A cow thinking about a burning brand.
A cow thinking about a burning brand.
A brand is more than a mark, it’s also the associations with certain qualities and experiences.

Every UX designer and user researcher will need to understand and improve a companies brand at some point. A brand is just the reputation of the company or product. It’s the associations built through every interaction customers have with the company and everything they see about the company. That seems like a natural vector for user experience improvement. If there is tension between UX and brand, it gets into the specifics around how a company thinks of itself and defines or doesn’t define its brand.

Try asking people in a variety of roles how to make something that is ‘on…


I spend a lot of time reading, researching, and trying to sort out what articles will truely be relevant long term. This year my focus was read into UX strategy or business model change and service design. This collection of articles is a good sample of ideas I kept revisiting, so I hopefully worth tracking.

An Introduction to DesignOps

As the team I manage grows in size and the problems we solve grows in complexity, we’ve been more seriously turning our attention to improved operations, obviously a never-ending quest. …


Getting ready for the next 100 years

A school of fish changing direction
A school of fish changing direction
Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

If you know my employer, Herman Miller at all, you know it’s a company with a legacy of design innovation stretching back to the dawn of Modernism in America. Unfortunately, it’s also a company that’s never been particularly adept with digital technology. We’ve long known the potential of tech to disrupt traditional companies; way back in 2011 Marc Andreessen warned that Software is Eating the World and the trend is only accelerating. Even old enterprise software stalwart, Microsoft, is telling us to change our outlook.

“Every company is a software company. You have to start thinking and operating like a…


What’s the secret to leading a team a creative team? Five years ago I hired a team of designers, UXers, and researchers. I found myself moving from a role as a freewheeling creative for hire to the full-time team lead. We didn’t study a lot of management theory in art school, so that transition stressed the hell out of me. I read widely, from a lot of different sources, digging for clues about how to structure an in-house team. I researched how to assign work and track projects between marketing and product teams. How to scale and set up career…


The Design Sprint idea has it’s roots firmly in the technology venture world, but I’ve seen traditional enterprise companies swoon over the idea. For good reason. It addresses several barriers that often plague the relationships between in-house design teams and their business partners.

Why do businesses love the idea of a Design Sprint?

It Sounds Fast

In-House design teams often have a reputation for being slow and adding cost. You and I know that design should be adding value to the business, but the perception often remains. A design sprint though, has sprint right in the name, so it even sounds fast.

It’s Inclusive

To…


Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

Companies are investing heavily in their in-house design teams. I hear it’s something of a trend, so maybe there are folks out there in starting the same journey I’ve recently taken. When I started at Herman Miller, I was a digital design team of one at a big furniture company. Our company has a long and storied history in design, brand and art direction, but we had no experience designing for digital platforms generally or with the discipline of UX specifically. Now, four years later, we’re a team of ten designers and UXers. We’ve lead transformational efforts on our global…

Eric Ishii Eckhardt

Design Leader, Sporadic Writer.

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