Matt Griffin is a designer and founder of Bearded and Wood Type Revival. He's a speaker, writer, and an avid advocate for collaboration in design.
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Part of getting to a better place in the new year is recognizing where we have sway, and going past our own discomfort to create positive change in ourselves and in the world. Those of us who have a role in the hiring process can do better by thinking critically about culture fit. Matt Griffin challenges us to consider whether it actually creates the kind of team that’s the best for the enterprise, or mostly serves to make us comfortable by surrounding us with people largely like ourselves in ways that aren’t relevant to the business.
When a designer becomes known for a certain look or style, it could be a sign that they’re held in thrall by something in their own personality or individual life experience. Matt Griffin reminds us that design is a service intended to be tailored to the client. To best meet the project’s and the client’s needs, recognize when you’re hanging on to a limited selection of personal design tropes.
The culture of a business is closely tied to its size. A small crew with little overhead has flexibility in choosing clients. A big firm offers extensive resources and coworker interaction. Your startup’s character will change as it progresses through these levels too. Knowing what effects come into play during company growth can help you choose the work environment where you’re most comfortable and fulfilled, or give you the ability to control the growth of your own business so you can bring it in at a size that works best for you. In the final part of a four-part series on the money side of the web, Matt Griffin describes the ages and stages of company growth.
If you make a living in client services, you know how daunting the estimating process can be. Somehow, you have to predict how much time and work will go into completing a client’s project before it even begins. Clients have to trust your estimates in order to commit funds to a project. You have to trust your estimates in order to commit to the next project on your schedule. Matt Griffin shares some tips to make estimating a bit more methodical and a bit less fraught.
Displays that are more tiny than our lowest-size breakpoints require a more condensed range of type sizes. If you don't already have in place a typographic system that can absorb the demands of this new context (watches, wearables, digital sticky notes, whatever), now might be the time to consider it. Matt Griffin was ready for anything because his site was simple and built to be future friendly.
You take pride in your creativity and brilliant work, but the web is a place of transience. Businesses evolve, client needs change, sites are outgrown, and it’s time to start building again. Can you be content with the work of presenting content on the web? For an approach to creating something that stands the test of time, Matt Griffin and the Bearded crew took to heart an old adage in a surprisingly new way.
If you plan to bill your clients, you need a method for putting a price on what you do. The variables are always money, time, and scope of work, but the way they relate to each other can bring different client motivations to the foreground and fit different agency needs.
So you own a business. It’s the best job you’ve ever had, and it will be forever—as long as the business stays viable. That means understanding when it’s profitable, and when you may have to make some adjustments. Don’t worry—it doesn’t require an accounting degree and it won’t turn you into a greedy industrialist.
Does your inbox constantly beg for attention? Do you suffer from always-on inbox anxiety? Email can easily take over your life—especially if you’re running a business. If that’s happening, it’s time to get serious about controlling the firehose of asynchronous communication.
As a designer or UX pro, you’ve long suspected you ought to learn to code, but where to start? How about making your next wireframe responsive? When you build wireframes with simple code, you create a deliverable that can be reused while you become more knowledgeable about the inner workings of the web.
When you’re asked to give a quote on a project, you face a dilemma. Ballpark it and hope for the best, or spend unpaid time working up a proposal that may not lead to work after all? There’s a third way that’s better for you and the client.
When you step into the room with a client, you are a visitor from the future. You, web professional, spend your days immersed in the new paradigms of the multi-device web. Yet even for you, the constant change and adjustments that come with living on the internet can feel overwhelming. So how do you think your clients feel? It’s time to shed the vestigial mindsets we’ve inherited from the advertising world—the closed communications and drama of the “big reveal”—and build new systems based on honesty, inclusion, and genuine communication, says Matt Griffin. In this way, our clients will become true partners—rather than confused, anxious bystanders—as we learn to better navigate this strange, evolving digital universe together.
If you’re making websites, chances are you’ve given some thought to what constitutes a responsive-friendly design process—and you’ve probably found that adding a mockup for every breakpoint isn’t a sustainable approach. Designing in code sounds like the answer, but you may be mystified at where to begin—or feel unmoored and disoriented at the prospect of giving up the approach you’ve long relied on. Enter responsive comping. This new, mockup-less web design process makes it easy to get that Photoshop monkey off your back, and have a fresh new beginning with your old friend the web browser.
Stop over-preparing for client pitch meetings. Approach them the way musicians approach improvisation: open your ears and listen. Matt Griffin tells how to forget the slideshows, be genuine, the person that you are every day in your job, and win the clients you should win.