For those of us who work as in-house designers,
simply googling “design” in order to find sites that support our work will only yield a small fraction of relevant internet resources. That’s because the range of skills and
knowledge that in-house designers need to be successful is broad; in corporate contexts
it includes, at the very least, a marginal grasp of HR, finance, management,
communication and business strategies.
news is that there are a lot of excellent sites out there. The bad news is that
they aren’t always easy to find. Here’s a shortlist of 15
websites and blogs full of invaluable information for in-house designers. If
you know of others, please post your thoughts and suggestions in the comments.
This site is a veritable needle
in the internet haystack, featuring posts that cover nearly every in-house
business sweet spot. There are pieces on social media, leadership, communication, HR
and management, to name only a few. You can also subscribe to daily
e-newsletter digests that target articles on a wide variety of specific topics.
If you only bookmark one site, this should be it.
As a creative himself, Todd
Henry understands your creative soul. On this blog he offers powerful personal insights
that let you know you’re not alone, as well as valuable, actionable advice.
I fell in love with Bob
Sutton the moment I spied—and then read—his book, The No Asshole Rule. The title alone should give you a clue as to
this accomplished Stanford professor’s approach to business management. I’m
sure you’ll find yourself nodding like a bobblehead on a pickup dashboard as
you read through his entertaining and memorable posts.
Founded as a print journal that documented design business case studies, @Issue is now completely digital, and
provides a wealth of real-world, in-house anecdotes and insights. It often includes helpful visuals as well.
The United Kingdom, in my opinion, has it all over the U.S. when it comes to identifying powerful
business rationales for supporting the value that design brings to
organizations and society in general. This site offers proof.
Mark McGuinness is a poet,
psychotherapist and business coach who “…realized most of
(my) clients didn’t need psychotherapy, just some help with the professional
challenges they faced.” Having worked with numerous in-house creatives, McGuinness
pens a blog full of useful managerial and creative leadership strategies and
Stanford University’s hybrid
design/business school shares a wealth of knowledge on this site. IDEO is heavily
involved, which in and of itself should be reason enough to add this page to your bookmarks.
Full disclosure: I work
for The BOSS Group, which is affiliated with Cella. That said, I was a follower
of this blog long before my recent career move. Creative Execs features
high-level, grown-up posts on business-focused topics that are entirely
relevant to the practice of in-house design—such as project management and
recruiting strategies. Not necessarily the sexiest topics, but certainly ones
that are critical to your success.
While David Baker, a long-time
design business thought leader, focuses primarily on independent agencies and
design firms for this site, there’s still much to be found here in the way of insights
relevant to the in-house community.
This accumulation of New York Times pieces, originally
published in a Sunday business column of the same name, provides wonderful
leadership advice from businesses’ top leaders. They didn’t get to where they
are by just being pretty faces.
McCracken—a frequent speaker at AIGA events—studies modern-day culture, particularly
its intersection with and applicability to the business sphere. As in-house
designers, we often serve as arbiters of culture and (should-be) marketing consultants to
our companies, and it behooves us to follow McCracken’s musings and theories. He’ll
help you better serve your clients in these areas, which are critical to your
company’s marketing and business strategy initiatives.
This site, based in
Ireland, has systematically gone about quantifying the bottom-line value that
design brings to the country’s businesses. While specific to another context, this
site contains must-have information for an in-house designer seeking to make a
financial case for the contributions his or her team makes to their company.
The Creative Group, long a
supporter of in-house designers, has been posting valuable content on a wide
range of related workplace issues for many years. Their e-zine is a robust
archive of interviews, career and management advice and strategic articles.
DANIEL H. PINK! Nuff said.
Once again, there is a need
for full disclosure. I, along with my co-conspirators Andy Brenits, Glenn
Arnowitz and Ed Roberts, edit this blog, which is solely devoted to in-house
issues. The format varies from interviews and inspirational quotes to case
studies and challenging opinion pieces, liberally sprinkled with humor and
hardcore tactical information.
Andy Epstein started his career as a freelance designer and illustrator with clients as varied as Bacardi, Canon, Bantam Books and Merck. Jumping into the world of in-house in 1992, Andy created and grew in-house design teams for Commonwealth Toy and Gund.
He later restructured and expanded the hundred-person creative team at Bristol-Myers-Squibb and consulted at Johnson & Johnson. After a three year stint at Designer Greetings leading an in-house design team responsible for the company’s product lines and Point
Of Sales materials, Andy moved back into pharma heading up a 65+ managed services team at Merck.
Andy has written and spoken extensively on in-house issues and published “The Corporate Creative”, a book on in-house design, in partnership with F&W Publications in the spring of 2010. He is a co-founder of InSource, an association dedicated to providing
support to in-house designers and design team managers. Most recently he was head of INitiative, the AIGA program dedicated to in-house outreach and support where he expanded on his efforts to empower in-house teams and raise their stature in the design and
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