Design Club #3 – Work in the Open

Posted 8 months ago by Naomi Francis

Last week we were again proud to sponsor Design Club – an event series where the creative community figure out what’s next. The two ‘nexts’ being discussed this time around were both topics close to many designers’ hearts — brand identity and remote working. In the packed out ballroom at The Trampery, we heard from Courtney McNeil and Simon Rohrbach on the recent Deliveroo re-brand (their first public presentation of the project), and Al Monk on how he works from London as a senior product designer for San Francisco-based Heroku.

“The two ‘nexts’ being discussed this time around were brand identity and remote working.”

First up, Deliveroo. As we heard when we spoke to them for our case study (yes, Deliveroo are Marvel users too!), their focus has been on rapid expansion. In under a year, they’ve gone from delivering food from 3,000 restaurants in London, to delivering from 16,000 restaurants in 54 countries. Increasingly, they needed an identity that went beyond a logo and could help them show up and stand out in new countries with new customers.

“We needed a brand that would help us re-design our rider kit, evolve our products and refine our tone of voice.”

As Simon explained, “We needed a brand that would help us to re-design our rider kit, evolve our products, spotlight our partners, create a rallying cry, refine our tone of voice and become more lifestyle-focused”. They partnered with Design Studio, not just for speed and efficiency but to bring that vital, external perspective and to design a whole creative world for Deliveroo to live in.

That, as Simon and Courtney revealed, was the ‘easy’ part! Unlike most tech startups, whose only physical assets are maybe a t-shirt or conference stand, Deliveroo had a growing fleet of riders. “We had scooters and cyclists in 12 different countries in 12 different climates, and they all needed safe, visible and awesome looking kit”.

If you think launching a new website is a race against time, try orchestrating the design, delivery and roll-out of an entire new kit to chime perfectly with the moment you hit ‘publish’. Simon and Courtney treated the Design Club audience to a fly through of the entire re-design process, revealing how it ultimately came to life in the early hours last month after nearly two years in the making.

Deliveroo Design Club Marvel

Deliveroo’s new reflective rider kit

Next, Al Monk described his blueprint for remote working. He explained how his team at Heroku are spread across time zones, meaning there’s only a couple of hours a day where they can catch up and work together. For them, working in this way is a discipline and a skill in itself and Al’s blueprint outlined three key areas – working asynchronously, working together and staying aligned. Heroku have developed several models for enabling people to focus on their individual goals, whilst contributing to a wider, shared purpose. But perhaps the most simple – if most overlooked – aspect of remote working that Al talked about was respecting people’s time.

“Being respectful of other people’s working habits and time zones can be transformative.”

The modern workplace is untethered, forcing an ‘always on’ mentality and making demands on our time and attention whether we’re in the building or not. In this context, being respectful of other people’s working habits and time zones can be transformative. Al, and his colleagues, work collaboratively by protecting what allows them to be creative.

What both talks highlighted were the real world implications of working in technology companies, and how design – and design thinking – is crucial to making it possible. For Deliveroo, arguably one of London’s most successful startups, design is helping them to grow fast whilst standing out everywhere from the road to the app store. While for Al, at Heroku, a considered, designed approach to the business of business allows him and his team to work together even when they’re apart.

Photographs by Joe Watts

The next Design Club will be in November. To be the first to know about tickets, speakers and new announcements sign up here.

Hello! I'm Marvel's Content Writer and Marketer. My world is pretty much centred around three things: Talking about Marvel. Producing sweet content and, of course, food.

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