Silicon Valley Killed the Design Agency

Bryan wrote this on October 31, 2014 in . Share this Post

Illustration depicting how the valley killed the design agency

The design agency world has turned upside down with the recent news of Adaptive Path finding synergy with a bank, Smart Design calling it quits in Silicon Valley, and [insert design shop here] getting scooped up by the Faceoogleboxes. Silicon Valley, which is known for putting whole industries on notice, has quietly killed the design agency. Or have they? While Silicon Valley isn't afraid to eat its children, it's also thinking an internet generation ahead as it produces hit after hit. So with chaos comes clarity, then chaos. It's a cycle. Until the next innovation.

The Design Industry is not immune to this fact. Silicon Valley wants to scoop up all the star design talent. But it's not as easy as hiring design talent in-house. You need a way to scale and bring purpose to the work at hand.

The Traditional Agency Model for Product Design Won't Survive

ZURB is a...
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A New ZURBian Comes Aboard to Learn the Ropes

Shawna wrote this on October 29, 2014 in , . It has 14 reactions

We looked high and low, and after a long search (OK, maybe not too long) we found her: a fantastic Operations Administrator to keep the engines of our HQ purring so our team can focus on designing. So without further ado, say hello to …

Nathalie Smith, Operations Administrator

Photo of Nathalie Smith

Our newest ZURBian was originally from nearby Los Gatos, and then Carmel, but spent most of her early years growing up in mysterious (and hot) Las Vegas. There she watched movies, went bowling, hiked through mountains, watched movies again — there's only so much a minor can do in "Sin City."

Yep, she's our youngest ZURBian to date — fresh out of high school, class of 2014, which she said was an amazing experience. She wishes she could go back — except that she found ZURB.

The chance of expanding her skills in a real office environment was too good to pass up, and now she's helping to make...
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Get a job, nerd!


via Job Board from ZURB

How to Be Amazing in Less Than 10 Seconds

Shawna wrote this on October 28, 2014 in . It has 174 reactions

ticking clocks

You're a designer ready for the next big thing in your life. Maybe you just finished school or a boutique training course, or maybe you're ready to move on to a new adventure. Whatever your reason you're fresh on the market and you're ready to crush it! That's all well and good, potential employers like people who are excited. The problem is that excitement alone doesn't always get you very far.

We've learned something from 16 years of hiring designers. And we have a few tips for you to amaze a person looking to hire their next designer. After all, you're just one drop in a sea of drops. You have to stand out! Let's take a look at a few ways you can do that and what we tend to look for in a candidate.

Wow Them at the Start

Your email/cover letter has to be unique for every place you're applying to. It doesn't have to be amazingly complicated. The reality is,...
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5 Ways the Foundation Community
is Crushing It

Rafi wrote this on October 23, 2014 in . It has 97 reactions

Illustration of the Foundation Yeti with lots of support

Foundation recently turned three years old. It is hard to believe how much it's changed especially considering it was the first responsive design framework first built in Sass and modular mixin partials, and the first to take a mobile-first approach. The code has changed a ton, but one thing hasn't changed throughout this time. The level of dedication and passion the people who use Foundation has constantly impressed us.

Some of the biggest improvements to the framework since we launched Foundation 5, now known as Foundation for Sites, have come from our community. Despite having over 7,790 commits, we have opportunities to continue to tighten up all the details of what a framework can be. The community has really embraced these challenges and worked together to resolve them. Whether they are fixed or not, these efforts are what open-source is all about and...
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The Problem With Design Thinking Is That I Still Don't Know What Design Thinking Is

Bryan wrote this on October 21, 2014 in . It has 342 reactions

Illustration of a person reaching for abstract tools

Design is hot. Design executives are being tasked with being design-driven, but don't have the tools or processes to sustain this effort. They embrace design thinking, but it's unclear how their companies will embrace its ideas. VC's are telling founders to hire a design leader, but it's not clear who this mythical, unicorn person is who will drive the design approach across the company. It's entirely possible to grow this person in an organization, but not likely to be someone who comes in with magical fairy dust to make everything Apple-esque.

Design thinking is a broad term with no specific directives. It's open to a lot of interpretation. It's too big and too lofty for most businesses to embrace. Throw in a couple inexperienced designers who are students of the idea and you've got yourself a mess. Most designers don't have the authority (nor desire?) to...
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Show Me the Responsibilities

Ryan wrote this on October 16, 2014 in . It has 87 reactions

Cyndi Lauper was wrong when she said money changes everything. Well, wrong when it comes to designers. Of course, she probably wasn't talking about designers, but that's another story. When we surveyed designers on the reason they'd leave a job, we expected that money would be the number one answer. It wasn't.

Designers said they'd bolt if there was no advancement. But what the heck did they mean by advancement? We did a follow up survey of 100 designers. Once again money took a backseat. The top answer was new skills training.

Pie graph of survey results

Money came in number two, followed by more responsibilities. These three things seem to be the trifecta of advancement — and what really motivates a designer.

Money Isn't Everything

Illustration of flying dollar bills

About 50% of designers are under 30, which puts them firmly in the often-used label of Millennials, so you'll pardon us for using the term here. Not surprising since,...
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Shortcut Foundation Layouts with Morse Code

Ben wrote this on October 15, 2014 in . It has 91 reactions

illustration that says 'Morse Code for Foundation'

Let's face it: Building CSS grids can get complicated fast. Even using Foundation 5 — or what we call Foundation for Sites — sometimes finding that one stray </div> tag can be tricky.

Today, we're launching a new way to build, share and store Foundation layouts: Morse Code, a shorthand lingo for Foundation grids. Here's an example:

sg12lg04,sg12lg08|mg06lg12,mg06lg12

That's a row with four large columns, eight large columns, and another row of six and six large columns. As one of our designers pointed out, an entire page can become a tweet.

At first glance it looks like gibberish. It's writable once you learn the system, which we describe on its Playground page. But to help speed things along, we also wrote two plugins for our favorite code editors, Coda 2 and Sublime 3 — just in time for the impending launch of Coda 2.5. These plugins encode Foundation...
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Design Amazing Single-Page Apps with the New Foundation and Angular JS

Brandon wrote this on October 09, 2014 in . It has 385 reactions

Illustration of the Foundation Yeti and pages

It's been a neat experience this last couple months reaching out and talking to some of our favorite Foundation fans. We've received some great feedback on our code for a new Flexbox-based grid. We've also had some great tips about our upcoming Motion UI codebase. We're getting ever closer to a comprehensive release that we just know y'all will love.

In the final part of our three-part Foundation for Apps saga, we'll discuss our AngularJS Integration and how it helps you produce single-page web apps. So let's get into it.

Designers have been building pages since the web began. All the tools we've created have gone along with that mentality. Yet, in a web where pages are becoming more rare, so will those tools.

Many people are attempting to bridge...
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What Are You Even Designing?

Ghaida wrote this on October 07, 2014 in , . It has 99 reactions

Think of a designer. You might work with a designer, or you might have seen one in passing with that unmistakable designer affinity for apple products and snark. You might even be one yourself! Now picture this designer working. You're probably imagining this person heads down at an immaculate desk with a Moleskine in hand and earphones in their ears. She's blissfully pushing pixels around a screen until they're just right. Ah, DESIGN!

You can't design alone

What this designer has done is isolated herself far away from her customers.

Design is a Conversation

In Let's Make Mistakes, Mike Monteiro talks about the hiring process for designers and doing designer tests. A common test is to give the designer a popular site or app and ask them to "redesign" it. In the podcast, Monteiro's rather succinct and appropriate response to this practice was “You're not designing d*ck.”

Design is a process that...
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A Top Chef and a Top Gear Join Our Team to Rev Our Apps

Shawna wrote this on October 06, 2014 in , . It has 12 reactions

We're experiencing yet another growth spurt here at ZURB. This month we're boosting our Design Apps team with not one, but two new ZURBians — one engineer and one customer advocate! So without further ado, let's meet…

Bill Tran, Rails Engineer

photo of Bill Tran

Bill grew up copying comic books because he wanted to draw like a comic book artist. Yes, he was that kid who who drew Bart Simpson and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles everywhere he could find a place wide enough to fit "kowabunga!" As a teenager he taught himself how to breakdance, draw graffiti art and, best of all, to customize cars. That's when he found his calling.

Bill's interest in cars, especially building custom vehicles, revved his career in prototyping. He fell in love with industrial and automotive design, dreaming up ideas, iterating through designs and building the real thing. So he spent the last 10 years...
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