design

Sticks in the ground

Last year I often walked past this skyscraper being built by Blackfriars bridge in London. A few times I stopped to take a photograph of the progress of the building work.

One Blackfriers, London

Like most of the modern London skyline it doesn’t pay much attention to anything around it. Continue reading…

Anxiety labels and emotional needs

Golconda by Magritte

Golconda by Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte

I have a print of the painting Golconda by Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte (1898 – 1967) framed on my bedroom wall at home.

The painting is composed of men, nearly identical to each other, all dressed in bowler hats and floating in the air. Continue reading…

Mark making and broad strokes (learning to throw out your toolbox)

White Cross, Lancaster

White Cross, home to Lancaster School of Art and Design in 1997 (now relocated to Lancaster & Morecambe College)

20 years ago (in September 1997) I went to my local art college to enrol on a one year art and design foundation course. In the UK this is still the route many designers take from school to university at the start of their careers. Continue reading…

Repainting the road markings

An updated story from my Refresh Edinburgh talk in 2012.

Have you ever noticed how road markings, the yellow and white lines painted on the ground, fade and crack over time? They end up looking messy and slowly deteriorate until they’re painted again. Continue reading…

Small moments of joy in design

Forton Services Lancaster

Forton services, Lancaster

This is Forton services on the M6 motorway (highway) in the North of England. It always makes me smile.

It has an hexagonal concrete tower (grade II listed in 2012 according to Wikipedia). This was designed to look like an air traffic control tower originally housing an up market restaurant and sun deck with views to Morecambe bay. Continue reading…

Why we hire design specialists

What is the user need?

A relentless focus on the people we’re designing for.

At DWP Digital we hire specialists to help us deliver user-centred design. Up until now we’ve focussed on interaction design, content design, user research and front-end development. Continue reading…

The art of design leadership

Manipulating time and space - The Second Doctor

Manipulating space and time – The Second Doctor

Design leaders are still designers, but they design different things. Teams, processes, and culture – Kim Goodwin, Leading Design conference, London (2016)

Design leadership is making sure that other people have as much space and time to do their best possible work. Continue reading…

Culture is like good design…

It’s the things you’re prepared to notice.

It’s a million small actions or the individual details that someone choose to care about.

Design at its best frames the unusual and celebrates diversity. Its mistakes make it human. Continue reading…

The hard line of complexity

Image – hollidaypics

This is my prediction for what I’ll be thinking about and focussing on more in 2017.

We complicate things and we do so most of the time. All progress depends on finding ways to side step the complexity we create at every opportunity. Continue reading…

Having an opinion

Up until about 3 years ago I wasn’t a regular blogger.

I’ve come to realise that I was afraid to share anything that might sound too much like a personal opinion, especially if that meant people disagreeing with me.

As I’ve published more, my confidence to write and share what I really think has increased. Continue reading…