Designer's Coffee #03: State of Design 2023, Bento UI, Dark Patterns & Resources

November 2023 Edition

Hey guys! 👋

In this month's edition of Designer's Coffee, I’m serving up a mix of exciting design insights and handy resources. Here's what's on the menu:

  • Figma's State of Design 2023 Report

  • UI trend alert: the rise of the Bento Grid

  • Insights on AI in entrepreneurship

  • Ethics in design: A look at impulse-driven checkouts

  • My top picks for free vector illustration tools

Grab your cup and let’s dive into the world of design together.

Design news

Figma just released the State of Design 2023 Report, which offers some interesting insights into the current state of design. Here are my key takeaways:

🏗️ Evolving Design Workflows

I find it very interesting how the huge shift toward remote work has changed our workflows and the digital tools we use. Improved digital tools have led to increased use of video meetings (85%), digital whiteboarding (70%), and collaborative design tools (76%).

Figma was surprisingly in touch with these industry changes releasing more and more team features and even a separate collaboration tool, FigJam.

😺 Happier Designers?

Another interesting takeaway is that designers are generally happier now than before the pandemic. Personally, I think it’s related to the shift towards flexible, hybrid work styles that allow us to have a better work-life balance, in turn leading to higher quality of work. A notable 75% of designers have started working remotely more often, with Europe in the lead—UK at 81%, France at 83%, and DACH at 75%.

👀 Remote Work Side Effects

Yet, remote work isn't without its drawbacks. The diminished frequency of face-to-face interactions has introduced unique challenges. Interestingly, 45% of designers report feeling more isolated. There's definitely a learning curve as we adapt to this changed landscape of work.

Curious for more? Grab the full report here.

UI Design Trend Alert: Bento UI

Have you noticed the Bento UI trend yet? Inspired by the Japanese concept of a Bento Box this design trend is quickly becoming a favourite in user interface design, and it's easy to see why.

🤩 The Charm of the Bento Grid

What's not to love about the Bento grid? It's all about clear visual hierarchy and smart organization. Imagine a design that's not only clean and efficient but also makes key information pop in a very visual and easy-to-consume way. Plus, it has seamless adaptability to smaller screens, especially mobile devices. The Bento grid fits perfectly into those compact, rectangular spaces, making it a dream for mobile-friendly design.

But wait, is this concept really brand new? Not exactly. Think about Apple's settings or Spotify's playlist layouts – they've been hinting at this for a while. And Pinterest? It’s a practical showcase of Bento design and my go-to for creative ideas these days.

Check out a whole world of Bento UI examples and inspiration at

Screenshot from Bento Grids collection

What to read

My favourite articles, case studies, books and posts this month.

Watch or listen

My favourite YouTube tutorials, movies, podcasts and reels this month.

Making entrepreneurship accessible for everyone with AI: Shopify’s approach to implementing cutting-edge technology in a non-disruptive way.

Shopify is a platform for entrepreneurs to set up an online store straightforward and hassle-free.

In this insightful episode of the ‘Me, Myself, and AI’ podcast, Miqdad from Shopify, explains how to embrace cutting-edge technologies while ensuring that the control remains firmly in the hands of the user.

What grabs my attention in this episode is Miqdad's deep understanding of his audience's appetite for risk and Shopify’s keen awareness of the challenges entrepreneurs face. His comment, “We want AI to lower the barrier of entry for entrepreneurship”, really resonates with me. It's an ambitious vision, showing how Shopify is more than just an eCommerce platform – it's a tool that helps entrepreneurs kickstart and grow their online stores.

Also, I really recommend checking out this great episode by ‘Design Thinking 101’ podcast:

My favourite free SVG illustration resources

💟 Bonus: a new free package by Pablo Stanley - “transhumans”, also available in Figma.

Social picks

1. Figma Tutorial: @marina_uiux is killing it with her cool glassy panel tutorial

2. Yes, Google Maps has new colors. No, you’re not the only one who hates them. Here is a really detailed review of all the changes by @elizlaraki:

Some other news: I’m on ADPlist now

That’s all for today! If you found the newsletter interesting, don’t forget to share it with your friends 😉. And if you have any cool links to share - drop them my way. 📮 

See you next time!

P.S. To ensure you don't miss any future editions, consider adding my email to your contacts, primary inbox or whitelisting it. I promise, no spam - just a good cup of Designer's Coffee each month! ☕

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