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January 12, 2021

Design: Your secret superpower

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The Innovation team at Instinctif harness the best of the future to deliver market-leading ideas in the present. The team’s specialism spans digital strategy and marketing, data & analytics, and strategic brand. With the world and news agenda fast-changing around us, now’s the time to get agile in how we think and work.

This newsletter brings you the best of the week in the ‘new normal’, straight from the desk of the Innovation team.

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For the first edition of 2021, we’re hearing from Innovation’s Visual Strategy Director, Matthew McGuinness, freshly emerged from a webinar around ‘Design as a Superpower’.

Welcome to the new year.

Despite the excitement and optimism and desire for newness, 2021 is off to a Groundhog Day version of its predecessor.

We are back in a national lockdown. Big companies and mom and pop alike are forecasting calamitous results. (If we ever get a chance to return to our City office, I will miss casually meandering into Paperchase).

Homeschooling is in session.

And, with everybody in my house on a different Teams call, my internet has been trying.

The weight on my WiFi resulted in me being dropped from a webinar today, which was intended to teach me about my potential secret weapon as a designer.
The webinar titled ‘Design as a Superpower’ was hosted by Hans Pelle Jart of Schønning Jart. It was organised by an international design collective called The Design Kids for The Dots, the LinkedIn for folks who don’t wear suits.

But I took some valuable learnings from what I did hear on the call – as well as the fact that I have an unstable internet connection. Before I fell off, Hans spoke of his agency’s design process as its proverbial (superhero) ‘myth origin’. He described using a four-part technique (similar to our Double Diamond approach) to deliver superhuman ‘design’ for a range of clients.

My understanding of superpowers is that they come about either by invention, advancement, encounter or accident. The design process-based coincidence was entirely inspired as it was reaffirming. As I signed up for this webinar, I had hoped to find what skillsets I could utilise to unleash my ‘super’ talent. It would seem, one of the fundamental practices which has allowed our team to blossom and shine was the very thing I embarked on discovering.

For the last two-plus years, we in Innovation have applied various iterations of the Double Diamond method to advance our design thinking, to significant results. At this point, the process itself has become somewhat ingrained as part of our team’s DNA.

At first sight, I may look like a regular, ordinary designer (with a bright orange hat). I may even feel like a typical designer. So, it is encouraging to know that I can now claim to be an everyday superhero of a designer, with my Double Diamond and my team ready to defend 2021 from any design problems that may be looming.

Not all heroes wear capes.

I am thrilled to have arrived in this new year, and with the vaccine on the horizon, we just need to collectively stay the course with as much enthusiasm as we can muster. Then, let me share Innovation’s super strength with you so that it will be our, Instinctif’s, super strength

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Among the other Very Bad Things it has done, the pandemic has exposed and deepened existing lines of inequality across the world.

Set against a backdrop of celebrities expansively declaring the need for us to stick together from their rose petal-strewn baths, COVID has disproportionately affected women, people of colour, the elderly and those with low socio-economic status.

But the latest announcement from Vodafone and Three* takes an important step towards redressing one area of imbalance: access to education.

With schools in England shut until at least February, these telecoms firms have teamed up with the Department for Education to make sure children from low-income families don’t fall behind, by offering free data or broadband when studying from home.

And more help is at hand – Joe Wicks will be limbering up once more to re-enter the fray as the nation’s PE teacher, with the BBC also chipping in to broadcast lessons on BBC Two, CBBC and online.

Learn more here.
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This week’s tip comes from Senior Graphic Designer, Vanessa Nichele.

Combining two things I love: design and music, it’s interesting to see these amazing projects providing unique experiences to listeners, with designers and record labels coming together to make new vinyl experiences for home listeners.

Vinyl is not new and musicians have been creating exceptional album covers and packaging since the early days (see Sgt. Peppers’s Lonely Hearts Club Band).

However it’s great to see you still can enjoy music beyond the vinyl listening experience.

It can be a mix of sound and vision and it’s very exciting for designers out there to have the opportunity to work with a larger and more tactical media in the age of digital music consumption.

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