Feb 22, 2018 Design + Creative

Design Microsites

It’s been an interesting trend the last few years to start seeing companies be very vocal about how much the value design. I suspect it’s a combination of many different things. There is plenty of evidence that companies that do great design work tend to be successful. Finding great designers is tough, so perhaps being vocal about your value of design can help design great design hires. Plus maybe a bit of good old fashioned Apple envy.

I enjoy the trend, yes, me. A behind-the-scenes look at a company’s design thinking is compelling! Here’s a bunch of them you can check out and follow.

Google Design

Material design was a big coming-together for the design of Google products, but more broadly, Google has a design site full of guides, news, and podcasts. No RSS feed, but they have newsletters.

Airbnb Design

Airbnb’s design site one of my favorites, not only because they do they do incredible design stuff and talk about it, they mix it with incredible innovations in design technology, like React-sketchapp which magically combines Sketch and React. I also love their investment in animation tooling like Lottie and using machine learning to turn sketches into code.

Slack Design

Slack, so far, is internally focused, and that’s fine by me! One might say “delight” started to get a little over-used in talking about design, but if anyone does it, Slack does.

MailChimp Design

MailChimp has a design blog which unfortunately looks a bit out of commission. But, perhaps even cooler, they have a public style guide specifically for copy they call Voice & Tone. As far as I know, this was one of the first major guides for this from a brand made public.

Facebook Design

Facebook has been dropping some really well made resources from their design site, like UI kits for iOS, macOS, and a variety of devices. But true to the design blog spirit, it’s also full of interviews, thoughts, and behind the scenes looks.

Etsy Design

Wonderfully honest behind the scenes insight at Etsy, as well as positive advice and editorial stuff. As a cool bonus, each article is custom illustrated (kinda like this site!).

IBM Design

IBM’s design site feels a bit corporate-y and like a disguised hiring landing page. But that’s probably exactly what it is and doesn’t make it a bad thing. In fact, since IBM is a company of 385,000+, a public re-commitment to design is an interesting thing to watch. Miroslav Azis:

In 2013, IBM Design set off to create a sustainable culture of design at a scale never before attempted. The engine that powers this transformation is IBM Design Thinking: a framework for applying design thinking at the speed and scale demanded by an enterprise like IBM. The ultimate goal: changing the way IBM approaches problems and solutions to improve the lives of the people we serve.

The site feels a little neglected these days so it’s hard to say how it all worked out, but it’s certainly an interesting thing to watch.

Dropbox Design

Dropbox used their design site to write about their fascinating and bold branding evolution late last year. But like the best of these design sites, it’s a mixture of behind-the-scenes stuff, process advice, and editorial.

About the Author Chris is a web designer and developer. He writes about all things web at CSS-Tricks, talks about all things web at conferences around the world and on his podcast ShopTalk, and co-founded the web coding playground CodePen. More by this Author