Someone recently asked how I keep up with the design world. My answer: newsletters.
For me, email is the perfect medium: it doesn’t interrupt me (unlike intrusive notifications) and I never miss something because it’s waiting in my inbox (unlike the ephemeral nature of social media).
I subscribe to about 40 newsletters, many of which link out to other sites. Typically I skim each, save interesting articles to Instapaper, and open interesting tools and products in a browser tab to explore later. My goal isn’t to learn everything I see, but rather to become aware this stuff exists in case it’s useful later (at which point I’ll learn it).
Here are a few newsletters I use to keep up with product design (you can read most of these online without subscribing):
- Sidebar: Five links every weekday, everything from articles to resources to inspiration. I read 1-2 articles from each issue.
- Product Hunt: Discover the best new software products and features. Dense Discovery also helps here. Helpful to keep up with what others are working on and new design patterns.
- Figmalion: Tips on how to use Figma to its full potential, including lots of plugins and 5min tutorials. Helpful to level up my Figma game.
- Smashing Magazine: A newsletter about all facets of design. Each issue sticks to a theme and contains a bunch of links, making it easy to dive into what you’re interested in and skip what you’re not.
- Frontend Focus: General front-end news, articles, tools, experiments, and tutorials. CSS Weekly is also good. Helpful to keep up with the front-end community.
- Web Design Weekly: A little bit of everything from the world of web design and front-end. Overlaps with other newsletters on this list, but helpful in general.
- Design Systems Weekly: Articles, tools, and presentations about design systems. Helpful for keeping tabs on the design systems community.
- Datawrapper: A must if you work with data visualization. Datawrapper are my go-to experts and it’s helpful to keep up with what they’re thinking about.
- Growth Design: These fellas do a UX critique a popular product in a comic book format. Always helpful to see as a product designer.
I’m excited to be speaking at Parcel Unpacked. Live coding, email design systems, diversity and inclusion, and more. Parcel Unpacked squeezes a ton of email goodness into just a few hours from Jan 17-18. Better than best, it’s free!
I’ll be talking about my experience interviewing designers and developers in the last couple years, including what I heard from actual interviews (both the good and the bad), including:
- Strategies for showcasing your skills
- Best practices for presenting your work
- The value of side projects
- The importance of non-technical skills
It’ll be an AMA format with Naomi West, so if you have a question you’d like us to answer, let me know! Register here, it’s free!
The year was marked by ongoing struggles with COVID, inflation, unstable economies, humanitarian crises, extreme weather events, and most notably the outbreak of war in Ukraine. Everywhere you looked, it seemed things were falling apart.
But 2022 also brought progress with human rights, conservation, global health, and a shift towards clean energy. Naturally these stories were less likely to make the headlines, which is why I love Future Crunch (mentioned in Issue #1). They recently published their yearly review of good news.
A few highlights:
- #12: The US passed 45 new gun safety laws and blocked a bunch of bills linked with the gun lobby.
- #38: COVID-19 vaccines prevented 19.8 million deaths during 2021.
- #50: Numerous countries previously dependent on Russian gas accelerated their clean energy plans in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thanks Putin.
- #68: The climate fight is working.
If you're looking for a pick-me-up, spend a few minutes learning about what mankind achieved this year.
It’s annual planning season, and more often than not that means…
I always find it crazy when the C-suite goes on a retreat then comes back with a list of initiatives. It happens at every company. It’s like the people furthest away from the problem decides on what to build. - Hà Phan
As always, thanks for reading! I’ve really enjoyed this little experiment these past few months. It gets me writing regularly (even when I think I have nothing to say) and keeps my email design and code skills sharp.
Did you enjoy reading this newsletter? If so, please consider sharing it with your friends.
Until next month ✌️