— A bumpy start then... after committing to myself that I'll start blogging weekly, I completely forgot about it seven days later. Rocky starts are the best starts though, right?

— The last two weeks have been lots of planning. There's been planning for work, where a second half of the year strategy is now due, including how we follow up on DesignOps Island Discs, as well as planning for Brutalligators (my band), as our first proper music since 2019 (covers and Christmas songs don't count). As part of this, I've been flexing my design and illustration muscles and creating way too many concepts that will likely never be used. My current favourite (aside from the one we went for) is below...

— We had another great, albeit poorly attended, Clubhouse on Wednesday (it happens every Wednesday at midday. Follow me to be notified when it happens). This time it was around what makes a good first Head of Design, and how it's different to being a HoD in an established place. In particular, there was an interesting discussion about leading on craft vs being completely management focussed. I've always assumed that Design Managers are now relatively common in 4+ designer design orgs, but it sounds like that may not be the case. So going from a role where you are a creative contributor, to a role where that isn't necessarily expected can be jarring for both the business and the designer stepping up.

— On design things, there was a great article written last week by Nathan Curtis about setting up your design system component workspace so it follows the API design of what will make it into code. It's an amazingly nerdy piece, but I feel there's something missing in the expectation that all designers should understand system design. Anyway, I tweeted about it, so if you want to argue with me go and do it there.

— Say Anything's 2005 classic ...Is A Real Boy has soundtracked most of the last two weeks, but late last week's weather was completely overtaken by German duo Mar Malade. It's like if The Cat Empire and Vampire Weekend had a bastard poppy lovechild and is perfect for sticky hot days.

— Finally, my amazing partner has just launched her website as a freelancer. After spending the last three years finishing off her degree while holding down a full-time job looking after three kids, she's now tackling a new challenge and starting up a creative business doing illustration, design and just about anything else that falls under the creative umbrella. Her website is over here, but her instagram is where most of the action takes place, so go and give her a follow.

Scrapped illustration for a Brutalligators album - a person sits on a crumpled couch covered in a sheet with light pouring through the window
Sad illustrations in pink are where all the cool kids are hanging out