Platform Update: March 2023

Platform Update: March 2023

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Our regular readers may have noticed, what drew me into the world of design was a love for objects. From my interview with Anthony Hobday:

Finally, when I was in high school, my parents bought our first home. With the new home, came new furniture. Some of this furniture was more interesting. It was more expensive. It received more care. I was instructed to be careful with it...

I remember asking my mom, “Why is this stuff more important?” She replied: “It’s design.”

As I explored the multiverse of design, first as a hobbyist and then a professional, my love for objects expanded into a love for graphics, and intersected with my love for technology. I found my professional home in interaction design, UI design, and web design.

Design Disciplin is a full expression of my love for design, as a wide-ranging intersection of art and engineering. At the same time, in the context of my digital-focused design practice, it is the perfect playground.

In these updates, I share recent developments and learnings from Design Disciplin as a platform for experiments in visual communication, web design, and online business.

The Design Disciplin website in 2021 (top left), 2022 (bottom left), and 2023 (right).

New Look

This week, we launched a new look for the Design Disciplin home page.

The guiding principle behind this redesign is "show, don't tell."

In January, to introduce the foundation of our new online platform, I wrote:

The new platform enables rapid publishing and new kinds of content, because it's designed to help you make sense. The topics we handle are complex. The presentation must accommodate explain this complexity at the same time.

The new grid layout on our landing page is the next step towards this end.

Previously we relied on tags, sections in the layout, and other explanatory devices to differentiate the types of content we publish — concepts, conversations, meta-articles about ourselves, roundups, masterclasses, and announcements for the IRL and online events we host.

Variations in borders, background illumination, and corner rounding on our content cards add excitement to the otherwise dull grid layout. At the same time, they hint at the different types of content we offer, since the content cards are stylistically consistent across content types.

Our new design communicates our "content architecture" with visual design. To eliminate architectural complexity, we placed all of our content on the same grid layout. To add back the nuance that would have been lost, we introduced variations in borders, background illumination, and corner rounding on our content cards.

These variations not only add excitement to the otherwise dull grid layout, but also communicate structure, since the styles are consistent across content types. For example: Concepts and Conversations, which require the most investment to produce, are highlighted with borders and rounded corners; and video releases occupy two columns instead of one.

New Tier

We brought back the free tier for Design Disciplin subscriptions!

The support we get from our paid Community Members is crucial to keep Design Disciplin up and running, and to keep publishing free content that makes advanced design knowledge available to a diverse audience.

To enable a world-wide cohort of designers and design lovers to participate, our Community Membership is currently priced at less than $1 per month. At such a low price, we thought that a free membership tier would add unnecessary complexity. But soon, we realized, it's a missed opportunity.

You can now subscribe to Design Disciplin, to receive our new releases (and our members-only newsletter) in your e-mail, for free. Paid members still get exclusive access to our global Community to share, collaborate, and find opportunities, as well as access to our digital offerings and events.

Design Disciplin offers an Advisory Service tailored specifically to the challenges that aspiring designers and innovators face, with sessions to upgrade your design projects, your design portfolio, and your design career.

New Offerings

When Design Disciplin launched, we offered an Advisory Service where we helped students, creatives, and innovators advance on their challenges with personal consulting and coaching. I modeled these Advisory sessions on the hundreds of hours I spent advising grad students, simultaneously helping them with academic projects as well as facing the job market with clarity, confidence, and strength.

As I helped aspiring designers through our Advisory Service, I couldn't help but see commonalities in the challenges that matter for our community: how to progress in the job market, how to increase their visual design skills, how to pick an education program to invest in...

As part of our new Offerings, our advisory service now offers sessions that specifically address challenges of aspiring designers and innovators. We think of these as "upgrades" that you can "install" on yourself, and we're proud to offer the following:

  • Design Project Upgrade — Hands-on advice to take your design project to the next level and wow your clients.
  • Design Portfolio Upgrade — Actionable feedback to level up your portfolio, impress your next employer, get hired quickly.
  • Designer Coaching — Identify destinations and draw a roadmap for the next stage of your design career, including how to focus your search for the next level of your education and your next job.
Design Disciplin reaches a global audience from more than 100 countries.

I'm proud and excited to be able to offer these sessions to a worldwide audience. Before Design Disciplin, I taught at universities where only a handful of students could access our learnings and conversations. Today, the internet allows me to bring the same level of insights and discussions to people across the globe, connecting to designers from all walks of life.

New Book

As you might know, I'm a lover of books as well as design. Again, from my conversation with Anthony:

Physical books are a great investment for designers.

First of all, books are packaged as a whole “curriculum." Just looking at the table of contents in a well-considered book, we can get a good overview of the discipline. And then they are “flippable.” We can pick them up and quickly go through the pages for inspiration while on the job.

Many great design books are unavailable in digital formats, or the reading experience is not as pleasing. Physical books are still the best format for a lot of great visual design knowledge.

What better opportunity to share my recent literary discoveries with you, than these platform updates?

The book I'm reading currently is The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin.

The self-professed purpose of this masterpiece is to illuminate "the path of the artist as a road we all can follow", at which it succeeds magnificently.

This book, which I received as a birthday present from my friend Timmy (who is, much like Rick Rubin, in the business of inspiring people), has been a very challenging read, despite the simplicity and clarity of its language. And while ordinarily I wouldn't intend "challenging to read" as a compliment, the challenge of The Creative Act is certainly not because it's poorly written. Far from it: the book is so densely packed with meaning, wisdom, and inspiration from one of the greatest contributors in the history of human culture, it feels wrong to jump from one chapter to the next without fully internalizing its messages.

I can't recommend The Creative Act enough, for creatives and anyone who desires to understand creativity.

The Creative Act: A Way of Being

by Rick Rubin — "a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow"

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Mehmet Aydın Baytaş

Mehmet Aydın Baytaş


Mehmet is the founder of Design Disciplin. He has been designing and building since 2005, and spent 10 years as academic computer scientist and design researcher.