Google’s top designers on a panel at SXSW, were they motivated by Steve Jobs?


One of my favorite panels at SXSW 2012 was getting to hear from the lead designers of six of Google’s core products: Gmail, Google+, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Docs, and Youtube. It was cool to hear some of their unique challenges but my main takeaway was a reminder that we all face similar challenges regardless of how large or small our clients or brands may be.

The main part of their story started in the Spring of 2011 when one of the designers – unfortunately I forget which one - received an instant message from Larry Page that simply stated, “If you could redesign Google, what would you do.” He referred to this as the moment that “the dog caught the car”. As designers, it was the dream they had been waiting for but after a brief state of shock they needed a plan to seize the opportunity.

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Do you make things happen or wait for things to happen?

Have you ever really thought about it?  Being patient and being proactive are both great virtues, but they rarely exist in tandem. When you face a decision do you attack it or let it play itself out? Which route do you normally take?  Where has either approach worked or backfired on you? No right or wrong, just curious as to what works for you.

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Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Good Design.

Good design is:

  1. Is innovative – The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Makes a product useful – A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
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Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines. Don’t Let Them Kill Your Best Work.

In marketing, our worlds often revolve around the deadlines.  In the good ole’ days we called it “Chasing the FedEx truck” and at least we got to go home at 8pm.  But once bandwidth increased and we were sending work over email, we had 24 hours in the day to worry about deadlines, like it or not.

Although deadlines often drive our inspiration, on occasion arbitrary deadlines cause us to turn in less than stellar work.

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Why I don’t like Creative Briefs.


In concept, the creative brief serves a great purpose but in the throws of getting work done it is often overlooked and great opportunities to do great work are missed. There are many different formats for a creative brief and I am a believer of simpler is better – and actually, I am not a fan of the creative brief at all.

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An Easy Way To Solve A Problem.

I sat in a great session at SXSW 2011 where Intuit talked about how they define the user experience in their software by starting broad and working narrow. They use a very simple question to define user experience decisions, it’s so simple I am ashamed that it took me this long to see it.

Ask yourself this:

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