Dear Design Student, we’re here to help.

Design can be a difficult job to get a hang of. There are no apprenticeships, hardly any mentors, and people guard their experience jealously because it’s a competitive advantage.

Now there’s Dear Design Student, a new publication featuring working designers (including yours truly) who take the time to answer the questions that have been on your mind. The writing team includes Erika Hall, Jennifer Daniel, Dan Mall, Mike Monteiro, and Liam Campbell — all very talented people with a wealth of experience to share.

If you’ve got questions about the business and practice of design, head on over and ask a question.

 

Building Sustainable User Personas

We’ve done a lot of work over the last 12 months for sporting codes, energy companies and banks. (Maybe plural is overselling it. It was one of each.)

As part of that we built user personas.

Creating user personas is hard work but totally worthwhile. They give us a sense of who it is we’re really designing for: an audience to target. They help us ask questions like: “Is Jamie interested in getting the latest scores while at his desk?” and “How important is it that Sonja see an incident report immediately.”

The personas help us make the myriad decisions that we might not otherwise be equipped to make. They boost our empathy.

But there’s a hole that clients and colleagues often fall into when it comes time to create personas. Read more

Know your giants.

If we want to build, we have to know about our foundations.

The standard of work was very high at last week’s graduate exhibition for the Tractor Design School in Melbourne.  Some of it was exceptional. Tractor is getting good work from its students and, obviously, from its faculty.

I asked the graduates I spoke to the same series of questions I always ask young designers: What are you excited about? Where do you think the next three years will take you? Which designers have been an influence on you so far?

The last question always flummoxes people. Only one graduate had an answer for that question. That’s not good enough. It’s akin to saying you want to be a writer but haven’t read a work of Shakespeare, or a physicist who can’t be bothered learning the rules of thermodynamics. Read more

When our clients win awards, we’ve done our job.

ANZ-shareholder-centre

This might surprise you, but we at Floate don’t really like design awards. We no longer enter them because our work isn’t meant to impress other designers: It solves problems for our clients and for their customers, stakeholders, and employees.

The only awards that matter to us are the ones that our clients win.

With that, we congratulate ANZ, our long-standing client, for winning the award for the Best Investor Relations Website by an Australasian Company at last week’s AIRA Awards.

When we began work with ANZ on the overhaul on their Shareholder Centre, it was always our intention to create the single best Shareholder site in the country—a site that communicated with large and small shareholders alike.

ANZ Shareholders have seen the difference, and now Australia’s organisation for best practise in investor relations has recognised ANZ’s efforts.

That means we’re doing our job properly, and that’s enough for us.

Does your organisation want to communicate with shareholders and other stakeholders in a meaningful way? We can help.

We need Hookturn now, more than ever.

Features to be significantly changed. Decommissioning of 360documentaries, Hindsight, Encounter, Into the Music and Poetica… One possible redundancy with the merging of Books and Arts Daily and the Weekend Arts teams… By Design and RN First Bite to be axed.”

The Guardian lists some of the casualties of the ABC funding cuts.

As our government literally decimates the national broadcaster, I’m even more conscious of the need for the ongoing telling of Australian stories in whichever way we can.

We take a lot of pride in where we come from. As Melburnians we’re constitutionally required to be parochial. Once every 18 months or so I travel to New York City and I marvel at its inhabitants’ parochialism. They put us to shame. I’ve travelled to Austin, which has the unique position of being a parochial enclave inside of Texas, itself probably the most parochial place in the world.

I’m speaking about parochialism as a virtue, which opposes my personal economic beliefs for globalisation. But the two concepts can and should co-exist. Read more