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348: Getting Unstuck

May 27, 2020

This week, we share some tips for getting unstuck when working on complicated design problems. We also share our home screen organization philosophies in The Sidebar, catch up on Tweets, and share our cool things as always.

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Huge shoutouts to our latest Very Important Pixels!

  • Stacy H
  • Tim Dyson
  • Ludens Tam Tran
  • John Meguerian
  • Jasmine Jones
  • Paul Truong
  • Caro Lukins
  • Gareth Field
  • Arick Conley

The Sidebar:

The Sidebar is an exclusive weekly segment for our Patreon supporters. You can subscribe starting at $1 per month for access to full episodes going forward! Sign up at

In this week's Sidebar, Marshall and Brian explain their philosophy for home screen app organization. We nerd out on structuring columns, rows, and home screen peace-of-mind.


  • Ali Angco wants a Designer Bingo card. We've started an outline, this could be fun.
  • Joe Willmott shared some early work, the very beautiful and glorious
  • Bailey Jennings asked if we could get full show notes in Spotify's podcast player. Sadly: no. Spotify, step it up!
  • Kate Niendorf started to pick up some of Marshall's audio panning 👂


  • Rowan Adams shared a story of asking a Design Details question in a design interview, and the candidate was the original question asker. This is buck wild, ya'll.
  • Andy Ingram gave us a shout out for speaking normally – we try!

Listener Question:

  • Jessica Perelman asks: "What are some strategies that less experienced designers can use to get unstuck when working on complex problems?"
    • Things to watch out for:
      • Are the right stakeholders in the meeting?
      • Is the meeting focused too much on generation and not enough on constraints?
    • Tips to try:
      • Change fidelity
      • Embrace constraints
      • Revisit with the team right after the meeting
      • Find the best parts of discarded brainstorm outcomes
      • Do your homework, start the brainstorm with a strong opinion (weekly held)

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared his latest weekend tinker project, a personal Hacker News client that is more readable, supports dark mode, and is blazing fast.
  • Marshall shared a video from Ten Hundred with a very cool illustration technique: the doodle grid. The whole video is worth a watch, for the art, music, and technique!

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