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Portland OR Experience Designer Joined almost 9 years ago
Hey Dan! Been following for a bit and appreciate your excitement for design systems.
1) In your view, what is the difference between a set of brand guidelines and a design system?
2) What is the best way to wade into design systems? It seems like there's a lot of poor frameworks and advice out there. A lot of it seems focused on design systems for giant companies. Is it even worth going down that path for a one-off website?
Affinity Designer is great, but is not really built for UI work. I would certainly recommend replacing Photoshop/Illustrator with Design (and maybe Photo).
If you're tired of Sketch, I would recommend Figma. The starter level is free, and it has a lot of features that pushed it above Sketch for me. It's also similar enough that the learning curve isn't too bad at all.
Thanks for sharing this! I'd been on the hunt for a starter kit and found many of them had far too much going on.
That's GREAT to hear. I went hunting recently for a design system tutorial for Figma. I'd hoped that going step-by-step through building one would teach me how to both design one and how to use Figma better.
I found a couple design systems tutorials online, and one was fairly good, but it stopped at part 3 of 7. I ended up on DesignSystems.com several times hoping I'd missed a section that could help, but there wasn't much there. Glad to hear it's getting some love!
Yeah, I've not done that in one of my hiring processes. In my mind it's more of an appropriate courtesy from the hiring company. Handing in a project and simply being rejected isn't how design works.
That's great! Yeah it's definitely a tricky issue. I think it depends on the scenario for me? I could see a difference between designing 1/25th of a project and mocking up a couple web ads, for example.
I hope more designers take a stance on this end of the spectrum though! It would (hopefully) help put the brakes on using this in the hiring process.
I think it depends on if it's applicable to the job. If it's a short exercise that isn't an actual project for the team (meaning you'd be getting work for free), it would be ok imo. Gives you a chance to see their thinking process and how they'd interact with the team.
I've heard of people doing in-person exercises and it turned out the company was just using interviews to get free design work done. So shady!
Job requirements: we look at historical requirements for the position and then meet as a team to discuss what this person will be working on
Software: We're at the mercy of HR and have to use their portal. It's really clunky, but it gets the job done. Depending on the position and who's involved, we will sometimes move over to a collaborative Google Sheet to keep track of things and take notes.
Process: We require a portfolio to be submitted with the application. If someone doesn't submit a portfolio, they're cut immediately.
We then go through portfolios and label people as 'not a good fit' or a couple degrees of possibility. We also note if someone might look like they're over-qualified for the job. Our goal here is to wind up with about 10-15 people to do phone interviews with.
Phone interviews give us a chance to ask them some general questions and anything general we're curious about. This will hopefully leave us with 4-5 people to bring in for in-person interviews.
From there, we debate who we want to bring on and extend an offer.
Note: I'm adamant (although have often been overruled) about not giving people a "design test" or project to do. I'm a believer that you should be able to gauge someone's skill and flexibility as a designer from their portfolio, although I know this can sometimes be tricky. Asking someone (who is potentially a freelancer) to do a project is lame when we're willing to offer no pay and no feedback. If you feel like a test is required, I would advocate for paying them for their time and extending the offer to give them a short review session if they'd like that.
Sounds like you're a good candidate for Affinity! It took a bit of learning (and a lot of Googling) because it's just different enough to cause some headaches in the beginning.
I still open Illustrator from time-to-time for a couple functions, but am mostly able to do what I need in Designer. Affinity also feels like they're innovating at a quicker rate than Adobe.
If you're mostly leveraging Sketch, and only using about 1% of the Adobe suite, I would definitely recommend at least trying Designer out for a little bit.
Affinity Photo is also a pretty great Photoshop substitute if you're only doing a couple photos per month.
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Totally agree. I think it's important to get inspiration from a lot of different places so I tend to listen to podcasts on just about anything but design. There's some great teams doing cool investigative podcasts, audio dramas, and a ton of other stuff out there. I don't need to give 60 minutes of my day to listening to two people debate A/B testing :)