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From ice cream parlours to service patterns - our October design team day

Group photo of our design team

by Dafydd Singleton

Dafydd shares his experiences of our most recent team day

I’m Daf. I’m new here. Hello 👋

When you start a new job, you can spend hours flicking through bottomless Miro boards and slide decks. It’s ok, but it has its limitations. Designers like to do things, to make things, get involved and get together. So I was very happy when an invitation for our latest Design team day dropped into my calendar. 

A chance for me to meet my fellow designers in person? Tick. Wear my ‘I’m a designer’ clobber? Yussir. Trip from Manchester to swanky London? Ahh, g’wan then.

I’ve just come from the retail sector, which was a super-fast ‘ship-it-and-learn culture’. Lots of data, quick decisions and bold leaps forward. And TPXimpact? I joined because I believe in the company values, and wanted the chance to do meaningful work. But I was curious to see how design shapes up at a consultancy. 

My hot take? There’s a very good design culture at TPXimpact.

Our design team watching a presentation at the away day

Firstly, there are almost 120 designers at TPX – wow! Interaction designers, content designers, service designers and design researchers. So many people to learn from, and so many different design projects.

What I learned from the team day

Here are six things I learned from the lightning talks and project shares at our team day.

  • Working in Beta

I got tips and tricks for working in Beta from the NHS Volunteering team. How to design for inclusion, simplify complex organisation structures and make handovers meaningful 

  • Service patterns

Can replicable, modular approaches be used to shape services from start to finish? Spoiler alert: Yes. Service patterns are a thing

  • Design systems

I learned what a good design system looks like, and how the team created consistency, supported new designers and built design capability at the Parliamentary Digital Service

  • Design Academy

How we got career pivoters and early career designers to join our ace new Design Academy. I’ll be honest with you. I’ve met some of the designers in the Academy and they are impressive. Loads of enthusiasm and new ideas 

  • The importance of different skills and perspectives

One of the great things about design here is the different skills, experiences and perspectives. The design team days  are useful because they bring us all together. We can mingle thoughts, approaches and ideas in a safe, inclusive space

  • How the Design team works

We’re a big team. And that’s amazing. But with that comes some challenges. We’re spread out across the UK, and working on varied programmes of work. Chief Designer Ben Holliday told us to constantly ask for help, share work and use feedback. This approach is crucial to help us improve our work, and work even better together

A map showing where all the designers are in the UK

Some of the fun stuff

You can’t have a design team day without a bit of fun can you?  

We designed the worst possible ice cream parlour experience (it involved smelly boots and bees – don’t ask). We were also asked ‘which TV family would you like to be part of?’ (my answer: Only Fools and Horses – again, don’t ask).

It was a fantastic way to get to know my new colleagues. If you’re a designer, there’s a lot to like at TPXimpact. 

Dafydd Singleton's avatar

Dafydd Singleton

Content Design Lead

Dafydd is interested in design, research and culture. He lives in Manchester and is always up for a chat about how content fits into the design of services.

Contact Dafydd

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