Cloudflare TV

Style Guide

Presented by Dan Hollinger, Dylan Welter, Fallon Blossom
Originally aired on 

A design team and UX round table discussing the latest in Internet design trends. Icons vs text, most popular frameworks, localization and personalization, mobile trends — and more!


  • Dylan Welter (Creative Operations Manager @ Cloudflare)
  • Fallon Blossom (Content Designer - Multimedia @ Cloudflare)

Transcript (Beta)

Hello, hello. Welcome everyone to episode 5 of Cloudflare TV's style guide. With me today are Dylan Welter and Fallon Blossom.

Today we'll be talking about design tools, collaborative tools, really what helps the design teams here at Cloudflare accomplish their work.

Thank you for catching the show. If this is your first time watching style guide, we tend to have informal conversations about the design industry, UX, UI, and working within that field.

If you do have any questions for my panelists today, feel free to email them to livestudio at and then we will address them at the end.

And so with that, I'll hand it over to an introduction to Dylan.

How would you like to introduce yourself? Yeah, absolutely. First time on Cloudflare TV, really excited to be here.

My name is Dylan Welter. I'm on the brand design team.

I joined Cloudflare, you know, about nine months or so ago, and I've been loving it ever since.

I work on the brand design team as the creative operations manager.

And my primary responsibility is handling operations, resource and design program management for the design team.

So overall, I like to kind of tell people my job is to better enable designers to continue designing.


Sounds like good work. And Fallon, would you mind introducing yourself?

Sure. So Fallon Blossom. I'm a multimedia content designer on the product content experience team.

I'm in the Austin office, been at Cloudflare for about a year.

And the core function of my role is to write technical documentation about our products, create graphics to kind of show how the products work, and create product demos and other videos to explain how best to use the products, identify use cases.

And I guess my fun fact, when I first started, I'll share.

So I'm a music encyclopedia that can identify songs and samples pretty quickly.

So I'm good on a trivia team.

So name that tune. If we ever had a Cloudflare TV version of that. If name that tune was a person, if Shazam was a person, it would be me.

I honestly really want to go on that game show.

I'm ready. Awesome. Well, I'll have to get it spun up.

We'll figure it out. So thank you for taking the time. And I know today's topic was around collaborative tools, of which, you know, there are many new ones in the design space.

I'm aware of Figma, some of the mockups, Balsamiq, and the like.

So to kick things off, what kind of tools are you guys working with today on a day to day basis?

Yeah, I can go ahead and dive in on that.

From a brand design perspective, we've streamlined our tool set down to, I would say, kind of a core grouping.

For any of our web and digital oriented projects, we almost exclusively work within Figma, simply because of the, you know, cross team collaboration and the ability for very seamless design to dev handoff.

We also are, you know, operating within Illustrator pretty extensively for things like, you know, icon and illustration development, as well as InDesign for a lot of our printed material.

So I would say from a design tools perspective, those are probably our biggest three.

And for me, on the video side, you know, I'm relying heavily on Premiere and After Effects for the animation and then the video editing stuff.

I don't do much illustrating, but when I do get lovely assets from the brand design team, they're most likely created in Illustrator.

And then when I'm working on graphics for the Help Center, I use Photoshop.

And what are you guys' thoughts about some of the open source or kind of more accessible products that are now out there from the design world?

You know, it's very easy to or it's very difficult to necessarily learn Adobe or some of the tool sets there at the professional level.

Any suggestions on where people might get started?

If you're interested in, you know, kind of self-teaching some of these tools, you know, to your point, the Adobe Suite can be fairly complex.

However, there are a ton of online and free courses that you can take at your own leisure to learn those tools.

There's even a number of very good YouTube channels specifically dedicated to aspects of Adobe Suite that can be very helpful.

And then for some of the more, I would say, kind of modern tools like say, Figma, or some of the Sketch betas, there's a there's a wealth of information on both the, you know, tools, knowledge centers.

And again, you know, a number of free courses you can take.

But those tools specifically, I actually would recommend just diving in and starting to build stuff yourself.

With, you know, how Figma specifically is built.

You know, when I first started evaluating it as a potential tool to bring to the design team at a previous job, you know, first thing I did is just start diving in making boxes.

And it's a surprisingly, surprisingly easy tool to just kind of like figure out at least the baseline on your own.

I think for me, I would have to say, yeah, I think sticking with the Creative Cloud and kind of introducing yourself to the Creative Cloud as soon as possible would be best.

Because at this point, you know, depending on where you're trying to work, most likely, that's where they're going to be using those are the tools, excuse me, that they're going to be using.

On the video side. Also, there's Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro.

And also Avid, if you're really like editing film. But again, like thinking about video content, as far as like tech is concerned.

All those programs work.

Back when I was in education, I actually use Camtasia. If you're just interested in starting to because I mean, the on screen annotations and stuff like that in Camtasia are a lot easier to work with.

And the teachers who I was creating instructional videos for didn't necessarily need the very glossy high brow stuff.

They were okay with a wonky arrow. You know, as long as the core of the content helped them get to where they needed.

If you're just interested in playing around with video and you have a Mac, you have iMovie, it's there.

But if you're trying to do this professionally, I am team Creative Cloud.

Awesome. And of the the tool sets you guys use, what do you see as some of the killer features of those tool sets?

Is it the collaboration? You know, what has been either created in the past few years that you've enjoyed?

Or what would you put on the roadmap for some of these tools that you wish we had?

I would say on my end, some of the things that I value most is the level of collaboration, some of these tools are now bringing to the table.

You know, Adobe and their tools are fantastic, and they're, and they're really good at what they do.

But in my personal opinion, some of the more popular tools that people are using currently, like Sketch or Figma are really coming in and heavily heavily drawing more and more designers to them, I would say specifically due to the, you know, cross functional collaboration that they enable.

It was design within, you know, companies is becoming a larger and larger function, and becoming, you know, something that's more ingrained in, you know, project to project, as a, you know, collaborative process isn't isn't just kept like tightly in the box of, of designers and designers only.

These tools, you know, like Figma are able to really bring non designer stakeholders to the table and allow them to directly get into an art board.

During, you know, a creative review, they can see your cursor as you're indicating, you know, user states or functionality elements, and the ability to also, you know, work closely together as a scrum team in that tool, you know, either asynchronously or side by side is really fantastic.

And that level of collaboration and input goes a long way towards creating a much more well rounded design at the end of the day.

Well, thinking about the video part, the one thing that I have realized, or the tools that I have added to my toolbox, since coming to Cloudflare are tools that are used to work on the video after it's kind of done.

And so things like capling is a browser based tool that I use a lot for captions and accessibility.

And then frame, frameo, frame IO, I don't know if that's the right way to say it.

I think that has to be my newest, my best discovery, because that makes it so much easier to share my video with folks.

So and it allows them to kind of notate specifically on the video on the timeline where they would like to see something changed.

Um, I have actually worked with and taught some of our CSMs a little bit of Premiere since I've been here.

And one thing I would like to see is better functionality with the creative cloud storage piece.

I'm trying to figure that out and sharing files back and forth, especially since they're so large, um, tend to get a little tricky.

However, if I can teach, you know, a CSM how to figure out and how to use it, I would say we're doing pretty good.

I definitely want a second frame IO.

That's been an awesome tool to use. I remember I first started at a creative agency before I moved, you know, client side and some of my first projects were like, adding like timestamps to videos for edits and just like manually going into a Google Doc to punch in like 13.22.16, like, make this, make this a different color, etc.

was miserable. So frame IO has been a really, really great tool to use on any video projects that come through the brand design team.

And, and given kind of the remote world and how distributed most companies are now getting and particularly design teams, is collaboration almost table stakes for many of these tools?

And if not directly in the product, then ease of collaboration, just outside of the product suite?

I would say so. As you know, more and more teams and more and more companies get a bit more regimented around, you know, scalable design systems within their groups, the ability to collaborate as, you know, designers, and, you know, handoff or pass off designs between one another.

And then they build the ability to communicate that through collaboration with your non design counterparts is very important.

And honestly, if I don't really think any, any tool is going to be able to succeed lacking that that level of visibility or collaboration.

Yeah, I mean, I totally agree with that. One thing that I've been neglecting to mention on the content side is that, you know, going from hosting and working in Zendesk, editing our knowledge base articles and HTML to Contempo, the CMS that we're using, speaking in collaboration, it completely changed everything.

Because now, for the first time, we have a team member in another country.

And so now we can see things in real time, update things in real time, see who did it, when.

So if something happened that wasn't supposed to happen, we can always go back and say, Hey, did you mean to do that?

Did you miss something? So yeah, working with tools that ease collaboration, especially when you're so distributed is, yeah, I don't think you should really make a tool without that in mind at this point.

Yeah, what seems interesting is a lot of design practices around code development and versioning are now surfacing in both production level, as well as open source tools outside of the code world for versioning, blaming, you know, being able to get to the root of a change and understand why, why and how, and ultimately be able to correct it accordingly.

There are a few documentation emergencies, though.

So thankfully, it's not like mission critical P zero, like, whoa, you missed a comma.

In some documentation, if you miss the semi colon, sure, your document will still run.

But will the clarity of the message be there? That's, that's what we're really after.

So, as you're looking at tool sets that you're working with, how do you manage or how have you managed in the past, when new employees come on, and maybe they're more familiar with product x or product y, they prefer to use those, and either that's not available, or they love to have it be made available?

How do you kind of discuss those trade offs on, you know, this is the standard suite we use, here's why, and explore that terrain or manage that terrain?

Yeah, that's a great question. And it, it definitely touches on the fact that tools are fantastic.

And there's a million different ones out there.

And at the end of the day, they all do tend to solve for the same, same pain points, more or less.

It's, it's more importantly that you have adoption and educated use of the tool than it is so much as to which specific tool.

And while you know, if we have a new member that joins the team, and always open to learning about, you know, new tools or a different tool than what we may use.

At the, at the end of the day, we want to make sure that as a group, we are all rallying around a, you know, systematized process through our tooling and our design system and whatnot, to be effective.

And, you know, if somebody is, say, uneducated on a particular tool that we use, it's part of the onboarding process to ensure that they get up to speed in what they need to know how and we go through a fairly routine tool review, where we just kind of take a look at what's in our, what's in our suite, what's, you know, working, what isn't working, and kind of flag areas that we, you know, are missing, or we may need to switch off.

And that's those are typically how I prefer handling, you know, changing a tool set, because it has to be done with with meaning.

So you don't end up with, you know, tool overload for too many, too many tools, or you don't end up with like a very fragmented process, where you're using like, you know, three people on the team are using, you know, Figma, two people are using Sketch, and then one person's using Illustrator.

And now you're not able to like transfer files very well. So I would say, being open to new things 100%.

However, you know, being open with with purpose and meaning, and how frequently you review and understanding very clearly, like what your pain points you're trying to solve with tools are.

And, you know, if something legitimately brings value to the table, versus just being, you know, another tool to put on top of the pile.

And then what I guess what I'll say to that is that so the product content experience team is fairly new, we were just kind of developed, designed earlier this year.

And right prior to that, as I said before, we changed content management systems.

So I came into Cloudflare doing one thing to write my content.

And then as I matriculated, things changed.

Um, the way that we handled it as a team, I'm not sure if this is scalable will work for every team.

But once we decided that we had to make a change or that a change was made, and that we needed to work with it, um, we actually kind of co constructed how the migration happened together.

So we had these series of meetings as a team to kind of say, Okay, well, you know, the core component of your average help center article is a teaser is an overview, like we broke each article down into its components, figured out what we could call them in this new system, and then documented that process together.

Again, we're a documentation team.

So this is kind of like in our wheelhouse to do. So I will acknowledge that it's, you know, a special situation.

But if you have the time, if you have the energy, if you have the folks who are willing to do it, actually figuring out what that migration looks like together, actually helps adoption.

And now we have, you know, all of this stuff. And since we were all involved in it, no matter who comes into our team, no matter who they talk to, you know, since most of us were in the room where it happened, we can, you know, give them that context that they may need offer that training, share the documentation, and then make the value proposition about why, you know, we're doing this now.

Yeah, I agree with you, Fallon.

I don't think, you know, you don't need to be a documentation team.

I mean, like, you should never skimp on documentation. That's like, you know, the number one thing you want to ensure you get written and you get uploaded for people to be able to view when you're, you know, bringing on a new tool for both, you know, internal adoption and clarity and also external use of it.

It's, you know, some people may look at it as a bit of a headache. I know I used to, however, the benefits it brings is just huge for being able to onboard somebody new, or to then be able to train, you know, other teams on why you're using that tool, how they're going to benefit from it, etc.

Definitely a big step, I would highly recommend everybody do.

And documentation is always a varied game. And even if you're really good at documentation, depending on how quickly a product moves, it can be out of date, you know, within a few weeks, a few months, and then you're either back to just operationalizing maintenance of that documentation or scorched earth and starting with a net new version.

So that's always a treadmill.

I'll be curious if any future tools find a way to enforce documentation or have it just part of the work stream as you, you know, have to put your comments as to why and what.

I don't know if that'd be more help or harm. So, as you guys were getting started in the design world, what was your first set of tools or what was the first thing in your toolkit that you guys were leveraging?

Let's see.

So I started in high school with video editing. Um, so my high school, Ben Franklin High School in New Orleans, go Falcons.

We had a TV station. And so we produced the news.

Sorry, we produced our announcements like the news. So I got involved then and the video yearbook club, we all use Premiere.

So oddly enough, I've come full circle.

I started off with Premiere. I took detours through Camtasia, Pro Tools.

I even took a technical musicology class in grad school where I had to make soundscapes and mashups.

So I was using Ableton Live. I thought it was a little DJ.

So I've used Fruity Loops. When I started in visual design, actually, when I started trying to play with it.

I was using Canva for quick stuff browser. I know, I know, Chris.

You heard me, Fallon. You heard me. I know. I was a baby designer.

I didn't know any better. Um, But yeah, I started with Adobe and now I'm back.

Back with Adobe. I think my, I want to say Photoshop was my first introduction.

And I think it was, yeah, it was Photoshop in around like around high school towards the end of high school.

And like it was specifically learned so I could Photoshop stuff out of photos and like doctor imagery.

Which then ultimately led me to kind of my interest in design, you know, further down through college.

And so yeah, it was similar.

Adobe was kind of my entryway. But I will say just with the type of design that I was primarily interested in.

I moved out of Adobe relatively quickly and started using Sketch for most of my work before then transitioning from Sketch to Figma.

So those are probably the two that I'm most familiar with.

A lot of my Adobe's I would say gotten a bit rusty since, but that was kind of where I got my start.

Interesting. I actually have some of my first kind of web design and graphic design work was in Microsoft Image Composer.

So it's like one step above paint in some ways and like partially on the way to Photoshop, but it was an interesting tool set just to, you know, be able to create stuff on the computer and create web designs and graphics.

And what would your advice be for someone starting out today is, again, is it just hit the Adobe suite or is, would there be something else that would really give someone a leg up in the design world today.

I don't think you could go wrong trying to sit down and learn, you know, the fundamental programs of Adobe.

I think as somebody that's trying to start today.

My first question to them would be, you know, what type of design are you most interested in because I personally feel as design has evolved over the years, designers have now I would probably specialized would be the right word.

Whereas instead of just being like, I'm a graphic designer.

Now, now you have very, very specific design roles and design functions within companies and, you know, a Web, a digital designer would, you know, utilize different tools and design methodologies and say a print or production designer.

Same goes for, you know, a UX designer.

So kind of identifying within yourself. Like what, what am I passionate about if, you know, I want to start a career in web design and You know, winning awards for some like crazy awesome, you know, web design, then I would probably recommend, you know, something like Figma over learning say in design.

But, you know, finding what type of design calls to you and then learning that most applicable tool to start would be probably my recommendation.

Plus 1000. Um, but if you are going to do video like if you if you do that soul searching and you say, okay, videos, my thing.

Um, I would say Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro depending on what industry, you're doing video in Oh, and I do want to amend my last answer definitely Ms paint because you remind me about my MySpace page.

Where we were all baby coders and we were, you know, trying to make our face look good.

I just stole other pages CSS layouts. I was, I was more on the engineer track.

So I was in geo cities, you know, working on HTML and and starting on the flash, you know, getting way too hard far into flash video and realizing that that took forever to load on, you know, dial a modem back in the day.

Watching videos on real player.

Yeah, we're gonna go down a nostalgic route here.

I'm showing my age. That's what I'm doing.

So with that in mind, feel free to email the panelists. Any questions you might have about the design of design tooling.

Once again, just live studio at or if you want to ask, you know, jump on the nostalgia train and tell us what your favorite tool back in the day was for web and graphic and video design, that'd be great.

And with that in mind, maybe shift gears a little bit outside of the content creation itself.

There are now a wide range of tools meant to help distributed teams, you know, work more effectively.

This is your project management project planning and just day to day workflow type tools.

What, what kind of, you know, meta tools are you guys working with at Cloudflare and how does that affect your day to day.

From, from a non design tooling standpoint, you know, the flip side of our coin.

We're, we're relying on, you know, Atlassian's products, Jira, Confluence, and then Asana, probably those are the three big ones.

You know, because Confluence, you know, Cloudflare as a company has most of their stuff up on their wiki and a great place as Fallon mentioned to stand up a new tool, document your process, your governance, your guidelines around it so everybody has access.

You know, Jira is how we keep track of all of our, you know, design projects within our, our weekly sprints and, you know, we've shifted towards a more agile design system.

And Asana is a great tool for just us as a team to kind of keep track of not not necessarily project related material, but You know, team related things like it's a fantastic tool to use for, you know, project roadmap planning as a group or team meetings and topics and discussion points, etc.

So those are just some of the big ones we really like to use And I think that's off the top of my head, what we're using right now.

Um, and obviously we use the same, same company.

But in thinking about like my pre Cloudflare life, a couple of things that I used to use.

Actually, this came up when I was in support when support does retro they use Trello Um, as a product management tool.

I've used Asana, um, back when I was at Harvard and also Basecamp.

Back when I was working on redesigning websites and working with other teams and different departments at Harvard to do that we use Basecamp and I like that.

So that was a pretty good experience because you can pretty much put everything in there.

You could, you know, load documents, you could send messages back and forth.

You can have specific threads and everything's there.

And similar to the kind of the first line of questioning.

Is there anything you would add to the wish list or the roadmap of these products or Is there anything that is table stakes and any kind of project management software moving forward just absolutely has to have feature x or feature y Well, one thing the design team is trying to get right now is a dedicated prototyping tool.

It's something that I feel like we're starting as a design function to need to be able to provide, you know, semi functional or fully functional prototypes for some of our larger projects and We're, we're running into some tooling limitations with Figma, just because I don't know necessarily Figma was, you know, built specifically for these large scale functional prototyping Needs.

And so we've been, you know, looking into what would best suit us in that regard.

And in the past I've used principle and absolutely loved it. But, you know, there's a couple other options that we've been taking a look at, like, you know, origami, for instance, and that's something I think would be a great to have on our end that we're hopefully fingers crossed going to be, you know, looking to get And then On from like my, my perspective, I would love to be able to have a, you know, more detailed capacity, you know, tool more detailed capacity tracking tool to better keep track of You know quarterly resources from the team members sprint over sprint since right now I'm just kind of manually doing it in a Google spreadsheet.

Literally made a call to the designers today be like, can you send me your availabilities, your out of office, you know, calendar availability, so I can like better, better plan your, your hour capacity and it would be nice to have something to automate that Agree.

Well, and for us like calendaring because for for for my team specifically a lot of our content is driven by what products are shipping and what product features are changing.

And so trying to figure out a way to make Jira work for tracking that type of information that is like specifically linked to dates has been a little tough to figure out So I would also say something like a calendar and like mapping content to a calendar in the same place where we track what content project we're working on versus Something together will be really, really nice.

Interesting, and especially as Noting kind of resource constraints, especially capacity planning, you know, how do we know based off of a changing product, how much design content and we'll need to change and ultimately managing headcount on that side becomes its own Design nightmare zone nightmare.

I was going to jokingly interjective we for this prototyping product.

We weren't able to build a worker to do it.

That's always seemingly the answer here. Yeah, it is serverless week.

That's true. We get some time on on some of the sprint cycles. Maybe we could Next, you know, next, next one.

Next episode of style guide will turn into a hackathon.

We'll just work on that will be fine. When in doubt, build a worker.

Yep. Maybe it'll work. So in terms of design tooling. We've talked about the toolkit for creating content and kind of where to start and what we've enjoyed.

We've talked about some of the meta tooling around project management.

What do you see as kind of the, the future of design tooling. Is it just more more collaboration more commenting documentation.

Is it in wrapping making it easier to do design work passing files back and forth, or being able to have it attached to a calendar and all in one spot.

What, what trends do you see there.

You know, it was interesting because I could be totally wrong with this people maybe like timing and saying, you know, you're totally off base, but I feel like, you know, you had a very large You know, Adobe had a very large design market share in terms of What which designers were using it and what they're using it for.

And it almost felt like Tools started to become very niche and very wide widespread like you started to split out and say, well, I use this tool specifically for my my web designs.

I use this tool specifically for this and and I use that tool specifically for that.

And what I've actually started to see now is kind of a converging of these tools where you have, you know, like sketch introducing number of new features and functionality to their tool to almost become like in Adobe Creative Cloud type offering Thing was doing the same in visions been doing it for a while now to as well, bringing the kind of Whole perspective of, you know, design system into a single tool, you know, the thing you can use to design with the thing you can use to To document and store your components, your libraries, the things you can use to prototype with and and that to me is kind of what I've been seeing trending recently.

So from a future perspective, I wouldn't be surprised if you know you start seeing a lot of these companies trying to bring more and more More and more like design services in house, almost to the point where we've circled back to like, oh, it's the figma creative cloud, if you will, that that's just to me just seems like what I've been noticing most Well, and if they want to edge Adobe out they ought to Just from a competitive lens perspective.

The other thing that I don't know if this is going to happen again.

I'll just disclaim this that I could be wrong, but what I would love to see more design apps for mobile Because I think that, you know, when you're thinking about video stuff like Your phone is a camera and people are shooting whole films and like huge beautiful pieces of content using their cell phones, especially the cell phones, you know, the technology and the cameras that they put in the cell phones get better.

I think that's probably what you're going to see more of just like better mobile versions of your desktop apps.

And if not, they should make them better because more people are making content on the go now.

And given the fact that, you know, even if we had a beautiful studio at the Cloudflare office.

I couldn't access it right now. So I'm stuck with what I have in my house.

So, I mean, granted, I have cameras. I have like I got green screens upstairs, but, um, you know, your average content creator.

It's a lot more run and gun.

And people being able to kind of make things quickly. I think, you know, is going to require apps to have a mobile presence and have a really good functioning mobile version.

That's an interesting kind of comment or recognition that more people are ingesting content via their mobile device.

In terms of content creation, that seems a more common platform.

Do you think that's either primarily been ignored in current tooling or we just haven't reached that point where it's a top consideration, not only I remember in the early web design days of just making sure you had a responsive UI for various resolutions.

And that just kind of extended into then responsiveness for mobile devices versus desktop is are the design tools now catching up to that precedent of seeing more mobile devices being used to access content.

I would say, yeah, because again, like back when I was in high school using Adobe stuff like well again showing my age.

I didn't get my first cell phone until I was a junior.

And that was roughly around the same time that I started playing around with video.

So, and my cell phone was a brick. The Sony Ericsson silver joint with a big antenna.

That was my first cell phone. So I had to program my first ringtone like by playing the little keyboard on the phone.

Back in my day we just downloaded those.

Those were Again, my first ringtone was salt and pepper. Push it.

You know, classic rock. Um, but yeah, because again, you know, my iPhone 10 can shoot almost the same level I can shoot in high definition.

I can grab my mock three and have the same quality.

I can bring that into Premiere and still have it looks no different.

So yeah, I really do. I think they should if they haven't already started doing that.

It will be an oversight. I think one of the things that from like a physical tooling perspective.

I love is I don't know if I can foresee, you know, somebody being able to like say design a landing page on their, you know, their phone through like a like a Figma web app or You know, anything like that.

But some of the things that I do really like seeing are actually coming out of Microsoft with their like surface studios and incorporating you know physical tools alongside of their, you know, their, their digital software.

With to be able to, you know, actually turn the device you're designing on into a near physical canvas and some of the puck that they have for being able to like adjust color gradients and all different kinds of stuff.

I think is really, really interesting.

And, you know, from the physical side of the software. I think there's a lot of room to innovate and Do some really cool stuff that from a design perspective could be very useful.

So seeing that, you know, out of Microsoft, of all people is pretty cool.

Pretty interesting. And that also makes. Oh, sorry.

No, that that made me think about That actually made me think about the other things that you need to shoot video that are that have been innovated.

So, for example, lighting.

Right. My studio lights upstairs are huge and I could not bring them anywhere.

But right now I'm talking to y'all with a loom cube snapped to the back of my laptop.

And I think I'm nicely lit. I have no lights on. I'm sitting in the dark and I've been testing out this little loom cube thing and That didn't exist before either.

I have this beautiful LED light, I can change the percentage of the light that's showing I have control over the degrees Kelvin.

I can go from 3200 all the way up to 5600 just by tapping a button that absolutely did not exist back in my day.

Um, so again, having modular hardware tools to help facilitate content creation, I would say we're already in that wave and there's probably going to be more of it.

I mean, is that something that's been seen more generally just the modular ization of design tools that are making it easier to plug things in plug or extend And you don't necessarily need now a full studio or full Adobe suite to accomplish, you know, creative tasks or project management tasks.

I think I'm just looking for a yes.

Yeah. The so to add on to the some of the like tooling trends and what one thing I have seen is there's been a lot of it seems like there's been a recent increase in the The tools that like tools that are made, you know, you're not a designer, but you can design something like a designer tools cough can look off not Not to bash anybody that uses But I do think that there has been a rise in some of these things that I think are a bit deceptive in their nature.

They again have time and place and can create some fantastic work through it, but I think oftentimes can be misconstrued as a replacement for an entire design function, which, you know, which it's not and Can actually do a bit more harm than good internally if you know it leads to, you know, widespread bifurcation from design of design process within a company and so you Being careful with the self enablement and self creation tools that are utilized is important and Making sure that you know the, you know, design functionality from a base point stems from, you know, your design design team, rather than trying to, you know, off road, so to speak, and bring some in yourself because it, it can have Tricky ramifications down the line.

Yeah, the rules of like when you're a solo designer kind of doing your own thing versus when you're dividing in a system totally different when you're in a system, you have to follow the system like I know you might not love it doesn't matter.

You can do your side project. So when you're at a company doing something for an established brand.

You become a creative to fight the man, you know, for self expression, not to Not a nine to five job.

Always do side stuff.

I'm not, you know, I said stuff like if I really need to kind of get an idea.

I can just make it. That's the beauty of design like it's an empowering thing.

If you dream it, you can make it as a designer, but when you're doing it for work.

And with that in mind, would you generously. It's now easier to get into the design world and create content as you mentioned, just being able to buy a An extended light source, you know, even much of the live streamers out there today, the YouTube stars.

We're now reaching that generation. Those on Cloudflare TV production of content and you know decently produced content with high enough production values and content.

Quality is now, would you say that's easier and easier.

And do you see that continuing down that path. And if so, is that good, bad.

Is that making it more accessible. I would say it's, it's, you know, easier than ever to Enter the design industry because I think, you know, just as a whole, collectively, especially in an area like you know the bay or some of the more like tech oriented companies tech oriented cities.

I think companies are really, really starting to Recognize and latch on to the benefit that design brings not just from a like, well, you make us look good on a website or are, you know, you know, marketing emails, but Actually recognizing the benefit benefit from, you know, a business value, you know, a data point of measurable value that it's it's led to just a big boom in the In the desire for, you know, talented designers and that's been led to a lot of different, you know, design verticals opening up from I want to be a brand systems designer.

I want to be a product designer focusing on, you know, UX or I want to be An illustrator doing like brand illustrations.

There's just a number of different areas that you can now enter the space and it's it's really starting to mature and you know you can see that through a number of companies like Google, Facebook, Nike, and all them who have now just these massive Design departments in and of themselves with multiple teams and roles and responsibilities.

So there's there's tons of opportunity there and it's a, I think it's a fantastic space to be in where we're at right now.

Yeah, I would, I would have to agree with that, too, because that's the thing.

It's like, you know, I'm always a customer.

No, I'm I'm really an instructional designer that decides to use video as my chosen mode of instruction.

You know, I came to conflict from education and I absolutely believe that the more we educate our users and customers about our product.

The more customers, we will have. And, you know, the better our product will do.

Um, so the fact that I as an instructional designer could come to Coffler and say, hey, I have these skills that y'all need to, you know, that you could use For your work.

I don't know if that would have always been possible because I know instructional design as a field is fairly new.

I came to it, you know, later on in my career.

I had the video stuff, but then the video plus the instructional design stuff is what got me here.

Um, so I would absolutely say that the barrier for entry is way, you know, it's lowered, which I think is great.

Because it will introduce diversity, it will help equity, it will help inclusion.

You can do this from anywhere. You just have to have certain tools which as we discussed a lot easier to buy A lot more modular.

I mean, you can use your cell phone, you can grab a GoPro, you can have your cell phone as a light using your GoPro.

You can pull all these things together. You can buy a podcasting startup kit.

Now, that didn't exist before. Podcasts weren't even a thing before, you know, so Now everyone has a podcast.

Everybody You guys want to plug your podcast?

I don't have one, but I did listen to Michelle Obama's podcast today, which is great.

Yeah, so I think, you know, the opportunities are endless.

The potential is endless.

Um, however, you know, as with any market that's oversaturated That means it's also harder to be the best.

So you can get in. You still have to be good to stay in, which means you have to keep working at it.

And go to school and get training.

And, you know, you can't forget the fundamentals. Can't forget that. Yeah. And on that note too, it's really important within, as it is in all spaces, but within, you know, The design environment specifically.

It's really important to try to stay, you know, on top of your game, so to speak.

With, you know, the rapid innovation in, you know, product design and software and things like that.

You know, there's an ever changing library of, you know, terminology, theory, systems that can feel a little overwhelming at times, but it is, you know, it's moving fast and it's growing big, but that also means that you need to be able to adopt new tools, new systems, new methodologies, and, you know, be aware of design trends and, you know, how to best make sure you aren't stuck still designing something in like a skeuomorphic style when the world's 10 years past moved on that.

Yeah, but then you're retro and you're just, you know, it's a callback.

If you wait long enough, you'll be ahead of the game.

Yeah, exactly. What is it like every 20-25 years?

Like designer threads, yeah. Oh, is it 90s material, like late 80s, 90s is starting to come back in style?

Hey, that was my, I was there. I'm ready. And to that point, would you recommend, you know, jumping into the design world is more about knowing the fundamentals and adaptability than any one tool or any one tool set, you know, ruling your career?

I think, again, a tool is just, you know, something you're using to bring your creativity, to bring your solution to life.

And, you know, whether you use tool A, B, C, or D, you know, it really comes down to like you as an individual, your creativity, your skill, your talent.

So I would say as long as you have that creativity and that talent, you know, no matter what tool you use, you'll be able to make it shine.

It just might, it might feel a little bit more painful getting that final file out using one tool over the other.

But, you know, it's not indicative of. I mean, if anything, you wouldn't know until you use the alternative tool.

So until you're like, man, you didn't know what the hard parts were, the things that were made easier.

And so ignorance can be bliss sometimes.

Yeah. I would add curiosity to that, because, I mean, if you're always curious, and if you remember that thing that sparked your interest for design, and you kind of stick with that, and you hold that, and you can like keep that with you, then I think the rest of the stuff will flow.

So if you're curious and you're excited about what you're doing, then you will ask questions, your creativity will blossom.

No pun intended. You know, you will, you will figure out a way to make things work.

You know, you will figure out the new tool because you just love design and you really just want to make the best video, you want to write the best thing.

So, you know, you'll just do whatever you need to do to make it happen.

So like I will definitely double click on the, it's more you, your perspective, your grit.

In my case, it's a grit. Curiosity, creativity, and adaptability and being flexible.

And knowing when to kind of take your lens off and put someone else's lens on.

Because like I said, you know, if you're always designing for yourself, you should probably start your own company.

If you can't put on different perspectives, you know, you can't design with empathy, meet people where they are.

You know, if you can't be a little bit of a marketer or salesperson to kind of get them excited about your vision, it's going to be a little difficult to be successful within a system.

You can be successful absolutely on your own, but, you know, thinking about systems versus just individual, it will take different skill sets.

So being clear on your personal why and your personal motivation is going to be important for any design career.

So the tools you needed were inside your heart, you know, this entire time.

Yes. That's what I'm hearing. To round out the designer's tool set.

At the end of the day, whatever tool you use, just make sure you're not using layers and you only have one save.

That made me feel very Captain Planet.

No, I remember in my early like Photoshop days of when I was learning that lesson the hard way.

And of course, like saving every five minutes and having like version one or version three.

Because of course, the snapshots only went back so far, the memory was only so good.

And so, of course, I've got like I think I still have an old hard drive that has 15 versions and anytime I made a major design, you know, fork.

I was like, okay, yeah, let's save a new copy. I kind of like what I'm doing here.

Yeah, I will duplicate whole sequences, depending on what I'm doing. Like if I'm like three edits in and people are still asking me to change stuff.

I'm like, all right.

I'm going to move you over here and kind of use you as my sandbox.

So save, save often, no matter what tools you're working with. External hard drives are your friend.

Oh my god, I lost my senior project in the middle of doing it and I almost died.

All right.

With that in mind, we're near the end of time. Again, if you'd like to reach out with questions, you can do so live studio at As we near the end of the show.

Do you guys have any thoughts or anything to add on, you know, your, your, the tools you would bring to a deserted island to still try to accomplish your job or Anything else, open, open mic.

If you guys have anything else you want to add I would probably have to say from a PM standpoint.

JIRA And then from a design standpoint.

It'd be tossed out between Figma or Illustrator probably leaning towards Figma, but yeah.

That's hard.

Like, does my, does my camera count as a tool like I have, I have like a lot of clarifying questions like If you're live streaming Deserted Island.

It has Wi Fi and we'll see All right.

I'm like, wait, I need to, I need more, more context. Local copy of JIRA is not going to do you any good, Mike.

Is it JIRA Cloud or is it on prem JIRA?

That's going to make a big difference. We'll assume Cloud. Okay, then I'll take that.

Yeah. I think I need Premiere. I need Premiere and my cell phone.

Oh, and some type of microphone, because that's the thing. People forget about audio.

Audio is super important. I need a decent microphone. I can plug into my cell phone, but I will use the camera and I will use Premiere to figure out the editing.

All right, so we'll MacGyver the instructional videos on how to open up coconuts and Yes, build a boat and a safety fire and How to fashion a sarong out of palm leaves.

All right, with.

So with that in mind, let me check for questions real quick. So far I nothing on the queue.

So with that, I can always give a thanks and shout out to my panelists Fallon and Dylan.

Thank you for For taking the time and walking through design tooling and aspects with us.

Want to thank the audience for for tuning in, either if you're jumping in live or catching one of the recordings.

And with that, we can probably close out this style guide.

Awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

It's been a blast. It was great talking with y'all. All right. Thank you both.

Everyone have a great afternoon, evening or morning. And.


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