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Ben Holliday is an experienced design leader, writer and speaker. This is his blog (started in 2005). If you’re new to this site, Ben has published a playbook for design linking together many of his blog posts from the past 5 years. You can book him to speak at an event, get in touch or follow him on Twitter.

All blog posts in everyday is an opportunity to write something

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…

Finding the conversation

It’s important to work hard to find the right conversations.

When I worked at the digital agency Tincan we were a small setup. This meant that most of us were account managers as well as designers, researchers, and front-end developers.

Spending time with clients was my favourite part of the job. Continue reading…


The problem with over testing, experience, and intuition

Designing something is about making a choice. Right or wrong.

There’s a common situation where teams become afraid to make decisions and they become paralysed by over-testing.

Barry Briggs shared his thoughts with me about this on Twitter earlier this year:

[I’ve] seen design teams paralysed by over-testing.

Continue reading…

The secrets of guerrilla communication

Communicating design to your colleagues is an important skill. I was reminded of this last week when visiting one of our offices and seeing Helena’s latest posters in all sorts of good places.

The trick is to focus your efforts anywhere that people stand around with nothing better to do than to read what’s in front of them. Continue reading…

Let’s pretend

Yesterday, I shared some quotes from Inventing the future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work by Alex Williams and Nick Snick.

Here are some more thoughts about imaging the future.

The alternative as a utopian future

Science fiction has a good record of predicting the future. Continue reading…

Imagining the alternative future

One of the most thought provoking books I’ve read this year was Inventing the future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work Book. In the book Alex Williams and Nick Snick talk about to imagining utopian futures:

[Utopias] demand that the future be realised, they form an impossible but necessary object of desire, and they give us a language of hope and aspiration for a better world.

Continue reading…

Direct route

Tonight I’m taking the shortest route home. It’s my choice.

I’m on a very rural train line that cuts right across the country from Leeds to Morecambe (I’m parked at Carnforth – a station little used but famous for the film Brief Encounter). Continue reading…

Patterns of things that break

After my last blog post, Sharon shared a picture in response to the example that an escalator never breaks.


Image – Sharon Dale

Clearly this escalator is broken and it hasn’t become stairs.

It made me think about interventions.

The act of intervention

Sometimes we’re too quick to intervene. Continue reading…

Here’s your permission to go ahead and break things

Finding your appetite for destruction

As I talked about in my last blog post, design critique should be a way that teams create a culture of healthy feedback. I explained that we critique things by trying to break them together:

Sometimes you have 
to break things or pull them apart to make them work better.

Continue reading…

Critique is not criticism

A very simple blog post today.

Critique is an important part of any design process. This is something I’ve been thinking about this week:

Critique doesn’t mean you need to criticise something. It’s a shame the words are so similar.

Here’s the difference. Continue reading…