When I was a little kid, I remember my first experiences with brand recognition being for companies like Coca-Cola. I could recall their logo and signature script lettering easily and could identify a Coke can from a mile away. It was the only soda brand we had in my house growing up, and I could probably draw the can design from memory by the time I was 6.

It wasn’t until I was older and studied design more seriously that I started to get a bigger picture of what branding really entails. It encapsulates a lifestyle, a feeling, and makes you want to be a part of it by buying a certain product. …

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Image for post

Ever since high school, I’ve been intrigued by grocery stores. I remember one of the first articles I ever read around consumer behavior and psychology was centered around the layout of grocery stores. I was floored by learning how precise and purposeful the entire layout was: stacking kid-friendly items lower on the shelves to reach their eye level, keeping most entrances on the right because starting there makes people spend more, etc. Everything was in its place for a reason, and that reason was to make more money.

Now I’m older and a little more jaded about capitalism and consumerism, so I’m less excited about how things are organized just to make an already rich company richer. Instead, I get really hyped about grocery stores that make the shopping experience fun, exciting, and genuinely enjoyable. Sure, they can keep things organized in a way that makes money, but what about surprising customers with features that are truly delightful? …

image of a clipboard with a bulleted list
image of a clipboard with a bulleted list

I am a Virgo rising and I identify with it fully. Those who know a bit about astrology probably know that this means I live for lists. As a child, I had journals full of different lists — places I want to travel, my favorite celebrities, an ordered list of my favorite colors, etc. I was a really fun kid.

I think people are generally drawn to lists for a variety of reasons. Structure and organization are universally appealing & they are quick to skim and understand. They make reading and comprehension easy. Whenever I look for design-related articles, there is a serious difference between how far I get in an article with blocks of text vs. an article with a list format of the author’s points. …

I’ve become much closer to my phone since the beginning of quarantine, unfortunately. I’ve tried several digital detoxes to try to get some space, but I just keep on coming back. And like most people who are addicted to their phone, my favorite apps are what keep me updated, informed, connected, entertained, and sometimes they even kelp keep me zen.

I started looking a lot more closely at the apps I use on a regular basis and started trying to see them from the standpoint of a first-time user. Of course, seeing something as a beginner when you are already an expert is a borderline impossible thing to do. …

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Image creditL 3x5 Leadership

Last year, I made a ton of goals for 2020. They ranged from improving my mental and physical health to traveling to a new country (lol). I think I speak for many people when I say this year felt less than conducive to achieving a lot of the goals we set for ourselves.

With the COVID vaccine starting to come out and a new, seemingly sane president on the horizon, I’m feeling way more optimistic for 2021. After graduating from my design program and getting some more experience under my belt, I’m excited to start thinking about my design goals for the upcoming year and how can I ensure reaching them. …

A few weeks back, a few friends from my design program and I got together to compete in a UX design hackathon. There were many different options of problems to solve, but since it was our first one we decided to attempt the problem we found to be the most fun — design an onboarding experience for an app connected to a dog’s “smartcollar”.

For the collar and app, some items we were tasked with were:

  • Coming up with relevant and useful features
  • Designing a full onboarding experience
  • Creating a high-fidelity prototype and wireframes
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Sample of high-fi screens for Bark, our “smartcollar” mobile app
  • Conducting usability testing with our prototype
  • Branding, visual design, and a design…

images of a person working on a digital illustration
images of a person working on a digital illustration
Credit: https://treesforanya.com/beginners-guide-to-illustration/

One trend that I love to see in the apps I use is illustration. I love the use of illustration in UI design because it injects a ton of personality and makes the app more enjoyable to use. I believe it enhances the brand aesthetic and feels fun, personal, and unique.

While working on my own projects, I’ve been really into the idea of creating my own illustrations but hadn’t had any experience with doing so. Quite honestly, I made some excuses to not even start — I wanted to focus on other skills, I didn’t have a specific style, I didn’t have a tablet that worked for illustration, etc. …

Image of a team creating a mobile app together
Image of a team creating a mobile app together
Image Credit: pikisuperstar / Freepik

I remember about 3 years ago I attended my first Hackathon while working as a Product Manager. The company I worked for what hosting the event, so I was mostly there to talk with the developers, hear about what they were building, encourage them, and set out snacks to fuel their 24 hours of coding.

I had several thoughts while helping out at this event. First, what kind of college student would give up a whole weekend to do more of what they are already doing in school? Do they find this fun? My coworkers admired how passionate and talented the students were, and how dedicated they must be to give up a weekend for this. …

image of gopuff’s marketing screen
image of gopuff’s marketing screen

Last week, I examined the app goPuff and how well it adheres to Dieter Rams’ first 5 design principles. These principles stated that good design is innovative, aesthetic, unobtrusive, and makes a product usable and understandable. You can check out the first half of my goPuff assessment here.

This week I’m going to hone in on the last 5 principles that good design must adhere to and see how goPuff stacks up against them. These final 5 principles insist that good design is

  1. honest
  2. long-lasting
  3. thorough to the last detail
  4. environmentally-friendly
  5. minimal

6. Is goPuff’s design honest?

I think a key part of what this question is after is that “it does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept”. As illustrated by these examples, dishonesty in design can happen when you try to link a product to something else that makes its purpose or impact seem different from what it really is. …

image of gopuff’s marketing screen
image of gopuff’s marketing screen

Ever since COVID hit, I like to think that I’ve become a delivery app connoisseur. You can get pretty much everything you’d ever want or need through one app or another. Grocery delivery is just the beginning; if you ever find yourself needing a 5-in-1 indoor grill with an air fryer, there are delivery apps that will deliver that to you within an hour or two. The future is now, my friends.

I’ve tried out apps like Postmates and Instacart many times, but within the past year, I’ve gotten fairly dependent on goPuff, a snack/household goods/alcohol delivery app. I’ve found it’s one of the least expensive to order from and delivers my goods the quickest. …


Devin Ross

Reader, writer, designer, singer, animal lover.

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