01/ Use a colour overlay on images with text
Sometimes you’ll have to work with some crappy images. Try using them more like a background texture rather than a main focal element by overlaying the brand colour at a semi-opaque setting. This will give you the necessary contrast to make overlaid text readable. In the example below, I also applied a dark blue drop shadow to the text to further boost contrast.


Illustration of a man in a straitjacket with an overlaying pattern of robots covering the whole image.
Illustration of a man in a straitjacket with an overlaying pattern of robots covering the whole image.
Illustration by Sarah Ling

Addressing the Hype

There’s no denying the design community has fallen hard for design systems. It’s graduated from popular trend to fully-fledged movement. We’re at a point where you can apply for specific design systems jobs and statements like, “in the future, every brand and every product will use a Design System”, appear perfectly reasonable.

I feel the same way about design systems as I did about design thinking before Natasha Jen gave a talk in 2018 entitled, Design Thinking Is Bullsh*t. Namely, why is no one talking about the downsides?

It turns out that isn’t entirely true. In searching over 200 articles…


A big dollar sign with a toggle switch overlaid on top. The switch is on with an OK emoji sign on the button.
A big dollar sign with a toggle switch overlaid on top. The switch is on with an OK emoji sign on the button.

01/ Don’t miss your last chance to sell the outcome
If your prospective customer has made it to the pricing page, they’re right at the point of making a decision to either signup or move on. Don’t waste your H1 — reinforce the value proposition and remind them of the outcome of using your product.


Revealing the Thinking and Results

Multiple versions of the same logo overlaid at different opacity creating a busy pattern
Multiple versions of the same logo overlaid at different opacity creating a busy pattern

This article starts by covering some of my process and thinking when it came to branding a startup I co-founded earlier this year. It then goes on to look at the visual results with images of the key assets and an example of the brand in action.

Designing For Others

I’ve spent a large part of my career working on or creating brands for other people. At the beginning of this year I co-founded a startup, Akord, and had the unusual experience of being my own client, as it were. Creative freedom with no one telling you to make the logo bigger, this…


A series of patterns using geometric shapes that capture some of the iconic features of Dieter Rams’ products.
A series of patterns using geometric shapes that capture some of the iconic features of Dieter Rams’ products.

This is the final part in a series of three articles that critically examines Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design. This article covers principles 8–10 and contains a conclusion. If you haven’t read the other articles, you can check out part one here, and check out part two here.

8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

This principle speaks to me as a designer the most out of all ten principles. However, when considering digital, I would probably phrase this as, “Exceptional design is thorough down…

Pascal Barry

Designer of digital products, brands, websites and type. Co-founder at akord.com, a tech startup based in Paris. Visit the source at www.blogofpascal.com

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