Ben Holliday is an experienced designer, 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 8 years of work in the pubic sector. You can get in touch or follow him on Twitter.


The horizon and the next steps

In a design process there are two immediate things that matter – the horizon (immediate goal), and the next steps (immediate steps towards that goal).

Seniority in design: proximity and closeness

As you become a more senior designer with responsibility for other designers, one of the challenges you will face is your personal closeness to ‘hands on’ design work.

As well as how close you are to the work, you will have to think about the proximity you have to those doing the hands on work when that isn’t you.

Learning to prototype is more important than learning to code

Why prototyping doesn’t mean that you have to write code or build software…

A design state of mind

What it means to move to a design mindset…

Ambiguity and design

Ambiguity is a key part of design. It points us to the uncomfortable gap between 'what is' and 'what could be' which is where I believe design adds most value.

Prompts for design leaders working with product teams

Sharing prompts and questions I use when working with product teams.

What makes a design education?

There’s a lot of design education out there. I get asked sometimes what people should ‘study’?

All design is strategic

All design is strategic unless you just see it as implementation.

Service mapping and different types of maps

There’s a question of why designers make so many maps. We love maps. But there can be confusion or misunderstandings about why we’re making them or how they can be useful to service teams.

Bias in design

Thoughts about bias in design.

The consultants fallacy

I’ve worked for a number of years as a consultant, and have worked with many other consultants.

The consultants fallacy is to leave people thinking they need to work harder, or invest more time and money in order to understand your ideas and methods. That they’re doing something wrong when they don’t comprehend how brilliant you are or can’t immediately adapt to your methods, processes, or ways of working.

Working forwards and working backwards

What we can learn from the military about “mapping backwards” and how this applies to service design

Working with design detail

Why artefacts are most useful when they become the design, rather than a plan for doing the design or building a product.

Raise your expectations

A good rule of thumb.

Don’t accept the low expectations of your teams, clients, or the sector you work in.

Everyone has the opportunity to challenge what’s happening around them. This is whether you have permission to do so, or not.

Challenge people to do more with less.

The strange becoming familiar

How we quickly adapt to unfamiliar service models…

Quality conversations over process

Why the quality of your conversations is as important as your process.

Seniority in design

Are you a senior designer? Here are some of the things I think define seniority in design.

Digital as physical objects

How can we open up our public resources, data, and physical spaces in more meaningful and useful ways using technology?

Estate agents. An example of a broken digital business model?

Looking at the lack of digital innovation from traditional estate agents.

Sticks in the ground for public services

The civic architecture that reminds us about the bold vision needed for public services and spaces