The four phases of a design career

Welcome to the 8th edition of Designer’s Digest. I can’t believe it’s already been two months since I started this newsletter. I hope you’ve been enjoying it? This week I have another cool font to share and a couple of articles about typography. If you missed the previous edition where I talked about overthinking in Figma, Netflix’s UX flaws, and Space Grotesk, you can read it here

🤫 There’s a tiny typographical mistake in this newsletter. Can you find it? Let me know what you think it is, one of those who get it right will get a printed copy of my Better Web type book. (Can’t find it? Maybe you need the book 😅)

In this newsletter:
🅰 MacPaw Fixel (Open source, variable font)
🅰 LoveFrom Serif — Jony Ive’s interpretation of Baskerville (9 min read)
🌱The four phases of a design career (7 min read)

How’s it going? I’m starting to realise that I made a terrible mistake a while ago. October 2021, to be more specific. I decided to take a break from my side business and fully commit to my full-time job. The situation at the time was horrible, my wife and I were in temporary allocation as we were finishing our house. I also had some health problems which flared up because of all the stress. So I decided to do what seemed to make sense then. Focus on the main provider of income—my job at GitLab. But the truth is that I didn’t really enjoy working there anymore. Still, I chose comfort instead of battling through and that’s why I started neglecting my business. 

The number of subscribers to my mailing list started to fall and soon afterwards, so did the sales of my book and my online course. I knew that it was serious but I just couldn’t get myself back into it. I also suffered from severe burnout in 2022 mostly because of an adverse situation at work. I can’t go into details but everything went downhill from there on. It culminated in my layoff just a couple of months ago and I’ve been picking up the pieces of my life ever since. My life has been pure chaos since the layoff and I’m only now starting to get a grip on some things. 

I’m now rebuilding my business from the ground up. I decided to take this opportunity and solve the problems that have been pestering me ever since I started back in 2017. I think I could write a series of blog posts about it, would you be interested in something like that?

🅰 MacPaw Fixel
“Fixel is a unique grotesque with a human touch,” that’s how the authors of the font describe it. What I really like about is that it comes in two styles — text and display. This means that you can use it for smaller text and it will still be highly legible, as well as for large titles. It’s also a variable font and comes with stylistic alternatives for some characters and other OpenType features. Take a look and download it here!

🅰 LoveFrom Serif — Jony Ive’s interpretation of Baskerville
Baskerville is one of my all-time favourites when it comes to fonts. I’ve never used it, but I always admired it. It’s sophisticated, simple, and elegant. It’s so British! Jony Ive’s new design studio created a new interpretation, a more modern one which they use for their own branding. In this article, they discuss how and why they decided to use Baskerville. My favourite quote from the article:

For the last 30 years at least there’s been a remarkable enthusiasm for typography. It didn’t used to be that way. Typography was once seen as boring.

Peter Saville

Take a look at this beautiful interpretation of Baskerville. 

🌱 The four phases of a design career
This is a short and sweet read about the career progression for designers. It’s interesting how eagerness to learn at the beginning of a career eventually changes to apathy. Maybe you’re not there yet, I definitely reached that point. This article provides some good advice for the key stages in your career.

That’s it for this Monday. Have an awesome week! 👋


P.S. Do you enjoy this newsletter? Forward it to a friend or tell them to subscribe here. I’ll be forever grateful! 🙏

Matej Latin

I’m a self-taught designer proving that you don’t need a design degree to make a career in design. I went from doing boring graphic design work to working for big tech companies as a Product Designer. I thrive in the grey area between design and web development and I wrote a book about web typography for designers and web developers.

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