Specialise and survive

For a long time, I’ve told anyone that will listen that if they want to design customer-facing services of any kind, they need to spend some time working in the hospitality industry. Now I’m not some bell-ringing, national service loving idiot, I simply think it’s practical to have some sense of what it’s like to actually deliver a service to a living, breathing – often swearing – customer. But more and more, I think that major service providers can learn in a similar way, looking at how other industries have innovated in the way they interact with their customers.

Large organisations across the world have a depressing, ongoing obsession with trying to emulate Apple. It’s a jealous, boring habit that has spawned countless products, digital and physical, which aim to capture the enthusiasm for Cupertino-created magic, but relentlessly fall short of the mark. This repeating process of dull, half-arsed innovation focused around another’s apparent formula for success is like watching a dog chasing a car – the failure is inevitable and obvious to everyone except the hound.

It’d be cruel and naive of me to suggest that this behaviour is restricted to product design in big business – the service industry is as guilty of it as anyone. Local mini-markets emulate the likes of Tesco with nauseating regularity, selling inferior products at inflated prices, attempting to scale down a retail concept that relies in so many ways on that very size to be profitable, and being beaten at their own game by miniaturised versions of the very supermarkets that they try to copy. Bars are guilty of it too – in an industry where smaller pubs are shutting at a thundering rate, it’s the generic, tied boozers that are falling by the wayside, unable to adapt the Wetherspoon model of success to their own ventures, and hemorrhaging patrons who can both eat and drink for less money by visiting the supermarket.

On the other hand, some of the greatest examples of getting it right can be seen in bars. Previously, the best means of differentiation would very often stem from being the best place in a given locale to get the cheapest pint. The problem is, it’s very difficult for a small business to compete against huge organisations with enormous buying power in this respect. So why make that your focus? Instead, we’ve seen bars that embrace specialism and expertise as their selling point, and have seen them succeed.

Take Brewdog – the Fraserburgh brewery, led by the fearless, irreverent vision of its two founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie, which has five bars dotted across the UK. These bars – often opening in areas traditionally associated with low quality, high volume boozing, don’t stock a single recognisable, mass-brewed beer, but thrive on the ability of their staff to share their wisdom, turning customers into brand-loyal beer lovers by letting them taste the goods before committing to a sale, and even letting them change their mind if they don’t like it after a few mouthfuls. The guys manning the pumps, telling customers that they’re going to blow their minds, are as important as any of the marketing, as any of the drinks in the taps themselves. They’re a sales force that feels natural, approachable, intelligent and passionate, setting themselves apart by pushing the role of a barman towards a level of knowledge more akin to a sommelier. In the same way that I’ve been encouraged to try new cocktails by the barmen at the wonderful Happiness Forgets in Hoxton, the experience of being led astray, trying something new – hell, being let in on the secret – is magnificent.

You could go to Tescos, and you could buy enough beer to sit at home and have a great night in with your friends for a fraction of the cost of a night in town. Bars like Brewdog give a reason to come out and spend money on something that can’t be achieved in front of the TV at home. By narrowing their focus and capitalising on staff expertise to provide a customer experience that’s genuinely innovative – not just a watered-down version of a larger, successful organisation – they’re pulling in the punters as other pubs are shutting their doors, and proving the value of finding your own niche in a crowded or floundering marketplace.

Photo by Jim Wilson


A personal experience with the NHS

I should start out by saying that I’m not going to be very objective in this blog, as the subject matter is far too personal for me to put at arm’s length – it may also be the first time that some of you are aware of what I’m about to tell you, and for that I apologise too. I’m writing this as a user, albeit one who makes a living as a designer, so it may come across as heart before head.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from my father. He’d told me before then that he hadn’t been feeling well, and that he’d been into hospital for some tests. I admit that I hadn’t really given it much thought beyond being concerned that he wasn’t feeling great. The phone call turned into him telling me that he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and I sat in my flat feeling like someone had dropped a rock on my chest for the rest of the night, 500 miles away from him.

Since then, I’ve been watching him undergo treatment within the NHS. My first feelings of optimism regarding the speed in which they wanted to treat him have long since faded into sheer frustration with a system that seems to ensnare those it intends to treat. I’ve seen his hopes raised, only to be dashed days later, and with them, endured the emotional drain that this inevitably results in, on both my father and those around him. I look back at Facebook messages to friends telling them that he’d be out before I got back from London for Christmas, yet here we are in January, and I’m still visiting him in hospital.

I’ve sat at his bedside these past few weeks looking at what’s going on around him, finding it impossible not to pick at the loose threads of the service I see in front of me, and the glaring, crippling problem that rears its head so often – communication. I have no questions or doubts over the clinical capabilities of those treating my father, and every doctor, nurse or other employee I’ve met has been polite, courteous and a credit to their profession. The problem is that it seems – and I emphasise that word, because in this case, the impression is as important as the reality – that everyone is doing their own thing, and that nobody speaks to each other in a meaningful manner. Whether it’s the staff that relentlessly offer my dad his dinner, despite him being fed through a naso-gastric tube, or the fact that he frequently seems to be a key channel of communication between clinical staff, it adds a whole other level of frustration to an already emotionally fraught situation.

In films and TV, you see relatives pacing around in hospitals, waiting for information to appear in the form of that cathartic moment where a doctor walks through the door, and tells them exactly what’s going on, and what’s going to happen, regardless of whether it’s good or bad news. In reality, at least in my experience, this moment hasn’t ever come. I find myself craving ‘news’ or ‘the plan’ like I used to a cigarette on a trans-Atlantic flight, asking him every time I go in what’s going on; what he’s been told since I last saw him. I watch him grow frustrated at the perceived lack of action, and that he’s just being left to sit in a hospital bed, on a drip, feeling bored, annoyed, and isolated. And all that’s on top of the fact that he’s got cancer.

Ultimately, I’m left feeling that the NHS is insitutionally treating my dad like a patient, the host to the cancer more than a person with real emotional needs – like they have no idea how emotionally crushing it is to be told first that you’d be getting out of hospital for Christmas, only to have that snatched from you a couple of days later. Right now, I don’t know what’s going to happen to him, regarding his treatment, his prognosis, whatever. I don’t know who to ask, and I don’t know how I could ask them if I did, because I don’t know where they are or when I can see them. Whether the clinical staff have a plan of action that they’re sticking to with unrelenting focus and determination, I have no idea, and the lack of knowing is the problem at the heart of everything I’ve talked about.

As I said, it’s difficult to discuss this in a measured manner. As a designer, you see a problem, you want to solve it. In this case, my dad’s at the heart of it, and it drives me mad to see this extra burden that’s placed on everyone involved in this shitty, exhausting situation as a result of something as flimsy as poor communication. Sitting writing this, I know that it could be much, much better. I feel like I need to do something about it.


“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you” – Freidrich Nietzsche

Trust is one of the most fragile things in life. Traditionally, it’s built on a huge range of subtle, intangible factors – it can take years to gain, seconds to lose, and once it’s gone, it might never return. Our trust is being asked for by more and more organisations, and has become fundamental to the day-to-day functionality of many of the services we use online. So how does this trust – one of the most intimate, complex characteristics of our being – combine with our increasingly digital lives, and where’s it all leading?

Digital trust is an issue that’s as old as most of our experiences of the internet, and amongst the clearest examples stems from something that over 50% of adults in the UK will have done at some point in their lives to date – shopped online. That little box in the top left of your screen when you go to the Paypal website (pictured) is a simple embodiment of digital trust that many of us now take for granted: the idea that when you pay for something, HTTPS means that you can trust that your card details aren’t going to go walkabout on their way to the retailer – you’re protected from outside interference, and the boogieman in the shadows isn’t going to steal your monetary soul. Many people won’t know – or frankly, give a damn – about how HTTPS works, but attach trust to those five little letters and a padlock icon all the same.

But this isn’t really trust in the same manner as one person trusting another. At the moment, working out how to trust someone online is an absolute mess, and doesn’t really reflect how we behave in day-to-day life at all. Your reputation online can best be imagined as a collection of books on a shelf – each by a different author, varying in the quality of writing, the depth of research, and ultimately, relevance. They do all point to the type of person you are, but without pulling them all off the shelf at once, nobody’s getting an overall picture. And of course, this is all assuming that you can even find the required reading you want – the simplicity of an online name change makes a mockery of the idea of a consistent web identity, and in the end, there is no equivalent of that little padlock symbol that you get when buying from a shop.

However, the social web is pulling together our digital identities, and pulling together some semblance of a broader online reputation – it’s getting harder than ever to split yourself online, and keep apart the many channels of who you are, whether you like it or not. Take this blog for example – whereas before you’d be most likely to register an account to comment on what I’ve written, now you can just use your Facebook identity, or your Twitter username instead. Your comments become tied to another account that would traditionally have nothing to do with this website, and as a result, they’re tied to something a lot less disposable than a casually-created WordPress account.

On a commercial level, think about that in relation to valuable goods and services, and it begins to make more sense. I’ve used a great service in the past called LensesForHire – they don’t take a deposit for the camera equipment they hire out. This might seem slightly dull at first, but when you consider that they’re renting kit that’s worth north of £5,000, it starts to seem like a wild risk on their part. Instead, they ask you to provide details of your membership to any photography forums, photographic clubs and a link to your photos. They then use this – your existing digital personality – to decide whether they can trust you with what’s theirs. That’s a £5,000 charge that doesn’t have to go on a credit card, but more than that, the feeling of someone telling you they trust you is moderately fantastic.

This model of trust is much closer to the way we earn it naturally, but realistically, it’s not practical on scale. In July, room-letting site Airbnb faced horrific press in the wake of a customer’s house getting turned over by the people that had booked to stay there, and the incident going viral online – trust in the whole principal of the service was utterly shaken. Clearly, it’s not feasible for the company to individually vet thousands of members, so Airbnb have responded with what can best be described as one of the most comprehensive online trust structures on the internet, providing a vast range of tools aimed at developing trust between users, and ultimately in the service itself. Several of these focus on linking to existing profiles – including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as creating your own Airbnb profile. We’re at the point where that social link isn’t just putting an online profile on the line – it’s you, and it’s the same you that your employers see, and your friends talk to.

Frankly, our digital model of trust is out of date, and at odds with the growth of our involvement with social media. If we’re going to commit to the idea of a real ‘digital self’, as opposed to the current series of half-finished profiles, user accounts and digital shadows that we cast across various social sites, then we need to start embracing the idea of linked online reputation, as well as the benefits it can bring to our entire online experience and those we interact with online.

A ten dollar tale

I interrupt normal, vaguely-serious blogging for something a little different. This is a post that can only be described as a yarn – a slightly obscure, design-related yarn, but a yarn nonetheless. But if you know me, you’ll know I love a good story, and this will all make sense. Hopefully.

As a kid, I’d always get a kick out of my dad drawing stuff for me. It was all the kind of stuff that you’d expect from a parental effort to entertain a small, hyperactive boy – shooty things, sporty things, utterly fantastical things… that sort of fodder – and it spurred me on to draw too. I don’t think there’s anything more directly responsible for what I decided to study at school and university than all that scribbly fun in my childhood, and in my pa, the man that showed me how much fun pen and paper could be. But drawing isn’t why I’m doing what I do now. Drawing was what made me want to become an automotive designer, and clearly, this is not the blog of someone who draws cars for a living.

Some time in primary school, I got the flu, as happens when you’re sitting in an environment that loves nothing more than an good, infectious airborne virus. Shit happens, but I was laid up for nearly two weeks in bed, distinctly unwell, with the prospect of missing some genuine Easter holiday time as a result. At some point in this, my dad did something that at the time made me want to kill him, but looking back, was the first moment I can remember ever really being part of a designed experience, even if he didn’t know that’s what he was doing. He told me that he’d got me a present, but that he couldn’t tell me what it was. Yet.

If you have kids, you’ll know that this was like flicking a lit match into a puddle of petrol. So, spirits buoyed by the prospect of Lego (I always assumed presents were Lego until proven otherwise, and I still rank Lego only below Hendrick’s gin as a birthday present), I felt less hammered with the flu and spent a good 50% of my time asking if I could get my present yet. The answer was always no. My expectation of this gift grew – there had to be some reason why I couldn’t just have the damn thing now. We were now talking about some seriously big Lego.

Then I got woken up by my dad. I didn’t really follow what was going on at all, but even with the curtains drawn, I knew it wasn’t the right time to be getting out of bed. Something was awry. Half-asleep, I was told that my present was under my pillow. Now, big boxes of plastic play-bricks aren’t something the Tooth Fairy can generally slot in discreetly, so I didn’t follow – I followed even less when I reached under, and felt the rough scratch of a piece of tough paper in my hand. Currency. Fake currency. Or more precisely, ten Disney Dollars. Seconds passed, and I still didn’t get it. Where the **** was my Lego?! Then, with a wry smile across his face, he asked “where can you spend it?”.

Early morning. Disney Dollars. Grinning father. Slightly slow son. The answer was Disney World, Florida. He threw my rucksack onto my bed, told me we were leaving in 20 minutes, and left the room before I could react. If I could go back to that moment now, I would applaud.

What he did with this embodies so much of what I love about the idea of designing for experience. As it transpired, the holiday was booked just before I became ill – my folks ferreted around and managed to dig out a last minute bargain, and once I was laid up with the lurgy, my dad decided to get a bit creative with the idea. He saw the need – phlegmy, glum son that he wanted to be happy – and decided that he wanted to draw on the idea of  anticipation to distract me from how horrendous I felt. Remember here, we’re talking about a decade before Disney started running adverts that showed parents telling kids about their holidays by painting on walls and using fridge magnets. My pa appears to have been something of an experiential trailblazer. Not bad for a veterinary surgeon (albeit one with a heavy involement in amateur dramatics).

Although all this is a throwaway experience designed to tell a kid he was going on holiday, I still think about it when I’m trying to design the experiences within a project. The ideas of building anticipation, over-delivering to delight those using what you design, and the value of playful interactions – especially with simple, meaningful touchpoints – are all lodged in my head. This all came flooding back to me at Social Innovation Camp when our group’s project sent a dozen text messages to people across the room, showing the core capability of the concept in a way that rippled round the audience with a buzz of chatter, smiles and excitement. I found myself grinning like an idiot.

I don’t know the thought process my dad went through when he came up with his ten buck idea, but regardless – what he did was about shaping an emotional response, and coming up with a way of making someone who was feeling miserable feel incredibly happy. He absolutely nailed it, and I think that’s a great bit of design.

(Image courtesy of Kurtixo)

Failure is always an option

We talk about failure a lot in design – we embrace the idea of making mistakes and learning from them as a fundamental part of the design process. Simply, we strive to fail early on, so those who use our creations don’t have to experience what it feels like to have a process or product fall to pieces on them. With this in mind, it makes it all the more infuriating when you see a situation where the very idea of failure has not been considered to the level it should have been – we can’t cap off every possible problem, so shouldn’t we be assuming that failure is always an option, and design for it?

Recently, my bank pitched me into a well-worn friction point, which casual conversation reveals as something that a lot of people have faced at some point or other. My debit card got declined online, and so began my stumbling trek through a catalogue of missed opportunities, where my bank could have knocked my socks off with their insight and a kick-ass response to my problems. Instead, they screwed up my whole week.

It turned out that the bank had put the block on my card due to their assessment that it was at risk of fraud. They couldn’t tell me why – as in, it wasn’t even on their screen, and there was no way for them to find out. The computer said ‘no’. When pressed for more, they gave me a series of reasons why they weren’t allowed to tell me, veering from the insulting (that my account could be under police investigation), to the downright infuriating (they were concerned about defaming a retailer that could turn out to be innocent), of which all or none could be the reason for my woes. So, they seemed happy to vaguely imply that my account could be involved in something worthy of the police taking a look, but weren’t comfortable pointing to a potentially dodgy retailer that might be responsible for my card having its wings clipped. As much as the customer service agent was polite, courteous, and genuinely apologetic, she seemed as much of a passenger in the whole thing as I did.

The solution? Issue a new card, canceling the old one – immediately. To go from a casual phone call to find out why I couldn’t complete an online payment, to finding out that I was having access to my current account pulled out from under me was like a check-up at the dentist turning into full-blown root canal treatment. Having to exist in the cardless netherworld for ‘7-10 days’ was a bit of an issue, given we’re talking about my main bank account. Add in the fact that the account’s still registered to an address back in Scotland, and in the blink of an eye, I’m in the run up to payday with no way of getting to my money, with auto-topup on my Oyster locked out, and unable to book train tickets for my trip back up to Scotland at the end of the week. For an industry that is so heavily interested in online banking and paper-free billing, there’s a still a horrible reliance on inflexible postal addresses when things fall outside the scope of a digital solution – add in the rise of the Early Learning Centre-style card reader as part of online security, and the inherently mobile concept of mobile banking is suddenly tied to the arbitrary address where I’ve left that little plastic artefact.

In contrast, consider Kuoni, a UK travel agent – a couple I know flew out with them on honeymoon in December, during the infamous snowy weather that shut down Britain’s airports. Their flight was delayed, and eventually cancelled, meaning they left a day late from Scotland, and had a day cut off their holiday – throughout, Kuoni were constantly in contact by phone, keeping the couple up to date, rebooking their flights repeatedly as the situation changed. When they eventually arrived at their resort, Kuoni informed them that as a result of the lost day, they’d be happy to reschedule all their return flights to a day later than planned, and give them an extra day’s stay in the hotel to ensure they didn’t miss out on any of the holiday they’d booked – if that suited. The couple tell that story more than they talk about the holiday itself, and I tell people about it because it’s such a fantastic example of unexpectedly superb customer service. The failure that they handled so well is now the very reason I’d recommend them, and I didn’t even go on the trip.

Although I’ve pulled together a fairly specific group of events with the banking example (and thrown a spanner in the works by not keeping my bank-registered address up to date), they’re all things that should have been considered independently as entirely plausible problems that a customer could encounter – a card being blocked due to fraud, a customer only having one card when it’s going to be cancelled, and the idea that someone might not have access to their registered address to receive a replacement. These are common failure situations – pathways through a part of the service that the organisation might not want to happen, but must accept as real possibilities – something which Kuoni have clearly done. Spend time making these experiences as good as the ones you want your customer to go through, and you’ll have people singing your praises. It’s not just about avoiding a problem, or using customer feedback to shape your services, it’s about dealing with the unfolding situation in a way that makes that customer stop focusing on the negative issue, and on their surprise that you’ve dealt with it in such a seamless, elegant manner. Do that, and it’s less likely a customer’s journey is going to end in what they recognise as failure.

Designers are comfortable with failing because we learn from it every day, and use it to evolve our work. Companies need to learn in the same manner, and turn the dead ends in their service provision into moments that their customers will remember for all the right reasons.

Image courtesy of Patrick Lauke. Please note: I don’t bank with HSBC, and this article isn’t about them – I’ve declined to name the bank in question.

Weekend warriors

“Thank God it’s Friday.”

I’ve used that phrase so many times in my life, I can’t even remember, even if it did lose its meaning for a while back in the dark days of my final uni year, where the traditional ideas of time off and relaxation went out the window (along with any notion of nutritional balance, personal grooming and normal social interaction). At degree show this year, I stood with a group of guys who I’d graduated with, talking about the past year and what was different – when the return of the weekend was mentioned, we all looked wistfully into the middle distance, smiling.

So these little pockets of workless freedom now come along every week, and like everyone else, I have to think about what the hell to do with myself now I’ve cut loose of the Art School. If you know me, you’ll know a few things – namely that I hate to be idle, I need to be social, I make astonishing sandwiches and I’ll travel back to Scotland at the drop of a hat. A whole year after I got my Saturday nights and Sunday mornings back, I decided the best way to spend the weekend would be doing design, in a uni, at Social Innovation Camp. Go figure.

Catherine and a James leading the way...

If you’re not familiar with the premise, it’s fairly straightforward – from near enough 100 submitted social start-up ideas, the good people at SI Camp whittle them down to the six most promising, and issue a call to arms. A bunch of developers, service designers and graphic designers then muster themselves and help those with the ideas to bring something together by the Sunday afternoon, ready to pitch for the glory of victory, and the promise of the support to make things happen. In a nutshell – 36 hours to change the world.

Team ShareCare, including a bevvy of men called James.

In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect from the weekend. I walked into my team – originally titled Lend-A-Hand, later ShareCareClub – and saw a thought out, well-justified idea that was already being piled into by the project’s development team, and generally, a lot of other people called James. Did I arrive too late? Would there be any role for a service designer? Was another James really what my team needed?

Ralph and Kirsty during our epic blether. What a guy, unbelievable stories to tell.

It took a while to figure this one out, but in the best traditions of design, I listened, and I waited. My role was a little different from what I’m used to, but I hope I helped the team get the most out of our time talking to stakeholders, and to give them a bit of an education in mixing new insights into the concept, and mapping out the detail of the future service – even if we were blighted with some truly terrible post-it notes and an inability to notice when the mountain of dinner pizza had arrived. I hope that the guys I was working with got something out of it all – it certainly showed me the benefit of working in a team that includes developers throughout the design process, which strikes me as a great, productive way to work.

Half the service plan is on the floor at this point... love cheap post its.

In the truest sense, it was a team effort that involved everyone, and it was great to work with such an enthusiastic bunch of people. I will push a lot of credit towards the dev team for doing such an awesome job at creating a brilliant, engaging tech demo for the final pitch. Seeing dozens of people around the room leap up at receiving the ‘call to action’ for the service was experience design at its finest, and I couldn’t help but grin like an idiot as I heard the messages hitting their targets.

#sicamp feed at the presentations... we cut it fine, no mistake.

At the end of the weekend, with everyone fading a bit, and the smell of pizza crusts and stale coffee hanging rank in the air, the project won the backing of IRISS, and I was grinning all over again. When you do the maths (as Glen from SI Camp did) and think about the sheer amount of man-hours and effort that the 80-odd people there put in over the weekend, it’s pretty humbling, and utterly inspiring – as weekends go, it wasn’t relaxing, but bloody hell, it gives you faith in what a small group of focused, driven people can produce. If this weekend shows what enthusiasm and ability can combine to do, then God help anyone who doubts what can be achieved by those who believe in the power of social innovation.


The troops, some beers, and a train back to Glasgow

A massive thanks to everyone involved in the weekend – all the organisers, all the judges, everyone who gave up their time to help bring six great ideas to life – and of course, a special thanks to my team, especially Catherine, whose idea Lend-A-Hand (and subsequently ShareCareClub) was. It was a pleasure to be involved in such a worthwhile piece of work! Finally, well done to Food Radar, who won the overall event prize with a really nice concept around reducing food waste in retail.

A year in the making

Exactly twelve months ago, I was standing at the back of Bute Hall in Glasgow University, hoping desperately that the combination of a frankly dashing kilt, hugely overpriced rental robes and a beautiful summer’s day wouldn’t lead to me keeling over in the astonishing heat. And then, in the blink of an eye, the shake of a hand and a wave to the folks up in the balcony, it was over. Done. I was a graduate, and I was a card-carrying designer.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been loose on the world for a whole twelve months, and in all honesty, I’ve only really sat down to consider what that means in the last few weeks, most intensely when I headed back up to Glasgow last week for degree show. Being surrounded by everyone you essentially shared your life with for the length of fourth year tends to have that effect, especially when you’re stood around a free bar trading war stories about what happened in the post-GSA reality of life. It makes you take stock.

To put it concisely, I’m not the same person I was twelve months ago, or the same designer for that matter. Leaving university has been the beginning of a whole new stage of learning for me – not more important, not better, just different and vital. Glasgow School of Art gave me one hell of an education – it fostered my furiously inquisitive nature, and encouraged me to turn it on finding and solving real issues, be they in a commercial or social context. It gave me the tools to do whatever I wanted as a designer, slapped me on the arse, and sent me on the way. From then until now, my education has been in how design works in the real world, and it’s one that everyone graduating today is about to launch into, head on.

Where it sent me has been to two totally different jobs – two entirely new opportunities to learn and develop my abilities and experience in the public and private sectors, and two places where I’d like to think my skills as a designer have had a discernible impact on what I’ve worked on. I’m not going to bang on about projects or techniques, but I now feel more capable as a designer than I could have imagined I would do at this point – the sheer amount of trust that people and companies have put in me and my abilities makes me feel incredibly proud and grateful. I realise that I’ve still got a huge amount to learn, and knowing that makes me even more determined to push myself at every chance. As for the future? Well, I’m thinking about it, but for now, those thoughts are just for me.

Really, I’m not old or wise enough to dispense much in the way of advice, but I will say one thing. It’s not to graduates, but rather those still at university, heading into their final year. This is your chance to do awesome things, to create something without the mundane boundaries that can exist around design out in the real world, and to take risks that you might find difficult to do once you graduate. In short, get your degree, sure – but go fucking nuts doing it.

(For the perspective of a close friend who I graduated with, and someone who I’d discussed this blog with before I wrote it, I’d recommend looking at Kirsty Sinclair’s post on the Snook website – HERE)