Method Podcast, Episode 5
Creative Director Rachel Been on Material Design, new emoji, and the creative power of curiosity
Hosted by Interaction Designer Aidan Simpson, the Method podcast provides an inside look at the journeys and creative decisions of designers at Google. In this episode, Aidan speaks with Material Design Creative Director Rachel Been about her journey from photojournalism to design, the challenges of making a design system at scale, and what's most exciting about the latest emoji release. Listen and subscribe to the Method podcast on Google Play, iTunes, or RSS.
A few highlights:
On making Material Design, 1:03 “To create a system that potentially works for thousands of products—to define and spec a button that different product teams could functionally use—it’s a challenge to make that work.”
On creative direction, 10:39 "I don't think there's one definitive description. How I describe my process is: I touch a lot of different things and I look at a lot of different things. I delegate. It's really a cross-functional discipline and more than anything, a creative director has a top-level understanding of the way things are conceived, made, and eventually built."
On the value of shared vocabulary, 12:09 "As designers, we need to start using language that's applicable to engineering. We obviously have terminology that's super design-centric, and a lot of the time that doesn't translate into how engineers actually build things."
On what leads to growth, 13:52 "The anxiety of persistent imposter syndrome—as uncomfortable as that is on a daily basis—has led me to expand my capabilities and feel empowered in many ways."
Handy info and links for this episode:
- Material Design: A design system, created by Google, for crafting digital experiences
- PgM: Program Manager, the person tracking the day-to-day progress of a project
- Unicode Consortium: A non-profit organization that coordinates the development of the Unicode standard, including emoji
- Want to know how emoji get made? Read Rachel's articles on taking the equality conversation to emoji, and the process behind a full redesign of the Android emoji font
- Roboto: The standard typeface on Android, read more about typography in the Material Design Guidelines
- Eng: Shorthand for “engineering”
- Holo: The design system released with Android 3 and 4, which directly preceded the creation of Material Design
- IC: Individual Contributor, a non-management member of a team