Our Guiding Principles: Design


Josh Mauldin

on •

Apr 16, 2021

Our Guiding Principles: Design

These principles—and how we apply them—define our approach to design. They hold our work to a standard, inform the tactics we use, and they establish the role our designs play in the community. At its core, design at Artium should be thoughtful. From start to finish, our intentions should always be evident. 

Our work is careful
  • To us, design is like woodworking. To get the best from your piece of wood, you need to understand its properties: things like knots and grain’s direction. Likewise, when we understand the problem and the paths available to us, the solutions tend to reveal themselves

  • We are responsible for what we put into the world so we must be careful about what we make so that it doesn't unintentionally harm others

  • When we're thinking about things "at scale" we need to consider that some people will likely be harmed by what we do, so we need to mitigate that

  • We believe that the richest insights come from spending quality time with the problem, isolated from distractions

  • We believe in mastering our craft. Tiny details matter and we attend to them with love and joy.

  • We build psychological safety among our teammates, stakeholders, and users so that we can be as open and direct as needed 

Our work is mindful
  • We maintain a beginner's mind and actively suspend our assumptions. In this way, we are fully present and unbiased when trying to understand a problem

  • We value gentleness and intuition over rigor and process

  • We welcome criticism and differing viewpoints

  • We stay objective…mostly. Data and goals are important, but incomplete without intuition

  • We create products with a soul

Our work happens in short, repeatable cycles
  • We do not spend unnecessary time on preparation, we have a ruthless bias toward action

  • We prioritize delivering small bits of information quickly rather than one big thing slowly

  • We validate our ideas constantly with users and the business

  • We believe it’s more valuable to have something working than something perfect

  • We have strong, smart defaults but are not beholden to any framework, we will adapt our process to fit the need

Our work represents the users
  • We are the voice of the users and help our stakeholders map their needs to users’ expectations

  • We owe clients more than our labor—we also owe them our counsel and will not shy away from hard conversations on the implications of their decisions

  • We practice compassionate detachment, which allows us to advocate for what's right and then let the client make the final call

Our work is collaborative
  • We strongly prefer tools that encourage collaboration (Figma, Miro, etc.)

  • We work as a team with other disciplines, design does not rule everything

Our work lifts the community up
  • We participate in the design community by writing, speaking, mentoring, and coaching others