verynice UX/UI Reading Recommendations

At verynice, we value input from our community network and feel they are a fantastic resource for idea sharing. Recently, we asked our community network what their recommended reads were for UI/UX design, specifically desktop applications, forms, and the like. Their offerings were too good not to share! Here are six recommended reads provided by the verynice community network: 

#1: “Design for the Real World”, by Victor Papanek

Shout out to Matthew Manos for initiating the conversation by offering his first two recommended reads! According to Matthew, Papanek is great for digging into the “U” of UX.

#2: “Form + Code”, by Casey Reas 

Matthew provided his second suggestion, which he said was peripherally relevant book, which one of his mentors used when he was in college. 

#3: All of the Rosenfeld Books

Thanks for this recommendation, Michael Manalo! He stated that these books offer a lot of really good and credible UX practitioners writing about UX practices. He named specifically,

#4: UX Pin

Shout out to verynice’s Art Director Alisa Olinova for recommending these awesome online reads! She specifically mentioned,

#5: “Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks”, by Luke Wroblewski

Katharine Hargreaves provided a book by the talented Luke Wroblewski,  describing him as “the king of mobile”. According to Katharine, the book is fantastic for web form design. 

#6: "Cadence and Slang”, by Nick Disabato

Drusilla Ray threw out “Cadence and Slang”, saying  that this resource “advocates evergreen guidelines for technology”. Though this is an “eccentric read” this book hold valuable information. 

Added bonus! Read the first chapter free here

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At verynice we’re reminded every day that our greatest impact is made when we collaborate and work together. Thank you to all of our community members for being assets for designers, beginning and experts.

To learn more about our community network visit verynice.co or contact info@verynice.co.

Welcome to the team, Anders Tse!

We're so excited to welcome an incredible new Strategist to the verynice family, Anders Tse! In this welcome interview we learn about his love of food, education, and all things design.

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Hey there! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a multidisciplinary design strategist on a mission to helping brands and organizations unlock the magic of design to shape a better world. My favorite design tools are Post-Its and collaborative teammates. It all started with a class at Cornell’s business school called “The Art of Innovation: A Design Thinking Immersion”, where a Stanford d.school coach taught us the value of empathy in business, ethnographic research methods, and rapid prototyping using fun materials like pipe cleaners and foil. Experiencing this human-centered approach to problem solving was so exciting to me that it influenced my decision to switch career paths from human resources to design strategy. After getting my Master’s in Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell, I spent two years in New York as a strategist co-creating solutions in space planning, service design, and organizational design with higher education and cultural institutions. Now I am back in my native city of Los Angeles, delighted to be part of the verynice family and give back to my community through design.

What are you most excited about for your new role?

I have two things! First, I’m most excited about being in a position where I get to partner with passionate, mission-driven organizations to create authentic brand experiences, tell their stories effectively, and expand their capacity for impact. Second and last, I’m fascinated by the evolution of design strategy as a discipline and I’m excited to collaborate with a smart, tight-knit team on imagining what strategy at verynice and in the broader design industry will look like in the future.

What is your favorite social cause?

My favorite social cause is education, which is near and dear to me. I am a first generation college student and recognize my privilege in having the support networks and opportunities in place to get me through to graduation. As a country, I believe there is more work to do in designing education systems, both K-12 and higher education, that are equitable and inclusive of current and aspiring students from all walks of life. It’s encouraging to see the emergence of non-profits and social enterprises tackle various components of education in service of fostering environments that give every student an opportunity to succeed, from tutoring to hunger assistance programs.

What passions and interests do you have outside of work?

I feel alive when I am surrounded by mountains and lakes, so I’m grateful to be back in California and hike throughout the year. I’m always open to discovering contemporary artists that have a provocative point of view and tackle important social issues, so you’ll be sure to catch me at major art museums in Downtown and small local galleries. Lastly, I am passionate about experiencing and learning about the intersection of food and culture, so I’m looking forward to exploring the diversity of Los Angeles’ food scene and trying new cuisines in my travels.

Women's Design Salon Recap

Last month at the verynice Women's Design Salon: Feminine Voice, we heard each other's stories and learned about Elle Luna's experiences. The painter, designer, speaker, and author of The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, walked us through the lessons in her new book, Your Story is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice.

  Thoughts from our Desktop Wallpaper Designer,  Wilmer Gomez :  The piece I created is like an emotional city map. I was thinking about the culture story that Elle was talking to us about and it made me think of the thoughts that go inside my head and the thoughts that might be running around inside people's heads, I created a map-like pattern to express the different stories that people might have to tell and no matter how small they are still important.

Thoughts from our Desktop Wallpaper Designer, Wilmer Gomez: The piece I created is like an emotional city map. I was thinking about the culture story that Elle was talking to us about and it made me think of the thoughts that go inside my head and the thoughts that might be running around inside people's heads, I created a map-like pattern to express the different stories that people might have to tell and no matter how small they are still important.

Download this wallpaper for your desktop and for your phone!


Here is a great reflection on the event by Los Angeles designer, Kat Park:

“That was intimate.”

The volunteer sharer standing in the middle of room offered that statement a little sheepishly after realizing she had perhaps involuntarily over-shared some stories from her personal life.

And it was intimate. The setting for the night featured a tidy spread of sandwiches, wines, juices and snacks for a small gathering of people, mostly women, who had come to hear Elle Luna, artist/designer/author of “Your Story Is Your Power,” speak. The room was quietly lit and we were all sharing personal memories and stories with each other at Luna’s request. So yeah, it was intimate. How could it not be?

This might have been Luna’s goal, though, as she spoke extensively about story: not only the stories we are told by the world at large and the stories we tell others, but also the stories we tell ourselves. Luna’s talk had moments built in for intimate conversation, the kind of talk that usually requires permission to share because it just might disrupt a mutual peace. The topics ranged from experiences with misogyny, to memories of families and childhood. They were interspersed between slides of Luna’s own illustrations and quotes from others on the importance of story, investigation, and your voice.

While we’ve come to expect from talks and speakers a kind of riveting and impassioned thesis of wisdom or life changing affirmation, what Luna offered that evening was an intimate moment for people to open up and share something with each other.

We all know there are a million ways to tell stories and connect. You can Snap, Like, Heart, Re-tweet, Add, Friend, and Follow whoever and whatever you like. But this kind of access rarely results in openness. Our stories and connections can feel inauthentic and guarded. The invitation to just turn to the person next to you and share something intimate, even in its awkwardness, felt like a relief.

Photography by Olivia Sy.

A very special thanks to all that contributed to the inspiration.

Our friends and partners:

General Assembly Los Angeles

Califia Farms

Workman Publishing

Vroman's Bookstore

Vanessa Dewey

Our amazing speaker:

Elle Luna, Designer, Speaker, Author, and Artist

Our super event hosts:

Clarisa Valdez

Alisa Olinova

Our wonderful volunteers:

Wilmer Gonzalez, Visual Recap

Kat Park, Written Recap

Olivia Sy, Photography


"In a very real sense we define our lives through our stories. Understand these stories, along with the motivations behind them, and we can positively change how our future unfolds."

Be sure to check out the book Your Story Is Your Power: Free Your Feminine Voice!


Please follow WDS on Instagram to stay in the loop! Interested in getting involved with the Women's Design Salon? Please get in touch at info@verynice.co

Job Opportunities with verynice!

We're thrilled to announce that we have two open positions at verynice! We are currently looking for a Full-Time Strategist and Part-Time Assistant Project Coordinator to come join our passionate family of creative problem solvers. For over 10 years, verynice has helped businesses, nonprofits, and governments expand their capacity for impact through design-driven innovation.

We provide hands-on strategic consulting and design services, facilitate workshop sessions, and publish a variety of open-source design methodologies. With client experience spanning 500+ brands including the American Heart Association, Disney, UNICEF, and Google, our expertise is centered around three key disciplines: Business Design, Brand Strategy, and Experience Design. We start every single project using the same foundation of core principles: co-creation, anti-assumption, legacy-driven impact, and generosity.

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To apply, please include the title of the position you are interested in in the subject line of your email. Please also include a resume, cover letter, and any other relevant materials. Email all of your documents to info@verynice.co by April 15th.

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STRATEGIST (FULL TIME)

ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES
The Strategist sits within the design team at verynice, and reports directly to the Asst. Managing Director in order to execute upon verynice's  strategic methodologies, and lead a diverse range of client-facing strategic project and consulting initiatives. This is a full-time position, based in verynice's Downtown Los Angeles headquarters.

  • Assist in new business development by helping to determine the needs of a client in order to define the project scope for new project proposals.

  • Conducting and leading verynice’s strategy services including relevant research and project execution across the following service areas: brand strategy, experience design, business strategy/product development, facilitation, and general consulting.

  • Collaborate with internal and client teams to anticipate client needs and find creative ways to address them, shaping the nature and outputs of your projects

  • Leadership and mentorship for team members, ensuring the success of our projects, and the ultimate alignment with the client’s end goals.

  • Participation in networking events and conferences, acting as a public face for verynice and delivering thought leadership in design, strategy, and social impact.

  • Craft strategic recommendations, workshop agendas, and develop legacy documents for creative problem solving initiatives.

QUALIFICATIONS
2-3 years of experience. A Bachelor's Degree in a related/relevant field. Must be detail-oriented and an excellent communicator. Great presentation skills and facilitation experience are necessary. Must be a quick thinker, and have a willingness to develop strong friendships with our amazing clients. Interdisciplinary Master's Degree (MBA/MFA) desired, but not required.

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ASSISTANT PROJECT COORDINATOR (PART-TIME)

ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES
The Assistant Project Coordinator at verynice reports directly to the Asst. Managing Director and Operations Manager in order to assist in the coordination and management of select projects, and to lead select administrative tasks such as project scheduling, outsourcing, and account management. This is a part-time, ~20 hour/week 6-month contract position to start with possibility for extension or full-time employment upon completion and review of the initial contract.

  • Assist in developing proposals for new business based on historical data and insights from new business meetings.

  • Assist in the development of project schedules, helping the Asst. Managing Director fit new project initiatives within the overall studio bandwidth.

  • Lead project management for select client initiatives in both verynice's for-profit and pro-bono sectors.

  • Work with the Operations Manager to review new talent and recruit new contractors and volunteers.

  • Work with the Operations Manager to generate and track new project agreements and invoices, following up with clients to keep new business efforts on track.

  • Work with the Asst. Managing Director in researching and vetting of new business opportunities.

  • Assist the Managing Director in developing content for verynice's social media feeds and blog.

  • Assist the Asst. Managing Director with miscellaneous administrative tasks.

QUALIFICATIONS
<1-2 years of experience. A Bachelor's Degree in a related/relevant field. Must be detail-oriented and an excellent communicator. Great presentation and creative problem solving skills experience are necessary. Must be a quick thinker, and have a willingness to develop strong friendships with our amazing clients. General knowledge of design or the creative process is preferred, but not necessary.

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To apply, please include the title of the position you are interested in in the subject line of your email. Please also include a resume, cover letter, and any other relevant materials. Email all of your documents to info@verynice.co by April 15th.

Full-time employees at verynice have a range of added benefits including paid time off, federal holiday observation, sick days, opportunities for healthcare reimbursement, a work-from-home policy, and a volunteer day (aside from other fun shenanigans like karaoke and go karting).

Call for Spring Visual Design Internship Applications!

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Spring Visual Design Internship

Position Description:

The Design Internship is a production-oriented position that supports our creative team in the visual design process for various client projects. The Design Intern will split their efforts between our for-profit and non-profit clientele.

This is a flexible 16 – 32 hour per week position, and is housed in our downtown Los Angeles office in the Arts District area, requiring 2-4 full days in-house. Our business hours are Monday – Friday, 9am to 6pm. This is a 3 month position, starting early April, available for current students in their junior or senior year of undergraduate studies. Compensation options include a paid stipend or course credit.

Deadline to apply is Sunday, March 18, 2018 before Midnight PST.

Position Requirements:

Pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Design, Visual Communications, Fine Arts, or a related field. Strong verbal and visual communication skills. Interest or basic experience with socially-oriented design. Entrepreneurial spirit and attention to detail. Ability to handles multiple projects and deadlines at once. Must have own computer (preferably Mac) and Adobe Creative Suite.

To apply, please send your cover letter, design portfolio and resume to info@verynice.co along with responses to the following questions: 

1) What date would you be available to start the 3 month spring internship position?
2) Are you interested in a 2, 3 or 4 day internship?
3) Are you looking for course credit?

Building LAPD’s Force of the Future through Social Media

Social media can be a powerful outlet to share stories that can inspire change. The LA Mayor’s Innovation Team engaged verynice to collaborate on the creation of the “Our LAPD” campaign, an initiative to help build a more diverse and inclusive Police workforce.

“Law enforcement is more effective when it reflects the community it serves,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This campaign is about increasing awareness of the LAPD’s commitment to diversity — and building on that commitment with the next generation of recruits.”

Our goal was to capture the stories of officers who are underrepresented in the force today, like women, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, and LGBTQ individuals. We created an informal interview guide to capture each story, but adapted the questions based on their responses. These interviews covered topics about the individual like race, ethnicity, and other identifiers, as well as perceptions of police and family influences, role models and representation, and backgrounds of officers, including unexpected facts like “What’s your secret talent?” and “What’s your favorite way to spend your time off?”

Spotlights were delivered through several social media ready assets including split images, fill in the blank images, and short video interviews. Video interviews share stories like “The First Time I Saw Me,” demonstrating positive experiences with officers or role models that shifted their perception or thinking and inspired them to become officers. Others focused on “The Shift," highlighting when the officers were able to shift others’ perceptions (like their family and friends) about policing.

Officers are people just like you and me. Split photos showcase officers in and out of uniform with facts about them beyond their careers. This reminds viewers that officers are people in uniform; that they have familiar roles like “Single Mom”, “Immigrant, and “Foodie”.

How well do you know the officers who patrol our city? The officers come from a variety of interesting backgrounds and have unique and quirky characteristics and interests. Fill in the blank images revealed interesting and relatable facts about officers with the prompt "You'd never guess that...".

How would you serve? Understanding that the LAPD is really a reflection of the community, community leaders share their stories and what their communities need from the LAPD to help us build the force of the future. Community spotlights represented the voices of diverse community leaders from the religious, LGBTQ, human rights, creative, and government communities, and more.

Community members were shown holding fill in the blank signs that revealed what they wanted to see in an officer with the prompt “I am _____ and I want _____.”

Video interviews captured each individual’s story, their organization’s mission, and their hopes for the future of the LAPD as it relates to their community. 

At verynice we focus on delivering projects that generate impact and leave a legacy for our clients. While these stories reflect the current views and experiences of the community, we also created a robust guide to create more content in the future. This compiled the project goals and materials into one document with instructions on conducting interviews, capturing photos and videos, editing the stories, and writing social media copy to share the stories.

Our team had the pleasure of meeting 20 officers and 9 influential community members to capture their unique stories and perspectives. From an Olympic silver medalist and mother to a Paralympic gold medalist, to a previously homeless then NFL bound athlete, to a professional pianist, and several immigrants from around the world, we were touched by the stories of these women and men from diverse backgrounds. Heck, if we didn't love our jobs so much, we'd consider becoming officers, or detectives, or captains ourselves! Did you know there are over 250 types of positions you could have within the LAPD? Be sure to follow the campaign as it rolls out this year on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

As always, if you'd like help on your next campaign, reach out! Visit this link to get started: http://verynice.co/get-started/

Women's Design Salon Recap

Last month, we helped each other set goals for the new year and find support in taking the next steps! verynice Women's Design Salon: Resolutions, was an unforgettable event, thanks to the women that contributed their time and talents to facilitate and attend the event.

And here's a great recap of the event by verynice Marketing & Impact Coordinator, Anna Zigmond:

After an eventful and somewhat relentless 2017, a little bit of inspiration heading into the new year felt much needed. The latest verynice Women’s Design Salon: Resolutions, lifted my spirits in a whole new way. The idea of a resolution can often seem overwhelming, but we were reminded that a resolution is really just the determination or the resolve to do something. Joined by special guest Lynda Decker, we dove into this idea covering topics on women in leadership, goal setting, and supporting ourselves and others to reach their goals in the year ahead.

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The evening kicked-off in an open-discussion format that felt more like an intimate gathering of friends, rather than a structured event. Prompted by questions, everyone was encouraged to contribute to the conversation by sharing personal experiences, asking questions, or offering advice. Given our current political and social climate, it was encouraging to be surrounded by women with such a determined and optimistic outlook on change moving forward. We discussed how now more than ever, it is crucial for women to be in leadership positions. Although it’s not often the easiest journey, we can use our strength as women to encourage good behavior in the office and amongst our peers.

I was not only blown away by the experiences people shared around leadership, communication, and the perception of women in leadership positions, but I was even more inspired by the words of support and advice that were shared amongst the group to combat these issues and motivate progress. We took this energy to action with a postcard activity, where we were encouraged to “Thank someone that inspires you or write to someone who needs encouragement.” Written on custom Women’s Design Salon postcards, we were able to send this inspiration to others.

Diving into the second half of the evening, we discussed goal setting and different motivators that are unique to each individual. Lynda shared how she started her agency to prove her ex-husband wrong and wouldn’t be where she was today if she didn’t push herself out of her comfort zone. It turned into a discussion about finding what works for you and pushing yourself, even when it’s difficult. Everyone shared personal methods to setting and celebrating goals!

Words of Wisdom:

People always overestimate what they can get done in one year, but underestimate what they can get done in 10 years. Try writing down 25 resolutions and pick 5 of them to focus on at a time. Write down all the things that you’ve done, accomplished, or been through over the past years so it doesn’t feel like they just disappear. It is important to reflect on the good and the bad and celebrate those moments.

At the end of the day, most people have no problem creating resolutions but lack accountability when it comes to working towards those goals. Try different ways of staying accountable for your resolutions such as trying it at the same time as a friend or creating a system where you can write each one down and them mark them off as you go. For some people, just telling others about their resolutions keeps them accountable, because not only is it out in the universe, but their reputation is also at stake. So find what works for you and stick with it!

To visualize this conversation, everyone was prompted to write down a resolution for the new year and to set reminders to check-in on their progress. We ended up with a wall of inspirational and concrete steps for the new year----look out 2018!

Photography by Latoya Hawthorne

A very special thanks to all who contributed to the inspiration.

Our friends and partners:

General Assembly

Sweetgreen

Our amazing guest speaker:

Lynda Decker, President and Creative Director of Decker Design

Our wonderful volunteers:

Latoya Hawthorne, Photographer

Alisa Olinova, Clarisa Valdez, and Anna Zigmond, Event Facilitators

Melissa Flower, Visual Recap

Please follow WDS on Instagram for updates and inspiration! Interested in getting involved with the Women's Design Salon? Please get in touch at info@verynice.co!

 

 

2017 Year-in-Review

As we close out our 9th year of business, I can’t help but look back at the past 12 months and stand in awe of what our team was able to accomplish. 

2017 was one of the most generous years in verynice’s history.

We managed to give away 57% of our work to deserving causes and organizations throughout the year, a series of donations and discounts worth over $1.3 MM. This year, we also completely re-imagined our approach to impact measurement, and built a tool that allows us to better track how much we are giving across all of our impact models, even broken down by cause. More on that in the new year.

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2017 also stands out as “the year of travel” - we were on a total of 80+ flights this year for workshops and talks all across the United States, as well as internationally in Mexico, Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, and Russia. These adventures are almost entirely thanks to the incredible growth and interest in our Models of Impact toolkit - thank you!

Here’s 12 additional highlights from 2017, in no particular order:

  1. Serving as a judge for the prestigious 2017 SAPPI Ideas that Matter Competition in Boston.
  2. Developing campaign materials for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence.
  3. Working with General Assembly and the Los Angeles Design Festival to produce 4 successful Women’s Design Salon events.
  4. Partnering with our friends at Socialab to bring our Models of Impact methodology to over 1,000 social entrepreneurs in Mexico.
  5. Teaming up with PandoPopulus to facilitate a design workshop in “Death Alley” that involved community members in the re-imagining of use-cases for vacant lots across South Central, Los Angeles.
  6. Hosting a 24 hour-long pro-bono marathon at our office with a dozen of our Los Angeles-based volunteers to produce 23 deliverables for 4 local non-profit organizations. 
  7. Kicking off an exciting partnership with Mozilla to develop new models of impact for the open-source community.
  8. Delivering the first public lecture on Social Entrepreneurship in a former soviet propaganda theatre in Saratov, Russia (yeah, for real!)
  9. Working with the American Heart Association to invent a new methodology for engaging with rural communities across the United States.
  10. Partnering with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office to develop a recruitment campaign for the LAPD.
  11. Facilitating a session with Sutter Health to imagine the future of everyday health in San Francisco.
  12. Working with AIDS/LifeCycle to launch the 2018 Ride Love Live campaign and brand identity system.

Wow. What a year! 

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2018 will be our 10th year of business (!!), and we’re working on a few exciting things to share in honor of this major milestone. Keep an eye out on our social media for updates. We think you’re going to like what we’ve got up our sleeves for the new year.

As always, we couldn’t do any of this cool stuff with out the support from our friends, followers, and clients. Thank you so much for your continued support. You rock.

– Matthew