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Design Life

Author: Charli Prangley, Femke Van Schoonhoven

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Design Life is a podcast about design and side projects for motivated creators. It was born after your hosts, two serial side project addicts, saw a gap in the podcast market for a conversational show about design and the issues young creatives face, that was hosted by two females.

This show aims to tackle the big issues designers face like getting paid, overcoming a creative block or managing time, to name a few. We want to open up discussion about things we wish we heard people talk about when we were studying, and we want to chat to you about the joys and the frustrations of working in the tech industry by day, and on our passion projects in the rest of our waking hours. We hope that by doing so, Design Life will give you a dose of motivation or inspiration when you need it.
187 Episodes
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186: Design QA Process

186: Design QA Process


Although we work for companies of different sizes and on vastly different kinds of projects, there are more similarities between our QA reviews than there are differences. A QA is a process that every designer implements as the project comes closer to completion, as a designer you need to check everything is good to go for your launch date. Hitting snags at the end of a project is common, we discuss how we’ve evolved our design QA process to get the best results.
Jonathan has worked with companies like Lego, Twitter and even the UN, running sprints to make design decision making easier. Following on from our recent topic of design decision making, we ask Jonathan to tell us more about how we can get out of busy work and instead, spend time creating through easier, faster and more collaborative design decision making.AJ&SmartThe Workshopper Playbook
As designers, we make a lot of decisions. From moving something two pixels to the left to redesigning an entire website, our decisions range in difficulty. Today on Design Life we talk about how we go about making these decisions and how to overcome decision paralysis.Join the community on PatreonCheck out our online store
Design reviews can seem a bit like a holy grail but using them to the designer’s advantage to create a successful project is key. We dive deep into the processes in place for formal and informal design reviews and crits where we work and share what we have learned from giving and receiving feedback. 
On this episode of Design Life we are talking side projects. You might have a few ideas bouncing around in your mind of late, that keep coming back to you. Maybe you want to see if your idea would spark interest in the audience you have in mind, but you don’t know where to start. Using our own side projects as examples, we talk about how you can bring your idea to life and avoid potential pitfalls along the way. Burger bun recipe
In this week’s episode of Design Life, we have a timely discussion about our motivation while working from home. These are unprecedented times we’re living in. Trying to find and stay motivated while also building a new routine when working from home is a challenge. We discuss our levels of motivation as it changes from day-to-day and why it’s important not to give yourself a hard time if you’re feeling less motivated than usual.Femke's video: Temporary workstation setup while working from home (Desk Tour)Join our community!
Many people find themselves working from home at the moment as workplaces play their part in helping to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. For those of us who are working from home for the first time, or returning to remote working after some time in the office, we use this episode of Design Life to chat about the benefits of working from home and how we stay productive in our new environment. We also share the struggles we face as we miss our colleagues and how we use technology to stay connected.Join the community on Patreon!Get yourself a Design Life pin!
In this episode of Design Life we discuss how to build your network. Over the course of your career, how can you build a strong, supportive network? We talk about taking the organic approach to creating your network so you can you successfully leverage the support of your colleagues online and IRL.How to network as an introvert116: An alternative approach to networking107: Advice for networking
178: Performance reviews

178: Performance reviews


Giving and receiving feedback can be tricky. In this episode we talk about performance reviews, which is quite timely as both of us have just finished or are in the process of having ours. We discuss how feedback works on our teams, how this helps us and what we plan to do with our feedback.Join our community!Buy a Work In Progress pin!
As designers we have very high expectations of our own portfolios. Try to take the pressure off. Don’t overthink it. Build a system so you can easily and quickly publish work and keep it up to date. Identify your own barriers and then build solutions to overcome them. The temptation to redesign your portfolio can make you lose sight of your goal. Stick with an old design if it means getting the new work up. At the end of the day, that is the most important thing. Schedule time to come back to the design at a later date. If your work is covered by an NDA, you might feel like there is no way around it - you just can’t build a portfolio. Instead of this mindset, could you consider sending a password protected link to share your work? How about blanking out information that is private? Or send through a password protected pdf. Remember your goal is to get an interview, so you need to share just enough to interest the company and give you a chance to present your portfolio in more detail at an interview. If you are really short on time, create an archive. Even if you have a portfolio, creating an archive which you can reference at a glance is a good idea. Keep it simple. The information can be sparse to begin with, the year, the project, the company and a holding image is enough. If you want to host your archive on a platform, try using Dribble.
We have both experienced the frustration of being asked to sign off on our designs only to find that either a small part of the project or a large chunk have not been developed as we had intended. In this episode of design life we discuss how to tackle implementation issues between design and development so that company goals are achieved on schedule and within budget.Join the community!
In this episode we talk about how design is more than just pushing pixels. As a designer you may find yourself completing any number of tasks - planning researching, exploring, scoping, interviewing, wire framing - we could go on and on. Sometimes this can be frustrating. This week we discuss a query from a listener about what to do when you feel that design is the last thing on your to do list.Support the show on Patreon! 
Have you ever thought about starting your own YouTube channel? In this week’s episode of Design Life we speak about our channel’s journeys, what has worked consistently and what we have done differently over time. We speak honestly about growing our channels, dealing with controversy, balancing content, monetisation and sponsorship. This episode is a must-listen for any designer who wants to start or grow a design YouTube channel.01.39 – Catch up04.15 – Gaps in the Youtube design community10.18 – Striking a content balance12.13 – Our favourite videos to make16.44 – Dealing with controversy19.06 – Growing your channel24.50 – Evergreen vs tentpole content 27.05 – Monetisation and sponsored content Femke's latest videoCharli's latest videoJoin our Patreon!
This is a very exciting time of year, a great time to evaluate 2019 and look ahead to what you want to achieve in 2020. In this episode, the first episode of the new decade, we talk about our goals and intentions for the year ahead. This has become a tradition for us on the podcast, at the start of every year we reflect on our goals and look forward to what we want to achieve next. Plan your year workbookThe Design Life Community on Patreon
Is the weight of your potential weighing you down? Potential can be both a blessing and a curse. When you feel fulfilled, you are able to focus on the task at hand and complete your best work. If you possess a greater potential than the task at hand requires, over time, completing this task will leave you feeling unfulfilled. In this week’s episode, inspired by Charli’s blog post, we go deep and talk about how fulfilled we feel right now, the weight of potential and getting unstuck.
In this episode of Design Life we have a special guest joining us, Zach Grosser. Zach joins Charli on the podcast this week as they both attended Adobe MAX 2019, Charli was an Adobe Insider this year and Zach was invited to attend by Adobe as a UX leader. Charli and Zach discuss their key takeaways from this year’s flagship creativity conference.Bézier podcast with Zach GrosserTalk to Me by Dean NelsonFull Time You by Meg Lewis 
Are you hoping to make the jump from a junior to senior role in 2020? On this episode of Design Life we discuss a query about senior and junior roles from a listener hoping to change levels. How do you know when you’re ready, how can you figure out and prove that you have the skills you need to do the job at hand? We discuss how the jump is managed at our respective companies and the idea that there is always something you can do, even if it’s not being asked of you, to demonstrate why you you’re up to the challenge. Han Bang – Toronto design YoutuberGet your design life pin!Join the community
In a change to our usual format, this week on Design Life we discuss Femke’s experience of the Within leadership retreat. The three day, design leadership retreat provided plenty for us to discuss, including leading authentically, listening to your inner critic and coaching colleagues to come up with their own solutions.Leadership CirclesWithin Retreat
How do you deal with the frustration of people not accepting your ideas? When you share an idea and people brush it off or they don’t agree that it is a good idea, how do you deal with that in such a way that your team understand your disappointment but don’t mark you as a sore loser. In this episode we talk about how we communicate our disappointment and frustrations with our teams, and how sometimes listening can reveal an unexpected solution. 01.10 – Check in04.40 – Listener’s letter11.55 – What to do if this happens to you17.34 – Accept your idea didn’t make the cut22.50 – Listen & Learn25.55 – What to do if your ideas are being shot down more often than not   
Comments (2)

Virginia Delgado

Loved this episode :) I've been listening to your podcast lately, in no particular order, and this got my attention. What if you start a career because of that drive, and then you start losing it? I started a career change a couple of years ago (from filmmaking to graphic design) and one year left from my design degree, I have to push myself to do side projects! I was so so interested when I was working as a filmmaker (which I still do sometimes but don't feel so passionate about it anymore) and did design projects whenever I could... Now, I'm having a hard time to "stay up late because of X project". Can passions change? And should we look at our B list when this happens? Thanks for the podcast :)

Jun 8th

Shruthi Baskar

Amazing podcast! Feels like listening to a best friend who can relate to whatever you are going through.

Oct 10th
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