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Design

Using type, color, space and symbols to communicate.

We’ve written 71 blog posts about Design. View all topics »

  1. Get Hired

    These are the markers for how we evaluate design candidates. I should point out that these rules, with the exception of #3, apply across the board, regardless of the role you’re applying for: development, project management, operations, etc. Admittedly, they’re not so unique to us. You’ll find with other studios’ or agencies’ hiring managers that processes will vary — what’s your experience? Tell us in the comments — but if you keep these rules in mind you’ll have a good shot with any people-first, quality-minded organization.

  2. Organic Artifacts

    I first learned of Wharton Esherick when I took an impromptu trip to his studio outside of Philadelphia. Though he has long since passed, his live-in workspace has been preserved and was well worth the 45 minute drive. Esherick is known for many things, as a sculptor and woodworker he was acknowledged as the “dean of American craftsmen” by his peers and pushed the Arts and Crafts movement forward toward organicism and cubism.

  3. Channeling Your Back-end Developer

    You’ve heard the assertion before: Designers should learn how to code. Reading through the many articles and comments on the topic, this discussion has focused predominantly on front-end development. Yes, comps fail to capture behavior and the in-betweens that bring your responsive designs to life, but crucially, front-end code isn’t the only step to actualizing your designs. Even if your coded styles remain faithful to your design intent, it’s your content that will put that design to test. If you care about the way content should look in your designs, you should also care about the logic that powers it.

  4. Playing Your Best

    I ’ve done it hundreds of times – I opened the glass door and shut it behind me. Just me and my opponent, enclosed by the familiar four walls of a squash court. Despite squash being a series of quick movements, each game manages to be 10% physical and 90% mental—a test of knowing what shots to hit and when to hit them.

  5. Back to the Basics: Experiment and Get Real Weird

    In our industry there is pressure to always be posting and sharing our work: full projects, design snippets, writing, photos, tiny thoughts, and conversations. Each of these mediums come with their own degree of expected polish.

  6. Can an algorithm do your job?

    This is a question that’s been on my mind since stories about the Associated Press’s robo-journalists started making the rounds again. For those who don’t know, the AP uses an algorithm that translates data into corporate earnings reports, three-hundred word stories or so. They’re composed of short declarative sentences written convincingly enough to appear human-generated.

  7. The Cracks

    The holiday break is one stretch of time during the year when I completely remove myself from the business of building the web. Stepping outside our community to engage with old friends and family members provides a much-needed recharge and change of perspective.

  8. Re-cognition

    12/18/14

    by Abby Fretz

    0 Responses

    2014 has been a year of big change for Happy Cog. We’ve had more than a year’s worth of adventures packed into a short 12 months. One thing that remains a constant, however, is our team’s continual quest to explore and hone our roles; process; project structure; and approach to clients, partners, and coworkers. Cognition serves as our way of documenting and sharing our thoughts and discoveries with the world.

  9. Leaving the Nest

    A few months ago I was asked to assist leading some moderated qualitative usability testing sessions. I’ll be honest: I had little-to-no experience speaking with users, so at the start of the project I didn’t feel like I was fully equipped for the task. The idea of being in a room with someone I didn’t know for an hour and guiding them through a handful of scenarios to validate our design didn’t sound as good as one of my typical design days. However, I knew it would be a good learning experience and said I’d help out.

  10. Switch Design

    On almost all projects at Happy Cog, there is usually one design lead who oversees the work from the initial concept to the QA’d, browser-tested, final product. Other designers may step in to help with production or provide guidance, but for the most part, one designer owns it.

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