#60 The Common Good Designer

Interview number 60! That’s fun! Of course, it’s my dear friend Aimee Tasker! I first met Aimee when I moved to Manchester in 2016. We are opposites in many ways but we share a strong passion for purposeful design and diversity. I’m very lucky to call Aimee my friend and I’m delighted to have an excuse to amplify her story and her thoughtfulness.

Aimee works at Common Good - a strategic design agency based in Manchester, where she works with businesses and organisations that have a strong sense of purpose and values. Here’s what she’s got to say…

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?

Trust is vital.

Trust the people around you, make sure the people you work with are aligned and have the same vision. Toxic behaviour can be difficult to spot when you’re in the middle of it, if someone has a different vision, they’re on the wrong team.

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Trust your purpose. I’m a very values-driven person. I believe that understanding your own values helps to understand yourself and others a little better. When it comes to working, I am passionate about working in a company and with customers that align to my values (and ultimately, I align to theirs). I must remember that believing in what I’m doing makes me feel more connected and purposeful.

Trust the process. Working in design it’s easy to forget the speed of the industry we work in. I feel that everyone, no matter their level of seniority, suffers from some form of imposter syndrome. We question what we’re doing and how we’re doing it - it’s what we do for customers and it facilitates our curiosity. Sometimes you just need to accept that there will be foggy moments, irrational anxiety and plenty of challenges.

What’s your burning question of the moment?

Why do so many people still suffer with mental health in silence? And how can we help support people through the design of better services and products for them? That’s two questions, I like to push boundaries...

It’s great to see businesses like Monzo doing great work to design with mental health in mind and offering voluntary disclosure for support - something really important when dealing with mental health and finances. There are huge number of self-care apps available and I love the design of Headspace which supports users with a calm and simple experiences to providing meditation services.

Writing with mental health in mind talks about ensuring all services are accessible for people with mental health conditions and not encouraging further increased feelings of anxiety. People are anxious enough when dealing with serious matters, let’s make their lives a little nicer with the products and services they use.

What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?

I love toolkits to help people create better things. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the lovely Phil Hesketh on starting to bring Ethics Kit to life, it’s a platform of methods and tools for teams to include ethics in their design processes.

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I really believe in making the right things and making things in the right way. Sometimes ethics can be misunderstood, or simply forgotten about, but there is a real need to make sure research and design is done ethically within organisations.

It’s exciting to be part of a project that hopefully will have an impact on designing for good, and help designers make decisions in the best interest of users  for ethically sound change.

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What would be your one piece of advice to students out there?

I would love to see more collaborative, empathetic, strategic, ethical designers making great products and services. My advice encompasses a bit of all this….

Do good work, be purposeful.

Get paid, be profitable.

Build for people, change systems and societies.

Get rid of your ego, check in with yourself and others.

Planning is useful, have goals and measure them.

Share and learn, learn and share.

Make ideas real, and have kind people around you.

And importantly, remember to look inwards and explore your values; then change the world according to them.

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You can read the rest of the profiles here. If you’d like to nominate someone to be part of this interview series please tweet me @redjotter

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