Happy 10th birthday to us! Thanks for the cake, come on in.
Ten years, wow! What an incredible journey. It’s been a long road, full of ups and downs but also full of fun and inspiration. We want to thank everyone who supported us — our coworkers, clients, friends, and families — and everyone who believed in us (online or offline).
We help businesses by creating design systems, building brand identities, and developing websites that convert and drive change. We’re proud to say that we’ve focused on remote work since year one, which has brought us incredible talent from all over the world. And we don’t plan on stopping there.
So here’s to all the work, the laughs, the dropped zoom calls, the unmuted mics, and all the little mishaps. Here’s to everyone who’s ever shared a screen with us. And finally, here’s to all of us who look forward to a bright future.
Started on an island in the Mediterranean, and now all these wonderful people from all over the world work with us
So here we are, 10 years later:
75% work remotely
100% growth YoY
44% of women
20+ countries our clients come from
9 failed projects
$2.6B in funding raised by our clients
Hey look, some of our clients joined the party
Tom Nolan, Head of Product Design at Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Marko Strizić, Co-founder & CEO at DECODE Agency
Jimmy Kim, CEO at Sendlane
Skylar Roebuck, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer at Rocket Wagon
What we’ve learned so far
A glimpse at the valuable things we learned (and unlearned).
You can map out how other brands communicate and where your company fits into that conversation. You can associate visual elements with communication through shapes, typefaces, colors, etc. It’s essential to see what’s being used out there because you’ll inevitably become a part of that conversation.
You can’t work in isolation because your users are also part of the global brand communication, and it’s up to us to help you join the conversation and express your identity. At the same time, there isn’t necessarily just one solution for visual identity, and you can have more than one viable solution. It’s just a matter of figuring out what fits best at the time.
Getting relevant information from the client as early as possible is paramount to us. It’s often more time-consuming to evaluate written information and search for additional insights that are only available long after the sales process and project questionnaires.
That’s why we match project goals with interviews and workshops. We can evaluate people’s responses in person and elaborate on them when the opportunity arises rather than basing everything on a written brief or questionnaire.
Before you start the actual design process, you should be aware of the different perspectives of the people involved in the project. The stakeholders may take the business perspective, the target audience may take the user perspective, and the development team will certainly choose the technical point of view.
To understand the consequences of your decisions, you need to know the logic of the product, what features will be implemented, and how they’ll affect the end user. And to become a good designer and create the right functionality and experience for the end user, you need to look at your work holistically.
When we work on a task in development, it often involves multiple aspects – logic implementation, desktop, tablet and mobile views, overall optimization, and many others. Because of the many elements and factors we need to consider, it’s important to work according to similar patterns or directions to avoid forgetting or skipping steps.
Sure, we can design a brand identity in a week or two. We’re more than capable of doing that. But negotiating with clients and getting them comfortable with concepts, new identities, and narratives takes time. If we rush and skip these crucial steps, clients become uncertain and hesitant to sign off ideas. Things can then quickly get out of hand.
The process of branding involves many phases. Interviews, research, mood boards, presentations, and constant collaboration… It’s a lot to handle. That’s why it’s never a sprint but a good old side-by-side walk.
Clients tend to be more cooperative when involved in the process, which can make all the difference in the early stages. Remember, in most cases, clients have incredible product knowledge that they have accumulated over the years by building and marketing the product. Having someone like this as a collaborator on a project can be invaluable to the project’s success.
Design trends come and go. For a timeless solution, rely less on current trends and more on keeping things visually clean and easy to use. Don’t go overboard with trendy patterns, design solutions, transitions, and animations. Remove unnecessary clutter. Using fewer colors, typographic structures, and components can help you create a simpler, more manageable solution that will remain visually strong and reliable over time. Consider your client’s goals, and don’t always push for what you think looks best, but with what you think will work best for your clients and their users.
When you start a task, you should never classify it as “difficult” or “easy.” The only yardstick for evaluating the task is the amount of time the developer has to spend. Time is the most valuable resource for the client and the company, so you must be as responsible as possible when evaluating the task.
Also, remember that sometimes even the “simplest” tasks can take much more time than estimated. Don’t judge tasks at first glance. Instead, you should always have a concrete plan for completing the task and be ready to solve possible blockages.
After 10 years of experience, we have found that developing a custom process for a specific client isn’t the best solution in most cases.
As a service provider or strategic partner, you need to control the outcome. But if you’re not in control of the process, how will you own what comes out of it? There’s a specific reason we have a process; in most cases, we’ve found that deviating from it leads to negative experiences. Even if the client is satisfied, you, as a creative may not be.
It’s best to start a project with a holistic mindset. Find a sweet spot between user needs, technology, and the business you want to help grow. Certain decisions can impact project delivery, deadlines, and the product’s overall functionality. Be clear about who we’re building a solution for, why we’re building it, and how we plan to achieve the goals we set.
Sure, there’s the good old impostor syndrome. There’s the fear of rejection, what others will think of your solutions, the fear of underperforming, making mistakes, and so many more.
The experience of the last 10 years has shown that there’s no predicting who will make it and who won’t. Not everyone has the same opportunities, but the start is complex for everyone. No one is born a fantastic designer. But you can become one. Be honest and transparent. Share your work as often as possible, make mistakes, and learn from them. This is the only way you can grow as a designer.
Good planning is critical to the success of any project. Before you begin a project, you must take the time to understand its scope, identify the goals, and develop a plan to achieve them.
If you plan ahead and create a pseudo-code, you’ll have a clearer structure and won’t get lost in the process as easily. This can help you stay on track and achieve the project goals on time and within budget.
Treat yourself to a rare glimpse of the leadership team discussing our journey (and find out who’d win in a fight)
Drinks on the house.
Latest articles and resources
Fresh off the press. And social media.
How do we maintain a multicultural environment for our team?
Make remote work, work for you
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