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.


2019 and the end of a decade

2019 yearly round up and personal reflections.

The art of football

I’ve supported Tottenham Hotspur since I was 8 years old.

I wasn’t that interested in football and then one Saturday my Dad took me along to White Hart Lane to see my first game and that was it. 32 years later I’ve been to something like 200 games home and away (only a handful a season, but enough to call myself a supporter).


I’ve been putting this post off since May. It feels strange to talk about getting older. If you’re busy enough you don’t notice the time passing. That’s how the last 10-12 years have felt. Work has got bigger and more significant in many ways as new opportunities have come along, and my life has increasingly centred itself around family, both as a husband and also as a dad to (my now) 4 children.

The roundup. January (and some of February) 2019

I’m going to keep writing monthly roundups again this year. Time is always tight, but it’s good to reflect and to be able to look back on what I’ve been working on, and the places I’ve visited.

It’s been a busy start to the year at FutureGov (FG) – I’m about to go away for a couple of days on a family break as we’ve reached school half-term.

2018 – End of year review

I usually publish an end of year review (2015, 2016, 2017). This year I’ve been trying to write more regular monthly updates (all of which are here) so I’ll try to keep this shorter.

It’s been a year of change. From work (see November update), to family (see May update).

The roundup. November 2018

My November round up.

For the love of the blog

Ending my experiment with blogging more on Medium.

The roundup. June/July 2018

Everything is busy (again).

I’m surviving on something like 20-30% less sleep at the moment thanks to Zac’s arrival (conservative estimate/and I get to catch up with sleep a bit when traveling for work).

This is a quick update to cover the last couple of months.

The roundup. May 2018

May was all about the boy.

The roundup. April 2018

A busy month that included the Easter break and a family break to Somerset. In the meantime I’ve been mostly working in London, and we also wrapped up our FutureGov work in Glasgow.


I hit a sweet spot with writing this month.

I made a conscious effort to finish some things I had in draft, setting aside some dedicated time over a weekend.

The roundup. March 2018

A quick update this month so I keep to schedule.

Overall, more travel throughout the UK. I’ve mostly been travelling between London, Glasgow and Newcastle. With a couple of visits to Manchester in between.

I also went further afield than usual and flew to Milan for 24 hours, before dashing back for my daughter’s 8th birthday celebrations.

The roundup. February 2018

Lots of travel all over the UK this month.

In-between work travel we had a great family break at Forest Holidays near Maldan in North Yorkshire, with a day trip to Whitby for fish & chips. There was snow on the first day of the trip which caught us a little off guard.

The roundup. January 2018

My monthly notes for January 2018.

2017 – End of year review

My end of year review for 2017.

Some principles for blogging

I’ve been thinking about my own approach to blogging, and making this sharable

Anxiety labels and emotional needs

We all have a genuine need to be treated and thought of as individuals. And we all have a story that's worth hearing.

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

A story about my first week at art college 20 years ago (1997).

Art is emotive

We all find meaning in life through art and how things make us feel.

Earning your optimism

I finished most of my conference talks this year with a Bruce Springsteen quote:

You earn the extreme moments of optimism from the daily struggles we all fight our way through.

Design is hard. Change is hard. Life is (sometimes) hard.

Keep going.

The gift of giving away your best work

It’s my last day today at DWP Digital. I feel like I’ve given them my best possible work for 3 years.

Work isn’t about winning. It’s about taking part and putting your true self into that work.

The best option is always to give away your best work when the time is right.