Story + Strategy + Design

Great design has a kind of magic. It makes sense of what was messy, complex, unclear. It stirs the heart and mind. Before the idea appears, the distance can feel uncrossable. Yet when it emerges, embodying feeling and thought, the design seems inevitable and necessary.

Damien Newman's design process squiggle. Read the story.

Damien Newman’s design process squiggle. Read the story.

We help clients reimagine problems as creative challenges. Our best work brings together authentic story and elegant strategy in the container of beautiful design.

Intention

We strive to create beauty and facilitate sensemaking in service of a better world for all. In everything we undertake, we are guided by our values and principles:

Values

  • People
  • Beauty
  • Craft
  • Courage
  • Love
  • Joy

Principles

  • Be purposeful.
  • Love learning.
  • Share more.
  • Care for each other.
  • Care for yourself.
  • Be vulnerable.

Practice

Practice is what it looks like when we live into our intentions. As craftspeople, we’re continually refining our tools and practices, breaking and remaking our structures. Some prove to be resilient:

Method

Our way of working is grounded in editorial development process and design practice, and influenced by Lean Startup, design thinking, and Agile and open source principles. We work iteratively, openly, and co-creatively with clients.

Recursive Design Method Pentad

Recursive Design Method Pentad

Our core process is a recursive five-phase method that begins with learning: Whether the challenge is designing a product brochure or sharing the learning from a 10-month innovation process, the first step is to understand the story.

Once we understand where the narrative begins, we define the challenge; we get clear about purpose and about what we know and don’t know. As creators we often learn best by making and breaking. Therefore, early ideation cycles are sometimes experiments to test key assumptions.

After ideating and selecting a concept or experiment, we create and test iterative prototypes, looping back through prior phases, integrating what we’ve learned. This recursion can look messy but is the engine of excellence. We sometimes call this process, design-learning.

Recursive Design Method Pentad, unfolded.

Recursive Design Method Pentad, unfolded.

People

Duende is a network of independent practitioners. We are designers, developers, writers, illustrators, facilitators, consultants; dog lovers, musicians, photographers, poets, and cooks.

Amy Wu

Designer and Founder
amywu.us

Barrett Cox

Developer and Designer
barrettcox.com

Esy Casey

Filmmaker and Designer
yesesy.com

Sean Voegeli

Designer
seanvoegeli.com

Eugene Eric Kim

Eugene Eric Kim

Strategic Partner
fasterthan20.com

Linda Rogers

Strategic Partner
workreimagined.us

Mona

Anthropologist and Happiness Advocate
duende.us/mona/