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3 Ways To Be A Better Design Leader


There are countless books, seminars, conferences, and programs to teach you about business leadership, but design leadership requires an entirely different skill set and is not nearly as well documented. It can take years to master the management complexities at the intersection of business and creativity, but many design leaders are forced to learn on the job. To shorten the learning curve, we’ve gathered some unique insights from top managers and design leads to help you become a better design leader.

Build A Culture Of Design Through Transparency & Advocacy

Design touches all aspects of a company—marketing, product, operations, even customer service—but because it’s harder to quantify success for a design team than, say, the sales department, demonstrating the value of design can often prove difficult. Woo Jin Park, Head of Design at Helix, says his team is all about informal transparency. “At Helix, the design team is trying to find simpler ways to champion design by building transparency around what we do. By doing little things like printing and displaying all of our prototypes in an open gallery, inviting others for design reviews outside of conference rooms and in the open, and pinning up a big calendar of what’s next for us, anyone from any team can walk by and see what we’re working on. That way, every time someone passes by, it’s an ongoing education, and people feel invited to engage with design. Transparency just makes communication easier, and showing what your team is doing to advance the company’s goals adds another layer to the value of design.”

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Design Advice From The Women Of Midcentury Modernism via FastCo

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Image: Sister Corita Kent’s prints

The mid-20th century was filled with luminaries in design and the visual arts-Eero Saarinen, Richard Neutra, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock-and the most well-known figures are mostly men. But this is starting to change, with exhibitions and articles beginning to celebrate the accomplishments of mid-century women.

The book Mid-Century Modern Women in the Visual Arts, for one, highlights the work of 25 groundbreaking female designers and artists from that era, sharing their advice through quirky, colorful illustrations by Ellen Surrey.

The painter Bridget Riley—depicted in the book in her preferred blacks and whites—believed that “focusing isn’t just an optical ability, it is also a mental one.” The designer Ray Eames—illustrated lounging in one of her classic chair designs—advised, “what works good is better than what looks good, because what works good lasts.” “Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That’s what invention is about,” said the artist Helen Frankenthaler, who’s portrayed amidst the swirls of color on her canvas.

Read the full story at FastCo