is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Internal design groups often have the challenge of explaining not just the value but the fundamentals of their contributions to the company. This is true even at a design-rich organization like Adobe, where the design teams for two younger businesses—Document Cloud, based on our PDF and e-signature products, and Experience Cloud (née Marketing Cloud), based on our adtech products—often compete for visibility with the longstanding Creative Cloud team.
I was struck by the ingenuity of the latter though, when they produced this Adobe Design Marketing Cloud Biennial Report. It’s a beautiful, limited edition, hardbound compendium of the group’s work, processes and staff, written for an audience of internal stakeholders to augment their understanding of and appreciation for the work that that design team does.
The report was conceived, designed and produced entirely by the same designers who work on the division’s products—usually on top of fulfilling those full-time responsibilities. As such, it’s an impressive labor of love, but the physical thingness of it deserves commendation too—especially inside a software company, where most of us don’t even know how to work the printers, much less where they’re located. By forging a finely crafted object that has real weight, that can be presented by hand, that reveals a tactile and emotional narrative with every page turn, the design team’s story is amplified in a way that a digital presentation couldn’t have achieved.
Even if I didn’t work at Adobe (and to be clear, I contributed nothing to this project) I would be impressed by this effort. It takes skills that are unique to designers—the ability to tell a story in a powerfully visual, immersive way, and to package it in an unexpectedly delightful experience—and puts them in service of making the case for design itself. If you work on a design team that you believe could be leveled up internally, this is a worthwhile strategy to emulate.
See more details from the project at behance.net.+