Design Systems are a prolific topic in the design world for good reason. With that said, I won’t attempt to add new insight to an already insightfull conversation (sorry, I had to). What I will do is share my own experiences with how an MVP design system can aid small startups seeking product-market fit, especially when branding is a key part of a startup’s advantage in their marketplace.

A photo of our MVP component library
A photo of our MVP component library
A photo of our MVP component library

Inconsistent, incohesive patterns, branding, interactions, assets, components, layouts etc. You name it, I inherited a multitude of it.

This debt complicated and prolonged even the smallest decisions during the interface design phase…


Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

When I think back at my time as a visual artist, I was always most interested in communicating complex ideas. My teachers were forever pushing me to express myself and find my artistic identity, but for me, art was about clarity of message. The best artists in my opinion always knew how to communicate a complex, or bizarre idea such that the viewer understood. When I looked at pop art, surrealism, Bauhaus, I saw design even before I was aware of design. Art was about codifying a complex idea into a single image.

This was probably why I left art…


Make sure to read part 1 of this article for some background before diving in here.

Over the course of a month, I interviewed over 30 nonprofit professionals about poor donor retention in their organizations. I did this as part of my masters thesis research in digital media.

My goal with these interviews was to understand how each participant defined success; whether they had experienced barriers to achieving that success, and what they were currently doing about it (if they were doing anything at all). Those who were aware of the barriers to their own success, and were actively seeking…


Photo by Linus Rogge on Unsplash

During my time in advertising I would be given a brief with every new project that carefully and thoughtfully outlined a picture of the targeted customer. However, no matter how much effort my agency put into researching this targeted audience, Facebook or Google inevitably defined the audiences that matched this picture of our target customer. Facebook and Google were defining the end viewer of the advertising I was creating, not the other way around.

I find this dynamic unsettling. These huge digital advertising platforms are so involved in the success of digital advertising, and vice versa, digital advertising is the…


Photo by Tom Parsons on Unsplash

As part of my thesis work in the field of digital media I’ve been trying to understand low donor retention at nonprofit organizations in Canada.

Why donor retention?

Donor retention is somewhat of a paradox in the nonprofit sector. This paradox kept me focused on retention, eventually driving me to conduct this investigation. Having worked with nonprofits both internationally and in the United States, I witnessed first-hand the untenable, often wasteful operations that can take over smaller nonprofits. It compelled me to ask myself, why was the ‘smarter’ way of operating not pursued? …

Lauren Austin

Growth Product Designer with a Master of Digital Media from Ryerson University.

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