Last night, Debbie was joined together on stage with design and creative influencers from Instagram, Apple and The New York Times at the In-The-House 4 event. The evening discussion gave an inside look on how the digital format has changed the course of design in the scope of culture, connectivity and content, from an in-house design team perspective. These lead creatives also gave valuable insight on the culture ‘in-house’ and getting your foot in the door at your favorite brand-homes.
Derek Scott of Instagram led off with a passionate talk on how pivotal the brand mission is in creating meaningful and follow-able content on a visually-driven platform. He presented an impressive list of membership and viewer stats that should make everyone stand at attention.
Instagram challenges brands to show us how they see the world, and as Derek said, it’s not always easy for brands to take this view of themselves. A few of the success stories he cited were Nike, Patagonia and Michael Kors.
Fashion brands like Michael Kors jumped on the Instagram platform early, honing years of visual and artistic industry expertise.
Second up was Renda Morton.
Somewhat new to The New York Times, Renda gave up her studio overseas to become the product design lead there, and she strongly encourages you all to Subscribe. Additionally, Renda revealed some of the process behind the NYTimes website redesign in 2011, and then subsequent redesign after that one. The site is now device responsive, in that it adjusts to every format from laptop to tablet. Â And just this week, in response to research about news content, the brand has rolled out a new app called NYTNow (read more about it here) that pushes early edition and late edition news briefs to extremely busy readers and also offers non-traditional news and entertainment stories written by a dedicated content staff.
One of the most interesting secrets revealed is that the NYTimes design team recently went through 116 design templates just for the top page of the web version of the paper. Clearly, more thought than ever is being put into presentation that pleases the new digital generation.
116 templates the New York Times’ digital product team explored for the top page, alone.
A peek at the new NYTNow app, which will be evolving with feedback from users.
And lastly, Joe Marianek spoke about his valuable experience becoming a ‘company man’ at Apple, and the enthusiasm every individual has for the brand inside the complex at Cupertino. Having worked agency side, in-house and now for himself at his newly established design firm in NYC, Joe gave students aspiring to take the leap into in-house some valuable interview advice.
Joe encouraged designers not to just walk into an interview with a portfolio filled with perfect works, but to also remember to include a design challenge, or even disaster, that struck in their former job or educational experience that they were able to solve. Design is all about problem solving.
Joe encouraged in-house designers not to get swept up in the occasional monotony of designing iterations of the same thing; rather to focus on the creativity and individual talents of the people you work with, and constantly find small innovations for more beautiful design solutions.