Design Life

Design Life
Design Life is a podcast about design and side projects for motivated creators. It was born after your hosts, two serial side project addicts, saw a gap in the podcast market for a conversational show about design and the issues young creatives face, that was hosted by two females. This show aims to tackle the big issues designers face like getting paid, overcoming a creative block or managing time, to name a few. We want to open up discussion about things we wish we heard people talk about when we were studying, and we want to chat to you about the joys and the frustrations of working in the tech industry by day, and on our passion projects in the rest of our waking hours. We hope that by doing so, Design Life will give you a dose of motivation or inspiration when you need it.

203: Running a design-focused Instagram
Oct 19 • 26 min
On this episode of Design Life we talk about running a design-focused Instagram account.
202: Charli gets a promotion!
Oct 12 • 29 min
In this episode of Design Life we discuss something really exciting - Charli’s recent promotion to Creative Director at Convertkit!
201: Being the only designer on the team
Sep 28 • 30 min
What’s it like being a solo designer, the only designer on a team or even in an entire company? This topic was requested by a listener who was looking for our insights on how to embrace the opportunity and overcome the challenges that come with being a…
200: Does using design freebies make you less of a designer?
Sep 21 • 27 min
Does using design freebies makes you any less of a designer? Listen to hear our thoughts on using elements other designers have made and are sharing for free. There is a time and place to use a freebie, we share how to use them to your advantage as a…
199: How direct is TOO direct with feedback?
Sep 14 • 29 min
How direct is being too direct with feedback and general workplace communication? With remote working and working from home in full swing, we have lost the office cooler moments and lunch time chit chat that help us navigate communication at work and give…
198: Making friends at work
Sep 8 • 28 min
You might wonder how much of yourself you should bring to work and how can you build friendships with the people you work with? We have built friendships of varying strengths in our workplaces and in this episode we share our success stories, the part…
197: Should you go to design school?
Aug 24 • 29 min
On today’s episode of Design Life we’re talking about design education. Listeners often ask us “should I go to design school?” but the answer varies depending on where you are in your career, how you learn best and what goals you have. In this episode we…
196: Should you have to work nights and weekends to succeed in tech?
Aug 17 • 26 min
Should you have to work nights and weekends to succeed in tech? This is a question that has been doing the rounds on social media recently. Many people use their nights and weekends to build a side hustle and develop skills that are useful to have in…
195: Working with freelancers
Aug 11 • 27 min
In this episode of Design Life we discuss working with freelancers and contractors.
194: The future of AI/ML in design
Aug 3 • 26 min
As artificial intelligence and machine learning begin to impact the design industry in new ways, the future of design may differ from the way we work today. If that is the case, how can you remain relevant as a designer?
193: Too many meetings
Jul 27 • 29 min
Have you ever felt that you have so many meetings in one week that you don’t have time to get your work done? If this is the case finding focus time at work can be a struggle. In this episode of Design Life we discuss how to evaluate if you have control…
192: How to reach out for advice
Jul 6 • 30 min
As educators in the design field, we both get daily requests from people asking for career advice, feedback on a portfolio or mentorship around existing issues in their work. Lately, we’ve noticed an increase in people reaching out cold. While this is…
191: Attaching self worth to your work
Jun 30 • 29 min
With more people than ever before working from home (WFH) our relationship with our work is changing.
190: Creating design processes and workflows
Jun 23 • 28 min
Today on the Design Life podcast, we’re talking about processes and design operations. Writing briefs, developing processes and reviewing workflows are all part of the job, but sometimes it can feel like that’s all we do as designers! If your daily to-do…
189: Why are there so few women in design leadership?
Jun 15 • 31 min
188: Creating and launching a digital product
Jun 8 • 22 min
In this episode of Design Life we celebrate the launch of Charli’s first font! Grayscale, a handmade sans-serif font was launched in May. Having worked on the creation of this digital product for a couple of years now, we dive deep into the nuts and bolts…
187: Launching a big project
May 25 • 29 min
In this week’s episode of Design Life we’re going to talk about how it feels to launch big projects. At Convertkit, Charli and the team have launched an updated homepage with a new focus, telling creator stories. Meanwhile over at UberEats, Femke and the…
186: Design QA Process
May 19 • 30 min
In today’s episode of Design Life we discuss the design QA process. People use many different terms to describe this process but basically to us it means reviewing the build.
185: Facilitating workshops with Jonathan Courtney (AJ&Smart)
May 4 • 52 min
In this episode of Design Life we are joined by a special guest, Jonathan Courtney, CEO of Innovation and Design company AJ&Smart.
184: Making design decisions
Apr 28 • 33 min
As designers, we make a lot of decisions. From moving something two pixels to the left to redesigning an entire website, our decisions range in difficulty. Today on Design Life we talk about how we go about making these decisions and how to overcome…
183: Design reviews and getting feedback
Apr 21 • 33 min
In this week’s episode of Design Life we are talking about design reviews.
182: Starting a new side project
Apr 14 • 31 min
On this episode of Design Life we are talking side projects. You might have a few ideas bouncing around in your mind of late, that keep coming back to you. Maybe you want to see if your idea would spark interest in the audience you have in mind, but you…
181: Getting through a motivation slump
Apr 6 • 26 min
In this week’s episode of Design Life, we have a timely discussion about our motivation while working from home. These are unprecedented times we’re living in. Trying to find and stay motivated while also building a new routine when working from home is a…
180: Working from home during COVID-19
Mar 24 • 39 min
Many people find themselves working from home at the moment as workplaces play their part in helping to slow the spread of the Coronavirus. For those of us who are working from home for the first time, or returning to remote working after some time in the…
179: How to build your network
Mar 16 • 30 min
In this episode of Design Life we discuss how to build your network. Over the course of your career, how can you build a strong, supportive network? We talk about taking the organic approach to creating your network so you can you successfully leverage…
178: Performance reviews
Mar 9 • 38 min
Giving and receiving feedback can be tricky. In this episode we talk about performance reviews, which is quite timely as both of us have just finished or are in the process of having ours.
177: Keeping your portfolio up to date
Feb 19 • 31 min
A portfolio is something that ideally you are updating frequently. If however, you are like us and have neglected your portfolio since you were last on the job hunt, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this episode of Design Life we talk about the small…
176: Tackling implementation issues between design and development
Feb 10 • 32 min
We have both experienced the frustration of being asked to sign off on our designs only to find that either a small part of the project or a large chunk have not been developed as we had intended. In this episode of design life we discuss how to tackle…
175: The other side of design (it’s more than pushing pixels)
Jan 20 • 34 min
In this episode we talk about how design is more than just pushing pixels. As a designer you may find yourself completing any number of tasks - planning researching, exploring, scoping, interviewing, wire framing - we could go on and on. Sometimes this…
174: How to start and grow a design Youtube Channel
Jan 13 • 37 min
Have you ever thought about starting your own YouTube channel? In this week’s episode of Design Life we speak about our channel’s journeys, what has worked consistently and what we have done differently over time. We speak honestly about growing our…
173: Setting Goals and Intentions in 2020
Jan 6 • 36 min
This is a very exciting time of year, a great time to evaluate 2019 and look ahead to what you want to achieve in 2020. In this episode, the first episode of the new decade, we talk about our goals and intentions for the year ahead. This has become a…
172: Fulfilling your potential
Dec 11, 2019 • 29 min
Is the weight of your potential weighing you down? Potential can be both a blessing and a curse.
171: Learnings from Adobe Max
Dec 2, 2019 • 43 min
In this episode of Design Life we have a special guest joining us, Zach Grosser. Zach joins Charli on the podcast this week as they both attended Adobe MAX 2019, Charli was an Adobe Insider this year and Zach was invited to attend by Adobe as a UX leader.…
170: Jumping from junior to senior designer
Oct 28, 2019 • 29 min
On this episode of Design Life we discuss a query about senior and junior roles from a listener hoping to change levels. How do you know when you’re ready, how can you figure out and prove that you have the skills you need to do the job at hand?
169: Within Design Retreat
Oct 22, 2019 • 32 min
In a change to our usual format, this week on Design Life we discuss Femke’s experience of the Within leadership retreat. The three day, design leadership retreat provided plenty for us to discuss, including leading authentically, listening to your inner…
168: When your ideas aren’t considered
Oct 7, 2019 • 29 min
How do you deal with the frustration of people not accepting your ideas? When you share an idea and people brush it off or they don’t agree that it is a good idea, how do you deal with that in such a way that your team understand your disappointment but…
167: Career progression
Sep 23, 2019 • 27 min
This week on Design Life we’re talking about a topic that has been on our minds lately - career progression. We have been thinking about the next stage in our careers, and thought you might be interested to hear what steps we have taken to secure the next…
166: Having difficult conversations
Sep 17, 2019 • 35 min
Whether you are a freelancer who wants to get paid or just someone who wants to work better with a colleague, we will all experience the nerve wracking build up to a difficult conversation at multiple points in our careers. We are all humans, doing our…
165: Staying creative during life changes
Sep 9, 2019 • 29 min
After a short hiatus the Design Life podcast is back! Staying creative and motivated during big life changes can be a real challenge, one we have recently faced.
164: How to get your first design job
Jul 24, 2019 • 33 min
In this episode of Design Life, we talk about how to get your first design job. It can be a conundrum, in order to get a job you need to have experience, but in order to get experience you need a job. How can you get experience if no one is willing to…
163: Earning passive income
Jul 8, 2019 • 30 min
Passive income is a great way for designers to earn a little extra every month alongside your full time or freelance gig. In this episode of Design Life we discuss the different passive income streams we have used successfully, what we have learned and…
162: CEO and designer, Helen Tran
Jul 1, 2019 • 37 min
This week we are delighted to share a very special edition of Design Life with you. For this episode we invited Helen Tran who is a Product Designer, hobbyist writer, and the CEO & Founder of Jupiter to tell us all about her journey to becoming her own…
161: The project kickoff
Jun 11, 2019 • 25 min
Starting a project with a kickoff checklist can be useful for everyone involved. In this episode we discuss the checklists we use, and how to jump in successfully if you haven’t been involved in the kickoff.
160: Every creative feels broken inside
May 29, 2019 • 34 min
This episode comes by way of a talk Charli heard at the How Design Live conference in Chicago. Stephen Gates delivered a thought provoking presentation, about living life as a creative. One question in particular stood out - is our manufactured reality…
159: Is your portfolio a lie?
May 21, 2019 • 32 min
Is your portfolio truthful, is it a fair representation of your skills? Today’s episode comes by way of an email we had from a client, who asks this very question, and favours freelance market places as a result. We discuss how to make sure your portfolio…
158: Job titles, are they important?
May 13, 2019 • 34 min
Job titles and promotions came up as a topic of conversation for us on Twitter recently and we thought it a topic worth diving deeper into, in this episode of Design Life.
157: Project retrospectives
Apr 29, 2019 • 32 min
In today’s episode we discuss running project retrospectives. Retros give the whole team the chance to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go well and any areas of opportunity to improve upon next time. Find out why we think that not running a project…
156: Creating effective design documentation
Apr 17, 2019 • 31 min
Design documentation might not be the most exciting part of the design process but its importance cannot be underestimated. Unfortunately the people we work with cannot read our minds, which is why documenting our designs is crucial. Communicating the…
155: Done is better than perfect
Apr 9, 2019 • 31 min
In this week’s episode we get a little bit philosophical as we discuss the concept of done being better than perfect. This week’s episode comes by way of a listener comment, despite knowing that their design will only really come together in the end…
154: Goal Setting and OKR’s
Apr 2, 2019 • 33 min
153: Creating Design Principles
Mar 18, 2019 • 28 min
What are design principles and how do they differ from design systems? In this episode we answer your questions about design principles and offer some direction as to how you can begin to define them for yourself.
152: Navigating office politics
Mar 12, 2019 • 28 min
Dealing with office politics? This episode of Design Life has you covered.
151: Running Design Sprints
Mar 4, 2019 • 30 min
In this episode of Design Life, we discuss running design sprints. In the Product/UX community for the last couple of years, design sprints have been growing in popularity. As a UX designer herself, Femke has run a couple of mini design sprints at Uber…
150: Working with design systems
Feb 18, 2019 • 32 min
149: Weekly Planning
Jan 22, 2019 • 33 min
In this week’s episode we talk about something which is pretty on-brand for us - weekly planning.
148: Getting the best start at a new job
Jan 14, 2019 • 34 min
Many people will start a new job this year, but how can you make sure you get off on the right foot? In this week’s episode of Design Life we answer a question from a listener about getting the best start at a new job. We share our experiences of our…
147: Goals for 2019
Jan 7, 2019 • 38 min
The goals you set are entirely up to you. Think about how you want to live your life and what you want to have done when you’ve retired and you’re looking back on your career. Your goals might look completely different to someone else who is also in your…
146: Design Challenges, is it spec work?
Dec 4, 2018 • 38 min
Design challenges can prove a controversial topic, specifically the kind you might complete as part of a job application. Some people think they have merit while others think they tread a fine line between free labour and giving prospective candidates the…
145: Investing in conferences
Nov 20, 2018 • 31 min
Here at Design Life we are big fans of attending conferences, and probably attend well above the average each year. How do we choose which ones to go to and why do we prioritise our attendance at conferences so highly? In this episode we talk about our…
144: What to look for in a manager
Nov 13, 2018 • 26 min
Your relationship with your manager is an important one. How can you best cultivate it? In this episode of Design Life we talk about how to build a good relationship with your manager, the traits of a good manager and women in management roles.
143: 3 Things we recommend right now
Nov 6, 2018 • 28 min
As the Design Life podcast approaches its three year anniversary, we record another episode IRL. This week’s episode is a friendly catch up about our work and goals where we talk about some books, podcasts and apps we’re loving right now.
142: Iteration
Oct 29, 2018 • 34 min
Is your first idea ever your best idea? Is there ever a time where you design something once and then - BOOM! That’s it, done. In this episode of Design Life we discuss iteration. As a designer, when you design something new, it’s the beginning of a…
141: Confront Conference with Zach Grosser
Oct 16, 2018 • 27 min
We chat about Confront Conference with special guest Zach Grosser
140: How to switch careers
Oct 8, 2018 • 30 min
Today we are talking about switching careers to become a designer.
139: Working with stakeholders
Oct 1, 2018 • 38 min
Gaining stakeholder trust can greatly influence the success of your project, but where is the best place to start? In this week’s episode we share our tips and experience to make the process of gaining stakeholder trust as straightforward as possible.
138: Salaries and bonuses
Sep 18, 2018 • 36 min
In a slight change to our usual series on design careers, in this episode we talk about the compensation packages we have been offered at varying stages of our careers. How can you negotiate to get the most out of your compensation package, and what can…
137: Personal brand design
Sep 10, 2018 • 31 min
Personal branding can feel like an insurmountable task to many designers. Designing a personal brand that communicates personality, style and professionalism is no easy task. In previous episodes we have spoken about the importance of a purposeful…
136: Sharing unfinished work
Sep 3, 2018 • 25 min
There is still value to be found in sharing unfinished work, but does it really belong in your portfolio? In this episode we discuss sharing unfinished work, when it is appropriate and how to present it in the best light.
135: Productivity in the workplace
Aug 26, 2018 • 40 min
On Design Life this week, we talk about productivity in the workplace. Being productive at work is about doing what you need to do to get the job done while also being aware that other people need you. We share what works for us while working in an office…
134: Why we stopped freelancing
Aug 20, 2018 • 30 min
133: Becoming a hybrid
Aug 13, 2018 • 34 min
Many designers want to welcome more development skills into their toolkit and become a hybrid. In reality however, it can be a struggle to fit in the learning required to develop complementary skills while also completing the tasks you were hired to do!…
132: User Testing in the design process
Aug 6, 2018 • 38 min
User testing, or usability testing, can help designers get to know their user even better. It can reveal insights into the use of the product or site that the team otherwise might never know. In this episode we discuss how user testing at Uber works, and…
131: Should you fake it till you make it?
Jul 23, 2018 • 31 min
In this episode we answer a question from a member of the Design Life community who is wondering if they should follow the advice to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. We discuss the pros and cons of ‘faking it’, how to use it as a tool to boost your confidence…
130: How A/B testing can improve your design
Jul 17, 2018 • 32 min
Data can be a powerful tool in a designer’s toolkit. A/B testing can help to prove or disprove our design hypotheses by checking them against the data to see what actually works. In this episode we discuss our experience with A/B testing and how it can…
129: When do you know it’s time to move on?
Jul 9, 2018 • 32 min
It’s easy to get stuck in the same routine – same job, same tasks, same projects. However there comes a time when maybe it’s time to move on to something new. In this episode we discuss experiences we’ve had with moving on to new endeavours, and how you…
128: Making time for new side projects
Jul 3, 2018 • 32 min
Have an idea for a new side project? With potentially a few already on the go, how do you make time for new side projects without neglecting your current ones? In this episode we talk about how we decide which side project ideas to pursue and how to…
127: User research in the design process
Jun 19, 2018 • 37 min
User research is a vital part of the design process. It helps to inform your decisions and make sure that you’re designing the best solution to the problem. There are many different ways to do user research, and different points it could be involved in…
126: The rollercoaster of the creative process
Jun 11, 2018 • 34 min
The creative process is like a rollercoaster. It has ups and downs, it can put you in a spin, and sometimes things are moving so fast you don’t even know what’s happening. In this episode we talk about the creative process and how we handle the low points…
125: Travelling for work
Jun 5, 2018 • 35 min
As designers our jobs can be done from anywhere! Ironically this can often mean that we don’t need to travel for work within a company, but opportunities can still arise to work with a team in another office, visit a client, go on a user research trip or…
124: Getting content for your designs
May 28, 2018 • 33 min
There’s often more to a project than just design. As designers we regularly find ourselves working with illustrators, copywriters, photographers and more. In this episode we chat about how we’ve worked with content creators and their involvement in the…
123: The design handoff and validation process
May 21, 2018 • 40 min
Handing over your design to a developer or a team of engineers for it to be built is an important part of the design process. In this episode we talk about that handoff and how to make it run smoothly so that everyone is happy, and the finished product…
122: Being a woman in tech
May 14, 2018 • 39 min
Despite all the advances the world has made with gender equality over the years, there is still a severe lack of women in tech. In this episode we discuss our experience entering the tech industry and sharing our thoughts and frustrations on the matter.
121: Trying new design tools
May 7, 2018 • 31 min
For many designers, deciding what new design or prototyping tool to choose can be overwhelming, with new tools launching every month! How can you choose the right one while also maximising your time? In this episode we discuss how we go about learning a…
120: Our biggest flaws as designers
Apr 30, 2018 • 37 min
In this episode, we share our current struggles, both personal and professional and what we are doing to overcome them. We also look at the struggles we faced in our careers in the past, and talk about the catalysts that helped us to change.
119: Setting career goals
Apr 23, 2018 • 36 min
I think also goals are good checkpoints, like the time before you reach the goal is obviously a really important time but I think afterwards is equally important like stop reflect okay I achieved this and then think about what could be the next one
118: Too many passions, not enough time
Apr 16, 2018 • 36 min
Ever have that feeling where you have too many passions and not enough time to do it all? This week we address this question from a listener who’s been struggling with feeling as though she has too many passions, and share our experience.
117: Articulating design decisions
Apr 2, 2018 • 45 min
Recently, Femke attended a workshop about articulating design decisions and in this episode she shares a few nuggets of wisdom she learned there with you. We also discuss our experience presenting our work and getting stakeholders on board, and answer…
116: An alternative approach to networking
Mar 12, 2018 • 34 min
Networking is a vital part of your design career, but at conferences or meetups it can be hard to drive a meaningful conversation. In this episode we discuss ways to move beyond ‘what do you do?’ when talking to new people at an event and share some…
115: Friendly competition
Mar 6, 2018 • 32 min
Competition can be healthy or harmful, depending on how far you take it! In this episode we discuss an email from a listener about toxic competition, and share our experience with similar situations.
114: Creators Guilt
Feb 26, 2018 • 31 min
Do you ever feel guilty when you’re not spending time creating? It turns out, many creatives do. In this episode we discuss this guilt and why it’s irrational, and how to cope with it.
113: When to upgrade your technology
Feb 13, 2018 • 34 min
This week we get nerdy and talk about tech; more specifically, upgrading technology. When should you upgrade? Do you always need to have the latest device? How do we decide what to upgrade to? We discuss all of this and more!
112: Redesigning your website
Feb 5, 2018 • 35 min
As designers it sometimes feels like we are perpetually redesigning our own websites! In this episode we discuss our approach to tackling our redesigns and what tools we’re using to build the site, as well as share some advice for not getting overwhelmed…
111: Starting an official business
Jan 30, 2018 • 38 min
As creatives, sometimes dealing with things like finances and paperwork don’t come naturally to us, but they’re important to figure out. In this episode we discuss the legalities and details of setting up an official business including accounting,…
110: Making a career shift
Jan 23, 2018 • 36 min
Both Design Life hosts have made the decision to shift their career in the past and change design disciplines: Femke from marketing to product design, and Charli from print to web design. In this episode we discuss what it was like to make this shift and…
109: Getting started with making videos
Jan 15, 2018 • 34 min
More and more designers and other creatives are starting to make video content these days, and there’s still plenty of room for you! In this episode we discuss getting started with making videos and give advice for dealing with the initial hurdles you’ll…
108: Setting a monthly focus
Jan 8, 2018 • 31 min
In this episode we discuss an approach to getting things done that might help you get more out of 2018 and finally complete some projects you’ve been trying to make time for by setting a monthly focus.
107: Advice for networking
Dec 18, 2017 • 32 min
Networking isn’t just for corporate people in business suits, it’s a handy skill to master as a designer! In this episode we discuss our experience with networking and share our best tips for finding the right people to talk to, and making the most of the…
106: Boredom
Dec 11, 2017 • 36 min
This week we’re talking about boredom. It’s something that strikes us all every now and then and we shouldn’t be ashamed about that. In this episode we discuss the ways it affects us and some possible solutions for dealing with it.
105: Portfolio pieces vs just needing the money
Dec 4, 2017 • 33 min
All designers go through a stage where they create work they aren’t proud of. What should you do when you’re trying to build your portfolio up, but are working on projects you don’t love because you need the money? In this episode we discuss our own…
104: The future of our design careers
Nov 27, 2017 • 37 min
Where do you want to be in your career in five years time? How about ten years time, or thirty? In this episode we discuss the future of our careers and what we want to achieve as designers. You’ll learn a little more about us and our goals, and hopefully…
103: Product launches and failures
Nov 20, 2017 • 37 min
Launching something you’ve been working hard on to the world wide internet can be intimidating. In this episode we share what we’ve learned from launching things recently, what we wish we’d done differently, and give you advice to apply to your own launch…
102: The value of mastermind groups
Nov 13, 2017 • 34 min
What could be better than gathering regularly with a group of people as motivated as you are to discuss your projects and get advice? In this episode we discuss mastermind groups and their value. You’ll get advice for finding the right people to start one…
101: Starting a new design job
Nov 6, 2017 • 38 min
Starting a new design job can be scary. Not only are there new colleagues to get to know, but new design processes and projects to get your head around, and no doubt a million questions. In this episode we continue our jobs series and share our advice for…
100: Staying consistent with a side project over time
Oct 30, 2017 • 29 min
We’ve reached one hundred episodes of the show! So what better topic to talk about than sticking with a side project consistently over a long period time? In this episode we answer questions from our listeners about running a side project for two years,…
099: What to do when you’re lacking motivation
Oct 23, 2017 • 35 min
Slumps in motivation happen. No matter how passionate you are, no matter how good you are at time management; sometimes you just don’t feel motivated. In this episode we talk about how we deal with the slump, chat about possible reasons for it occurring,…
098: Sunsetting a side project
Oct 16, 2017 • 38 min
We talk a lot on this show about starting side projects and working on bringing your ideas to life, but what happens when the passion dies and you find yourself not wanting to work on a project anymore? In this episode we discuss our reasons for…
097: How to start making money from side projects - with Nathan Barry
Oct 2, 2017 • 46 min
It’s time to start making money from your side projects. Designer/entrepreneur Nathan Barry joins us for this episode to share advice for selling products without seeming too pushy, setting goals for your side projects, and how to launch them. If you’ve…
096: Tech & gadgets for designers
Sep 25, 2017 • 42 min
Hardware is an essential part of the design process, but how much you invest in that is up to you. In this episode we talk about the technology and gadgets that make up our hardware setup and discuss our research process before buying new tech items,…
095: Interviewing for design jobs
Sep 18, 2017 • 40 min
The interview stage can be both the most exciting and the scariest part of the design job hunting process. In this episode we share our advice for nailing a design job interview: what to bring, how to prepare, what to ask questions about and how to deal…
094: Speaking at conferences
Sep 11, 2017 • 44 min
If speaking at a conference is on your career goals list, this episode is for you. In it we discuss the public speaking opportunities we’ve had, and share advice for not only securing your own spot at an event but also how to plan and present your talk…
093: Taking Risks
Sep 4, 2017 • 37 min
As humans we are designed to be afraid of taking risks, but a certain amount of risk is necessary to achieve success. In this very special episode Eric Friedensohn (a talented lettering artist and friend of the show) joins Femke to discuss why it’s…
092: Advice for applying to design jobs
Aug 28, 2017 • 42 min
Lets say you’ve already done the job hunt – you’ve narrowed it down to a select few companies you want to apply at. Now it’s time to prepare your application. In this episode we share our advice for your CV, cover letter and portfolio, as well as chat…
091: Getting your work noticed
Aug 22, 2017 • 36 min
Doing great work is just one part of building a reputation and an audience; you also need to get your work noticed. In this episode we give advice for feeling confident sharing your work, and how to go about it in the right way. More at
090: Job hunting
Aug 14, 2017 • 40 min
In this episode we’re kicking off the start of a new mini-series about finding a new job. To start with we’re talking about the job hunt process and giving you advice for where to look for your new role and how to research a company to see if it’s a place…
089: Personal vs professional
Aug 7, 2017 • 37 min
Do you feel like you need to be careful what you post online? Can you be yourself on social media? In this episode we discuss the divide between our personal and professional sides and how we handle this online. We’ll share thoughts on how this affects…
088: Shiny Object Syndrome
Aug 1, 2017 • 31 min
Us creative types can often be distracted by shiny new ideas, especially when we’re at a tough point in a project. The temptation of working on something new is easy to give in to, but it’s not always the best thing for achieving our goals. In this…
087: Project Scoping
Jul 24, 2017 • 38 min
Project scoping is one of the scariest and hardest parts of the design process when you’re new to it. It takes time and practice to get right, and in this episode we’re sharing the best tips on project scoping from us and our listeners. You’ll also hear…
086: Balancing professional growth with getting paid
Jul 17, 2017 • 38 min
Professional development and growing your skills is important in any design job, but when you’re freelancing it can be hard to fit in as any time you spend learning is time not spent working for clients. in this episode we discuss the responsibility we…
085: Keeping up with new tools and frameworks
Jul 10, 2017 • 36 min
These days it seems like there is always a new tool or framework to try. It’s easy to feel the pressure to keep up with it all and stay relevant; especially when all of your peers are talking about it. In this episode we discuss our approach to trying new…
084: Self-doubt and feeling unsuccessful
Jul 3, 2017 • 39 min
Feeling down about yourself, and like you’re super uninteresting and unsuccessful isn’t fun. In fact, it downright sucks. But it’s something we all seem to face. So that’s what we decided to discuss in this weeks episode along with feeling too old and…
083: What to do when you’re overwhelmed
Jun 26, 2017 • 38 min
As ambitious people, we often find ourselves in situations where we’ve committed to too many things and have to deal with the overwhelm that comes along with it. In this episode we discuss what to do in this situation and how to learn from it for the…
082: When your ideas are bigger than your skillset
Jun 19, 2017 • 39 min
We have ideas all the time, and sometimes those ideas are so big that we don’t have the skillset to actually follow through on them. So what should you do when that happens? In this episode we discuss our approach to big ideas and the learning or asking…
E81: Bullet journalling for task management
Jun 12, 2017 • 41 min
Bullet journalling has become an incredibly popular way to manage projects and tasks. In this episode we discuss how we use the system and why we decided to try it, as well as give advice for getting started if you’re interested in trying it yourself.…
080: Our plans for the Design Life community
Jun 5, 2017 • 33 min
Design Life will soon be launching a community! In this episode we share in depth our plans for the community and tell you everything you need to know about the beta launch (sign up at[]( to…
079: The value of design
May 29, 2017 • 34 min
Design is often misconstrued as being about surface level visuals, when actually a lot of work goes in behind the scenes before you reach a beautiful finished product. In this episode we discuss the difficulties in communicating the value of design and…
078: Using video to build and connect with an audience
May 22, 2017 • 38 min
In the future, making videos will be just as common as writing blog posts. In this episode we talk about the benefits of creating online video (hint: it’s more than just audience growth!) and Charli gives advice to Femke for getting started and what to…
077: The future of the design industry
May 15, 2017 • 40 min
Design software is becoming more and more accessible, with some tools offering automatic layouts and quick logos. As designers should we worry about this future? In this episode we discuss the commodification of design and give thoughts on the future of…
076: The pros and cons of procrastiworking
May 8, 2017 • 32 min
Procrastiworking is work you do instead of another task; think of it as productive procrastination! But it is still just that: procrastination. In this episode we talk about the process and cons of it and give our tips for avoiding it or making it work to…
075: Feeling guilty for taking a break
May 1, 2017 • 32 min
Do you sometimes feel guilty for taking a break? Maybe you tinker on things throughout your break to ease the guilt, or perhaps you feel the guilt after enjoying a weekend away. Well we feel that too, so that’s what we discuss in this episode. You’ll hear…
074: Working from home
Apr 24, 2017 • 40 min
Working from home is becoming more and more common as more creatives take on a freelance life, and more companies embrace the remote way of working. In this episode we discuss the pros and cons of making your living space your working space, and give…
073: What to do when you run out of passion
Apr 17, 2017 • 37 min
Us designers can be emotional people. We love our jobs and we feel passionately about our creative projects. But what happens when that passion wanes? In this episode we talk about what it’s like to lose the passion you once had for a project, and what to…
072: Teaching yourself a new skill
Apr 10, 2017 • 44 min
Learning a new skill can be hard, especially when you’re teaching yourself. But it’s also a vital part of growing as a designer throughout your career. In this episode we chat about how we teach ourselves new skills, the struggles we face, and how we deal…
071: Feeling confident as a designer
Apr 3, 2017 • 34 min
Struggling with confidence is a big problem creatives face. We’ve all had days where we feel like we can’t keep going on our creative journey; that we’re not good enough and should just give up. But facing those hurdles is a part of the learning process…
070: How to package up client deliverables
Mar 27, 2017 • 32 min
Sending a client the deliverables is the last step of a project, so it’s one that can have a lasting impression. In this episode we discuss our process for sending client deliverables and some improvements we want to make to end the project on a really…
069 - Stepping out of your comfort zone
Mar 20, 2017 • 34 min
Stepping out of your comfort zone is something you have to do every now and then to learn and develop. In this episode we talk about what that means for us in terms of our side projects, taking on new opportunities, and also with our design style. More at…
068: Speeding up your workflow
Mar 13, 2017 • 37 min
When you’ve got a tight deadline to meet (or when you’ve just got a lot to do) little tricks to speed up your workflow can make all the difference. In this episode we talk about how our workflows have improved over the years and suggest some ideas for you…
067: We need more crappy work
Mar 6, 2017 • 34 min
The design world has gotten a little too perfect. All we see are beautiful finished products. The ideas thrown out along the way never get shared. But there is value in sharing your process and it can help others learn. In this episode we talking about…
066: Morals in design
Feb 27, 2017 • 31 min
How do your personal morals fit in with your design work? As designers, and as humans, we have a responsibility to think about the user and put forward work that makes the world better rather than worse. In this episode we discuss ethics and morals, and…
065: Life after design school
Feb 20, 2017 • 41 min
In this episode we reflect on what it’s been like to leave design school and start designing full time. We cover the many differences in the design process and the people you work with in school vs out in the “real world” and share advice for making the…
064: Consistency in content creation
Feb 13, 2017 • 43 min
When it comes to creating content online, consistency is the key to building a reputation and an audience. In this episode we discuss how we stay consistent with our content creation and share advice for how to overcome some common struggles. More at…
063: Advice for remote working
Feb 6, 2017 • 44 min
Remote working is becoming more and more common, and more and more desirable these days. In this episode we discuss our remote jobs and share advice for focussing and connecting with your team as a remote worker, and making the most of your nomadic…
062: Taking control of your design career
Jan 30, 2017 • 33 min
When it comes to your design career, you need to think about what you want out of it and where you want to end up in the future so that you can make steps towards it now, and make choices that align with those goals. In this episode we discuss the career…
061: Constraints breed creativity
Jan 24, 2017 • 30 min
Constraints breed creativity. If they’re not too restrictive, they give you a starting point and a box to think outside of. In this episode we discuss how to see constraints in a positive light and share advice for setting your own constraints on side…
060: Focus time
Jan 16, 2017 • 36 min
Lack of focus is our biggest enemy when it comes to productivity. In this episode we talk about focus time and how we can create it for ourselves. We discuss some different apps and techniques that help towards finding focus, but we also talk about the…
059: Advice for creating a great portfolio
Jan 9, 2017 • 42 min
When it comes to getting jobs in creative industries, your portfolio is more important than your resumé. Your portfolio should show your best work, and should demonstrate why you’re the person to hire for the job. It can be tough to create a good one.…
058: Setting goals for 2017
Jan 2, 2017 • 47 min
The start of a new year is the perfect time for you to think about what you want to get out of the year ahead, and set some goals. In this episode we get super honest and share our audience building, teaching, learning, financial, content and health goals…
057: Surrounding yourself with good people
Dec 19, 2016 • 32 min
The people you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on your life. That impact can be positive and uplifting, or it could be negative and crush your dreams; it’s up to you. In this episode we talk about how to find inspiring people and make them a…
056: Saying no to good things
Dec 12, 2016 • 30 min
Sometimes you have to say no to really good opportunities, whether that be because you’re too busy to take them on, or because you want to make sure there is still room for great opportunities to come your way. In this episode share our experiences with…
055: Design contracts & why you should have one
Dec 5, 2016 • 36 min
A contract is an essential part of being a freelancer. Even if you’re just starting out, it’s valuable to put one in to your process as soon as possible. In this episode we share advice for creating your contract and some hurdles to watch out for,…
054: Advice for content marketing
Nov 28, 2016 • 40 min
Content marketing doesn’t have to be a thing only big businesses do to seem like they know their customers; it’s something we as creatives can do to get our names out there, attract the right type of client, and become a part of the creative community by…
053: Should you market yourself as an individual or a studio?
Nov 21, 2016 • 36 min
When you market yourself for freelance work, there are two main ways to brand yourself: as an individual or as a studio. In this episode we discuss the pros and cons of each and help you figure out which option is best for you. More at
052: Hearing your struggles (Birthday episode)
Nov 14, 2016 • 35 min
For Design Life’s one year anniversary episode we invited our listeners to send in an audio recording telling us about something they’re struggling with at the moment. We do our best to answer their questions about managing time, confidence, finding…
051: How to get clients to pay up
Nov 7, 2016 • 34 min
We often hear stories of designers waiting months for payment. It’s hard asking for money, so how do you get clients to pay up? In this episode we talk about issues with payments, and share advice for making the payment process professional and easy.…
050: The value of conferences
Nov 2, 2016 • 37 min
Going to conferences is something most professionals end up doing at some point in their career. But when should you start going to some? How do you know which ones are best? What should you do when you’re there? We discuss all these things in this latest…
049: The hustle mindset
Oct 23, 2016 • 36 min
Hustle is a buzz-word we see a lot these days. In this episode we discuss what it means to us, and the effect it has on our mental state and our work. It’s easy to feel a lot of pressure to hustle when you see others achieving so much, but it’s important…
048: Repositioning your online presence
Oct 17, 2016 • 38 min
Repositioning your niche or your content isn’t necessarily about what you’re doing, but how you’re doing it. You may find yourself going down a path that’s not quite right for you, or perhaps your goal changes and you need to reposition to reflect that.…
047: How to price your design work
Oct 10, 2016 • 42 min
The topic of pricing is often taboo in the design world, but we think it helps everyone to talk more openly about it. In this episode we discuss how we price our work, and how that’s changed from when we started out in design. We also debate the merits of…
046: Dealing with harsh critique
Oct 3, 2016 • 34 min
Harsh critique is something we all encounter, and when you’ve not yet built up a thick skin it can be very hard to deal with. In this episode we give you advice for taking this feedback on board without letting it affect you emotionally. More at…
045: Advice for finding a job in the design industry
Sep 26, 2016 • 45 min
Getting a job in the design industry is all about building up experience and making connections. In this episode we talk about how we’ve landed the creative roles we’ve had so far, and share advice for portfolios, job hunting, and nailing an interview.…
044: What to do at the end of a client project
Sep 19, 2016 • 39 min
With freelance projects, last impressions can have just as much meaning as a first impression; you need to make your wrap-up process count! In this episode you’ll hear advice for finishing up a client project and getting feedback to both improve your…
043: How to decide what to work on
Sep 12, 2016 • 34 min
Time and energy are precious resources, and in order not to waste them we must be picky with what opportunities we take on, and what ideas we act on. In this episode we discuss our process for deciding what side projects and client briefs we work on, and…
042: The truth about freelance marketplaces
Sep 5, 2016 • 39 min
Freelancing websites that offer the opportunity to bid for projects or compete to have your logo design chosen by a company are damaging to the way design is valued. In this episode we discuss our thoughts and experiences with these sites and explain why…
041: Making the most of design school
Aug 29, 2016 • 39 min
Getting a degree is not a requirement for making it in the design industry, and that means that it is up to us to make the most of our time at design school to get the most value from it. You shouldn’t sit back and do the bare minimum; you should make the…
040: Fear of Failure
Aug 22, 2016 • 36 min
A fear of failure can hold us back from going after opportunities, starting new projects, and aiming high. In this episode we talk about how failure is a natural part of the learning and making process, and it’s only an end point if we let it be. In the…
039: Agency vs freelance vs in-house design
Aug 16, 2016 • 31 min
There are three main types of design job: agency/studio (where you work as part of a team who does work for clients), freelance (where you work for yourself and have your own clients) and in-house (where you’re a designer on a team at a single company…
038: Jack of all trades - Specialist or generalist?
Aug 8, 2016 • 34 min
In the tech industry especially, there is a lot of pressure on designers to excel at everything involved in the design and development process and be “unicorns”. In this episode we discuss how the phrase ‘Jack of all trades; master of none’ applies to the…
037: Bringing new clients onboard
Aug 1, 2016 • 39 min
Bringing a new client onboard is the start of a new working relationship, and it’s important to get it started on the right foot. Having an onboarding process in place to streamline this beginning phase can save you time and also set expectations with…
036: Blurring the line between life and work
Jul 25, 2016 • 37 min
Do you work to live, or live to work? Often the latter is seen as a negative thing, but we beg to differ. In this episode we talk about our attitude towards work and how we see it as an integrated part of our life; not a necessary evil. You’ll hear tips…
035: Defining a niche for your work
Jul 18, 2016 • 41 min
Defining a niche means targeting a specific audience with your work and content. In this episode we discuss the benefits of this focussed approach and discuss the niche(s) we’re aiming our content at. You’ll hear advice for choosing a niche, and we’ll…
034: Which Design Tools should I use?
Jul 11, 2016 • 39 min
Design tools are all the things we use to bring our ideas to life. In this episode we discuss the software we design in, the resources we use, the analogue items we take our workflow offline with, and our top little workflow hacks. While learning design…
033: The importance of role models
Jul 4, 2016 • 34 min
No one is born knowing how to lead a successful life. That’s something we learn along the way from role models. In this episode we discuss the value and importance we place on role models and share our attitude towards taking inspiration from them while…
032: Living in the Present
Jun 27, 2016 • 37 min
Things get philosophical in this episode as we talk about the importance of living in the ‘now’. It’s so easy to look at successful people and feel pressured to hustle more so that you can achieve what they have, but if you don’t enjoy the journey towards…
031: Fighting procrastination
Jun 20, 2016 • 36 min
Procrastination is the enemy of productivity. The most important thing to do when you’re procrastinating is to take note of the reasons why you’re doing it and try to learn from them for next time. In this episode we talk about what we do when we…
030: Getting useful feedback on your work
Jun 13, 2016 • 36 min
Feedback is essential to your work whether it comes from fellow designers, your audience, your clients, or your own gut! In this episode we talk about different types of feedback and when and how to ask for it. We also give advice on ways to improve the…
029: Should you follow design trends?
Jun 6, 2016 • 41 min
Design trends are visual elements or design systems that sweep over the web and start appearing on many different websites. As with most things, there is a time and a place to follow trends and when you’re just starting out in the industry you can feel…
028: Our Design Process
May 30, 2016 • 44 min
The process you follow for design projects will vary depending on the type of work and the client, but in this episode we discuss the basic process we follow for designing websites. We give advice for wireframing, dealing with client feedback and…
027: What if nobody notices?
May 23, 2016 • 37 min
Things get deep this week as we discuss a fear that many creatives have: what if nobody notices my work? When you work hard on something, and especially if the result is something that could help people, there’s no shame in wanting that work to be seen…
026: Participating in Design Communities
May 16, 2016 • 39 min
Being a part of the design community is an important part of being a designer. When designers come together to share ideas and discuss their work it benefits the whole industry because we can stand together against things like working for free.…
025: Should designers learn to code?
May 9, 2016 • 43 min
Creating a website involves two main skills: design and development. In this episode we tackle the hot debate of designers and code; Should web designers be able to build the things they design, and is it okay if they can’t? We share our personal…
024: Learning new skills for your side project
May 2, 2016 • 42 min
Learning new skills is something that goes hand-in-hand with side projects. Often we have ideas for things that involve either expanding on the skills we currently have, or learning something totally new. In this episode we discuss our approach to…
023: Being your own worst critic
Apr 25, 2016 • 35 min
Critiquing your own work is an important skill to learn, especially when it comes to side projects. When you set yourself a brief, you have to learn to look at your work in a new light and see it from an outside perspective to truly make it the best it…
022: Long term thinking and planning
Apr 18, 2016 • 36 min
We always want to be moving forward and progressing towards our goals. In this episode we discuss long term thinking and the importance of setting goals for your future. It can be hard to plan the exact steps to take to reach a goal set for five or ten…
021: Overcoming lack of motivation
Apr 11, 2016 • 40 min
Motivation is vital to working on side projects, and a positive mindset is key to staying motivated. In this episode we discuss how these things work together for us, and the external factors that drive us to keep hustling even when the going gets tough.…
020: How to push through Creative block
Apr 3, 2016 • 36 min
Creative block is scary. It’s something that every creative goes through, and it’s something that tends to sneak up on you. In this episode we discuss how for us creative block feels overwhelming and suffocating, and can hit at various points in a…
019: How to find Inspiration
Mar 28, 2016 • 36 min
Inspiration isn’t just a pretty image you find on Dribbble, it’s a way of looking at things in a new light. In this episode we discuss what it means to be inspired and our approach to gathering inspiration. We touch on the perils of your work being a…
018: The role of a side project in your career
Mar 21, 2016 • 41 min
Side projects can be an important and useful part of your career path. They can also be a huge distraction from your day job if you let them. In this episode we talk about the impact our side projects have had on our careers and what we’ve gotten out of…
017: Stress management
Mar 14, 2016 • 34 min
This week we’re having a heart-to-heart about stress and how we deal with it. We discover that for us a lack of control (be that of technology or other people) is often what stresses us out, along with feeling guilty for taking breaks. We talk about how a…
016: Prioritising tasks for personal projects
Mar 7, 2016 • 36 min
At work we have managers, co-workers or clients relying on us to get things done. When it comes to our personal projects we often don’t have the same sense of urgency or deadlines, so how do you prioritise what to work on? That’s what we discuss in this…
015: Facing Imposter Syndrome
Feb 29, 2016 • 40 min
Imposter syndrome, that feeling that you’re not good enough for what you’re doing, affects many creatives and it can be hard to overcome. In this episode we chat about how it affects us, and when and where it strikes most often. We also talk about social…
014: How to get up early
Feb 22, 2016 • 37 min
On week days, we get up early to fit in a couple of hours work on side projects before we begin our day jobs. In this episode we chat about how we shifted our schedules to make this hustle happen, and if you’re a night owl who thinks you could never be a…
013: Attracting Clients
Feb 15, 2016 • 38 min
This week we’re talking about why it’s better to attract clients than go out and approach them yourself. We think it’s the best way to get a professional working relationship off on the right foot and we’ll explain why. Attracting clients is a ‘long play’…
012: Work/Life Balance
Feb 8, 2016 • 37 min
For those of us with many things on the go the traditional work/life balance is more of a work/life/side project balance. Dividing our time between these important things can be tricky and in this episode we discuss how we approach it. We talk about…
011: Positioning yourself as a designer
Feb 1, 2016 • 33 min
There comes a point in every designer’s life where they decide what kind of designer they’re going to be. In this episode we chat about the different types of design we’ve done on our design journey and discuss the moment we started identifying ourselves…
010: Working with people who aren’t designers
Jan 25, 2016 • 38 min
As designers we work with a wide range of people on projects: copywriters, clients, developers, project managers and more. The diversity is awesome and keeps our jobs interesting, but it does bring it’s own set of challenges. In this episode we talk about…
009: Making and Managing Time
Jan 18, 2016 • 46 min
You only get 24 hours in a day. How you use it is up to you. In this episode we talk in depth about how we structure our days and manage our time (and geek out a little over to do lists). Things also get a bit deep as we talk about our attitude towards…
008: Setting goals for side projects
Jan 11, 2016 • 36 min
In this episode we’re talking about side project goals and their value. You’ll hear what our own goals are for our projects and how they’ve changed over time. We really want to encourage you to set goals for your side projects, but we don’t want not…
007: Finding motivation and staying focussed
Jan 4, 2016 • 37 min
We all struggle with motivation and focus at times; whether it’s for a design school project you’re just not connecting to or perhaps a side project that you’re feeling burned out on. In this episode we chat about the motivations behind our various side…
006: Taking action on your ideas
Dec 28, 2015 • 36 min
As creatives we find that coming up with ideas is easy, but acting on them to make them a reality is the hard part. It’s awesome but overwhelming, having so many ideas, and in this episode we talk through what we do after we’ve come up with an idea for a…
005: Working for free in exchange for exposure
Dec 21, 2015 • 40 min
We’re tackling a hot topic in this episode: doing design work for free in exchange for exposure. It’s a big issue in the design industry as it devalues what we do, and the more designers do it, the more clients think exposure is acceptable payment. Things…
004: Should you have a personal brand?
Dec 14, 2015 • 31 min
In this episode we’re talking about the importance of having a personal brand, and how it’s more than just a logo; it’s the essence of everything you do. We chat about how we approached naming and designing our own brands (and the struggle of being your…
003: The self taught vs. formal education debate
Dec 7, 2015 • 46 min
In this episode we’re talking about learning design, and discussing whether designers should get a formal education or teach themselves. We go through what we believe are the pros and cons of both learning methods (we both had our share of awkward…
002: Who we are
Nov 30, 2015 • 41 min
Get to know us in this episode as we discuss our jobs, passions and paths to becoming the designers we are today. We chat about why we love working in-house as opposed to at an agency, and why it’s great that our day jobs aren’t too similar to our side…
001: Why have a side project?
Nov 30, 2015 • 33 min
In the first episode of Design life, we discuss one of our favourite topics: side projects. What makes a side project more than a hobby? How can they help with your career? We’ll fill you in on what our side projects are (both the ones we’re doing now,…