Change the Way People Design

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Six years ago we embarked on our first defined mission with a general sense of direction and cautious optimism. It was ambitious and pushed us to where we are today- an amazing design company that turned the idea of a consultancy upside down. We had the foresight to understand that solving digital design problems required more than just delivering some assets. Nothing about the mission was easy, but we did it. As a leader I was committed to making it happen for ZURB.

Today we're publishing our new mission. It's equally ambitious, but backed by the knowhow of seventeen years of design experience and the momentum of millions of designers around the world. We're excited to share our vision and hope that you can support us as we aim to provide the world with new and effective ways of solving design problems. The process of aligning everyone on the team around a set of...
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Introducing the New Notable

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There is a lot of excitement about the Internet of Things and electronics being smart. Actually the excitement right now is just around electronic devices being able to communicate with each other at all, never mind the smart part. If you can attach a Raspberry Pi to it, people will and probably already have. We recently saw a toaster oven that can send you a text when your toast is ready.

That's cool and all, but toast text messages are not nearly as interesting as a home of electronics that are designed to work together and solve people problems. Imagine your refrigerator communicating with your phone to let you know what ingredients you're out of when you're at the grocery store, or a washing machine that alerts your smartwatch that your clothes are done so you can move them into the dryer so they don't sit wet all day. That will be the difference between just an...
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A Curious Mind With a Passion for Problem Solving, Meet Our Newest Engineer

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Our newest engineer started out as an intern, working his way through complex problems and putting the time in to build up skills while working on our Library revamp. We can't wait to see what other great things he'll contribute to the team! Without further ado, meet...

Zoran Pesic, Engineer

Born in Berane, Montenegro, Zoran moved to the United States at a young age, growing up in New Jersey before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally thinking he would do something in the art world, his curious nature began leading him towards computers and coding. His first contact with ZURB was through Foundation, our responsive front-end framework. Enamored with the possibilities it opened up for him, Zoran dove head first into the code and eventually wound up on the ZURB homepage.

After learning more about the company and our culture, Zoran applied for our...
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Attention Nonprofits: We're Now Taking Applications for ZURB Wired

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Over the last few months, we've talked a lot about the power designers have to influence change in organizations. But we're looking beyond impacting mere business outcomes. It's our sincere belief that design can cause real, positive change in the world. ZURB Wired is proof.

Each year we volunteer our time and resources to help one special nonprofit craft a complete marketing campaign in 24 coffee-fueled hours. ZURB HQ becomes a hive of activity as our entire team, along with volunteers, work all through the night to create a website, print material, engineering support, written content and even videos. To accomplish this, we use the same process and methods we use in our Studios business to help companies do incredible things in short amounts of time. The event itself is timeboxed to 24 hours, but the results of our work are felt long after.

Now in its eighth...
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An Entrepreneur With a Passion for People, Meet Our New Business Designer

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Our newest Business Designer is ready to make a difference in the world through design thinking! With his business savvy and incredible teaching skills, we're confident he will! Without further ado, meet …

Photo of our new Business Designer Dave Zinsman

Dave Zinsman, Business Designer

Dave is a California native, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. In true Silicon Valley fashion, he was bit by the entrepreneurial bug at the tender age of seven, establishing a 'Garbage Pail Kids' trading card exchange. Throughout his teens and young adulthood he continued to develop his business savvy, eventually starting a few businesses centered around marketing, design and training.

In addition to his killer business chops, Dave is a passionate teacher. After high school, Dave joined the Marines where he served as a training instructor at Camp Pendleton. Serving in the Marines gave him a chance to see the world and...
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The Designer Litmus Test

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Brace yourself for the truth: product designers are not born with the gift of design. Many — scratch that — all design skills can be learned by any willing individual. It's a certain combination of personality traits, not the skills, that make certain people better suited for solving problems through design. Just like being a nurturer makes people likely to pursue nursing or gardening, and being a firefighter or an entrepreneur means being open to uncertainty and risk.

Can we identify with certainty what makes some designers so good at their job? We think so, yes. Because when we look at the designers we admire, these six personality traits surface: ambition, empathy, non-linear thinking, pattern recognition, meticulousness, and tenacity.

Ambition

It's why designers notice bad kerning, analyze how remotes feel in their hand, and see almost non-existent flaws in furniture. They...
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Holy Changes, Batman! Surviving Negative Feedback

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zurb signal

The Batman comic series has one of the most passionate fandoms in history, and never was this more apparent than in the summer of 2006 when it was officially announced that Heath Ledger had been cast as the film's iconic villain, the Joker.

The internet exploded as fanboys and fangirls largely panned the decision. Vitriol spewed from forums all over the web.

This guy couldn't act his way out of a paper bag.
I am NOT seeing this movie if he's in it.
Probably the worst casting of all time.

Believe it or not, there are a few lessons designers can learn from this story that can help us stay on track and focused as we develop new products.

Big Changes Can Spark Big Reactions

pow

Director Christopher Nolan was tasked with completely revitalizing a damaged brand, and almost every part had to be refreshed to bring it back on track. As designers we are sometimes asked to...
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Your Brand is Like a Television Show

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"The ZURB sitcom," proclaimed our Chief Instigator about a year or so ago. A sitcom? What did he mean by that? At the time, we were considering how exactly we were communicating our story on the blog and our approach to content creation. But our Chief Instigator sparked an idea in us. There's a reason people love sitcoms ... well, television in general. There's something familiar in it, something that keeps the audience coming back again and again.

I Love Lucy TV

Now, he wasn't suggesting that we abandon design and start filming our own weekly show. But television is the perfect model for writing a brand story. A lot of television shows are brands in themselves. With that, we took a hard long look at what made certain shows successful — "Star Trek," "Friends," "I Love Lucy" and a few others.

Shows have an addictive quality to their premises, worlds and characters. These three...
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Don't Hoard Those Boxes of Old, Rusty Skills

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welcome to the new job

Congratulations, you've arrived. Maybe you're a clean slate, tabula rasa, and this is your first job. Or not. After all, the dynamic is changing among the new generation of workers, where it's more common to leave one job for another. Whichever it is, you've done the work to get your new job. You've impressed people. You've hobnobbed with the hiring folks, the company's leadership and its team. Let's face it, you basically assembled the shrine of the silver monkey and got that new job. But now what?

Because you'll come to see that the job is not exactly like your last gig. We've learned over the years at ZURB that a degree of unlearning has to happen. Why? Because the educational system shoves us through memory and rote learning, thereby possibility killing our ability to be creative. And that's something we carry into the workforce where we strive for the...
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Resist the Redesign

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In our industry of constantly pushing code and ever-changing websites and applications, "redesign" is a relatively common notion. There's always a way to improve the design somehow. So as we consider design and redesign opportunities, it's sometimes hard to resist the lure of a clean slate. And many designers don't. They fall into the vanity of putting their mark on the design.

inconsistent buttons

That's where we often jump in for our Studios projects — and frankly, where we had found ourselves a couple years back. We start every project with an honest audit of the existing work. As we don our objective glasses, we look at the grand scheme of the user experience and the small details that make it up. It's a safe bet that we'll come across work clearly done by different hands while completing the product audit. Buttons are somehow the epitome of this problem. It's so common that "button consistency"...
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