applied to working with other subjects. In some ways, as a discipline, it is unmoored; free. I’ve heard it usefully, if circularly, described as “the discipline without the discipline of another discipline.”

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