The ‘new normal’ is no longer new. Being remote, the search for work life balance, continuous Zoom calls and the juggling of our responsibilities has meant we are working in a new world. How we set a course to manage ourselves and support our teams is going to be critical in achieving our goals.

How do we design new rituals to keep people together and make sure we don’t drift apart?

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🌤 Photo by Peter Feghali on Unsplash

I’ll set the scene. Let’s picture a shipwreck. The ship is slowly sinking, and in order to survive you’re filling up dinghies. Debris from your ship is floating everywhere…


This isn’t a normal week and your focus is not where it normally would be. There’s a number of reasons for this. And it’s totally ok.

I’m a Senior Design Manager whose team sits in four different countries. We’re used to speaking on Zoom and collaborating using digital tools–but I’m also a WFH parent with a partner who’s also working and a child that’s excited to have his parents at home.

Rather than comparing how things are at the moment versus a couple of weeks ago, I’m trying to be comfortable with what I’m doing and what I’m not doing…


When design has a seat at the table it’s important we use it. Ensuring that we represent ourselves and gain the trust of those around us. This trust is built in the situations we share together. The times we meet are the times we can set a collective direction — but meetings are tricky.

We have too many meetings and they can be unwieldy rooms to be in. We are all aware that meetings that aren’t structured can be a total time suck and often end in folk feeling unproductive.

As a designer, you’re going to spend time in meetings…


Weekly reflections on my week as a design manager, jotted down in 15mins during my commute.

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#1

As we work together trying to solve problems it’s sometimes more comfortable to digest and work through the discovery and early stages by ourselves. We collect and interpret our thoughts and render the ideas into mediums that are presentable or considered acceptable.

Consistently, I am reassured by the approach of sharing those initial ideas early and often as a means of building and improving on those internal hunches, inspirations and routes we begin to plot.

Whether it’s a workflow design, presentation or a…


When we set out to build Plane we wanted to do something that was fundamentally different; No swiping, no selfies, no nonsense. We wanted to build a tool where people connect not based on how they look but how they see the world. A picture-less social network, an icebreaker, a non superficial messenger.

Jargon aside, what we’re really trying to do is level the playing field. But how and why?

People are inundated with services that allow them to share photos, videos, stickers, loops, cartoons, selfies, and everything else. When two people connect using Plane, it isn’t because of how…


If you’re a small startup you are your advertising agency. You’re responsible for positioning the brand, setting the tone of voice and steering the creative direction. Thinking about your advertising is paramount and it doesn’t mean you’re a mad man to plot your global ad campaign.

Building up to the launch of Plane we’ve been creating content and brainstorming marketing ideas. Of course, some are more practical than others and almost all of them have been done on a small budget. In this post I’ll share with you some of the basics we’ve done, along with advice on how we’re thinking about what advertising is to us.

Breaking it down:

  1. Inspired by NYC
  2. Take a Shot
  3. Be specific Now
  4. Lens Flare Beware
  5. Get out of office
  6. Headliners
  7. Medium is the Medium
  8. What it looks like

1. Inspired by NYC.

Taking this photo last year in NYC inspired this post. We…


We all know about Investor updates. They’re good and necessary. But what about keeping investor prospects and potential partners in the loop?

We call it the Tangible Newsletter. We started with 30 subscribers.

We send the update to a selection of investors and potential partners we’ve met along the way. The content is fairly candid and we’re quite open with what we share. It’s intended to highlight tangible progress.

Our investors get sms, Messenger and phone calls. They also get the newsletter of course but they already know what’s in it, mainly.

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We ship bi-weekly on a Thursday. A simple, cost effective and target driven activity that keeps a deadline in the diary and a focus on progress. …


Ever since Plane launched in private beta 3 weeks ago, our logo has been purple, sometimes yellow and uses a font I can’t pronounce properly.

As the self appointed ‘brand executioner and DEO’ (design executive officer) I am super stoked to share with you our *new design.

*2 weeks old.

Originally we were using a Plane emoji inside a yellow app icon. But we needed to strengthen the core competency of its aesthetic existence. I also wasn’t totally sure whether we could get sued using the emoji.

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Plane App Icon (the old one)

But we needed to double-down on design and build a new icon that…


As if building a company wasn’t hard enough, we’re now faced with the ultimate and most difficult challenge for any fledgling startup.

We’re stuck.

In a rut.

Unable to move forward.

Forget product market fit. We cant find startup-tshirt-fit.

I’m not sleeping.

Here’s the thing. After 4 months of discussion we have got it down to 3 options and we need YOUR help making the decision to which t-shirt we produce.

All 3 of the options carry varying messages and we have tweaked, user tested and prototyped.

Option 1: The Classic Horse Dog with Miami Vice Twist.

Pros: The colours are nice.

Cons: Makes little to no sense, requires in…


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Whilst sat on hold waiting to talk to the local tax authority here in Denmark, I was staring at the home screen of my iPhone 6 and it came to me.

Why aren’t my app icons animated?

I didn’t really think much more about it other than imagining what a few of my homescreen app icons might look like if they were sprinkled with a bit of magic dust.

A few hours later I checked back into Twitter and there was a response and a link from @jasperstocker with this:

I clicked on the link and was greeted with a tremendous image that fairly…

Tim Allison

Senior Product Design Manager EMEA - @Zendesk . Imaginator and occasional strummer. Views are mine. https://timallison.co/

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