Tacos by design? tacobell.design!

The “about” page on the fabulously bright new tacobell.design site

The “about” page on the fabulously bright new tacobell.design site

Taco Tuesday? Why wait?! Finding tacobell.design today, Friday, is like divine intervention. Yes, yes, I will spend some time this afternoon looking at glossy Mexican food photos and dreaming of Miami.

The new site, tacobell.design, is unabashedly fun. It makes me think of Miami because the bright, tropical color scheme on the “about” page is beyond captivating. While there are now many brand names using .design sites to show off their design department, I can’t think of another example where I imagine the entire department working out of the corner booth surrounded by margaritas. They look fun, cool, and creative. Wait, do they serve margaritas at Taco Bell?

Taco Bell Design’s Instagram feed as integrated on the tacobell.design site

Taco Bell Design’s Instagram feed as integrated on the tacobell.design site

The strategy beyond the site is probably supposed to be fun too! Don’t forget that this is a trail-blazing brand that is famous for its social presence and its marketing campaigns. It is also the only .design brand site that I can think of that calls out its Instagram presence in a major way (most other .design brands link to Twitter, which now that I think of it, isn’t a good match since Instagram is a far more creative, graphic, and engaging medium especially for the target audience, designers).

The site looks simple at first glance, but clearly professional. Besides the amazing, personal photography of the design team members, the integrated Instagram feed shows off curated and casual shots alike, but even the latter are effortlessly stylized. Stop bad-mouthing millennials, they make this professional, creative branding look easy.

Still from the “2016 Rebrand” case study on tacobell.design

Still from the “2016 Rebrand” case study on tacobell.design

However, digging beyond the three main pages of the site (“Work”, “Play”, “About”), we see that the Work page is actually very in depth. Each tile image opens up an entire case-study of the initiative. We can click to open up a break-down of the 2016 rebrand effort, individual marketing campaigns, their Instagram strategy, and more. It’s the type of thorough branding and studied, creative dedication that many aspiring designers dream of. I have to assume that this new venue allows them to enter the field of brands looking to compete for and recruit top design talent by showing off their work. Still, in a typically impressive way, Taco Bell manages to make it all look so fun and free-wheeling. They’ll let facebook.design and uber.design compete for the same talent and instead focus on finding the “weirdos and rebels,” as they call themselves.

spotify.design, recruiting designers through content marketing

The new homepage to spotify.design

The new homepage to spotify.design

If you follow this blog or the trend of major companies using .design domain names, you know the strategic answer why: Major brands, especially tech companies, are using .design to create content marketing destinations that highlight their internal projects, goals, and culture in an effort to further bolster recruiting within the competitive fields of UX, web, and graphic design.

The newest site to crop up on our radar, spotify.design, is no different. They have a clear "Join Us!”call to action.

What’s so exciting about spotify.design is that it emerged with such a rich library of diverse content, after the domain merely redirected to the Spotify Design’s Twitter account for possibly a year or longer. The fact that the Spotify Design team was using Twitter for so long is an interesting point. Many people and projects defer on ever getting a website and are able to make a business or create community through social media. However, we know that the ability to add and curate a website means that spotify.design is a more strategic and shared endeavor. It allows for more contributors, more disparate content such as the “Events” tab, as well as the subscription to their newsletter and the invitation to apply for their open positions.

I also note that their “Join Us” tab refers to an entirely separate site, spotifyjobs.com, with a filter applied to show design-centric jobs. This is also interesting because it implies to me that the jobs site alone is not enough content and context for the design team. They want to show off what they do, who they are, and recruit like-minded teammates. The jobs site may suffice for other departments and the company as a whole, but clearly the Spotify Design team is a dynamic and collaborative bunch that deserves to be seen as a unique group within Spotify.

We're super thrilled at each new major brand that recognizes the strategic value in starting a site on .design to target designers. Of course the over two dozen name brands using .design in this way are not the typical use case. The average .design user is a freelancer or small design team. It is often a newer company in the graphic, web, or UX design space, and it is thanks to their enthusiastic adoption of .design that the brands have realized it is a place they also need to be.

indeed.design - a hiring manifesto

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If there was any company that shouldn’t need help hiring, it would be Indeed, the operator of the popular job site indeed.com. They claim to be the #1 job site in the world, with 200M unique monthly visitors. We know from experience that they do a good job sending traffic and talent to open job postings.

Still, even Indeed is competing for top-talent. As we’ve documented frequently on our blog, many of the top tech companies are all competing for the same designers. So even though Facebook, Uber, Amazon and Indeed may all have very different businesses, they are interested in the same possible applicants. All of them have content marketing and recruiting sites aimed at designers on their .design name, including indeed.design.

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While the site does not feature the same robust content as other .design sites, such as the video content on amazon.design, or the depth of content found on facebook.design, it is a clear design-first manifesto. A quote from  Indeed President, Chris Hyams, seems to underscore that, while the company did not start out at a design-led company, that their design-centric strategy has reoriented the business and “there is no going back.”

They go on to list out how the design team is changing and leading the company:

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So while the site may be sparse they have good reason. The site basically says, “we’re busy building. Come join us.” So they are effectively able to jump into the competition against sites like facebook.design, airbnb.design and others without dedicating the same amount of content resources. They know a hiring and recruiting trend when they see one and so Indeed jumped on at the right time and in their own way. We’re excited to see the public releases of what these new design teams are working on at Indeed.

Top Tips to Ace your Digital Design Portfolio

This blog post is written by our friend Samantha Lloyd at Hover.

You’ve worked hard to establish yourself in your professional field. You are rarely spotted without your beautiful, physical portfolio full of pieces and brands you’ve created from scratch and the story behind each. You know that you could expand your reach if you could send your entire portfolio with a click of a button. It’s time to create your portfolio website so that you can show off your history of design work with ease. Hover is here with a few tips to find the perfect domain name that’ll speak to your brand and your creations.

Your domain name is the jumping off point for your entire brand. You share your domain name on your business cards, your social media profiles, and with every person you connect with professionally. When you have an interesting domain name it strikes up conversation and creates memorability. But - with so many domain options out there, which one is the best for you? It depends on what you do, but we have a couple favorites for designers.

First, you need to choose a name. It can be your brand name, your company’s name, or your personal name. It depends how you have structured your business and how you want to push your brand forth online. Many people are synonymous with their brand, whereas others like to handle their company from behind the scenes. You need to select the route that suits you best to find the perfect name for your company.

After you’ve chosen your name, you need to find an extension. It’s true that you won’t always find the domain name you originally had in mind. With domain registrations increasing each year, there are billions of names that are already taken - but also many more that are not. Using new or unique extensions gives you a better chance of scoring that exact company or brand name you wanted in a domain.

To get you started:

Do you Design in Digital?

If you design in digital - be it through Autocad, Adobe Suite, or any number of programs - it’s important to highlight the work you do. The .DESIGN domain speaks to your design capabilities across all mediums. Use the .DESIGN domain name to exhibit a digital gallery of your creations and boost your brand. Join the ranks of large companies, such as Adobe and Uber, and secure your .DESIGN domain.

Do you Design in Ink?

Those who design in ink may find themselves enthralled with the .INK domain name. Whether you put pen to paper, skin, or print, the .INK domain name is a way to grab attention and focus on what you bring to the table. There are many interesting ways to use a .INK domain to amplify your brand.

Now that you have a domain name and the perfect extension, it’s time to upload your incredible portfolio to that domain name. Build a beautiful website using a website builder or your own design skills to customize a brilliant piece of art to showcase your work. We can’t wait to see what you create.