Whenever I’m asked to describe what I do, I’ve always said that I enjoy working on difficult design problems alongside good, thoughtful people. I’ve looked to do that throughout my client practice, and over the years I’ve been very fortunate to have found so many opportunities to do so.
And today, I’m joining the team at Vox Media, where they’ve got plenty of interesting problems—and more than a few good people.
A few months ago, I heard from Mandy Brown, a dear, old friend. We chatted about a number of topics—her adorable pup, things we were reading, certain NHL mascots—and then we talked about work. I mentioned off-handedly she’d caught me during an unexpected quiet period, since a client had just pushed out a project. And it’s then that Mandy offered a suggestion: maybe it’s time we worked together again.
Over the years, I’ve learned to listen carefully when Mandy has an idea. When Mandy saw me give a talk about an idea I’d had, she invited me to write an article—and later, a book. When Mandy had an idea for a startup, she asked me to be one of her cofounders, alongside Jason and David. In other words, Mandy’s always shown so much faith in my ideas, and in me. So when she asked if I’d be interested in joining her team, I listened carefully.
I learned Vox has two design systems: one for their internal products, and another that powers their audience-facing sites. We talked about how those systems were growing; we also spoke about a few ways I might be able to contribute. The work sounded interesting—really interesting—so I asked if I could learn a bit more.
Over the next month or so, Mandy lined up calls with the folks who’ve designed and built Vox’s design systems. I sat down with Sachin, with Michael, with Miriam, and with Dan. I learned about the work Katie’s done over the last few years, and I caught up with Yesenia. (Who has, as you might know, spoken extensively about the design systems work at Vox.) I had a heck of a call with Ambika and David. I talked with Lívia, who knows a thing or three about design systems at scale.
Over the course of these conversations, the work transitioned from sounding interesting to sounding irresistible. Each of these folks are focused on improving the design systems they work with, and in our brief chats they asked some really, really interesting questions. They’re approaching this work from angles I’d never considered before—and I can’t wait to learn more from them.
So, yeah. I’m stepping away from my client practice for now—but that’s something I’ve done a few times before. And I’m doing it because I’ve found some new design problems—good ones—and I’ll be working on them alongside some very smart, very kind people.
I can’t wait to get started.