Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Bonus: Hamish Smyth of Standards

Bonus: Hamish Smyth of Standards


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Design systems have been on the minds of those of us in the software industry for more than a decade now and for good reason. To create large scale software with a consistent experience, standards are needed to guide contributors. 

This is not a new problem, though. Before software designers created design systems, brand and print designers created design standards to guide creative collaboration. We had a chance to talk with Hamish Smyth, co-founder of the popular tool Standards, and we relished the opportunity to nerd out with him on this subject.

We spoke with Hamish about what design standards are and how they differ from design systems, some examples of famous standards like Massimo Vignellli’s NYC Subway map and NASAs Standards Manual, and also about what Hamish learned about getting corporate buy-in from working with famed designer Michael Beirut from Pentagram.


Hamish Smyth is the co-founder of Standards and partner at Order. Prior to co-founding Order, Hamish worked as an associate partner the New York office of Pentagram Design under partner Michael Bierut.

During his time at Pentagram, his work was recognized by AIGA, D&AD, The ADC, TDC, Fast Company, Comm Arts, Creative Review, Design Week, and the SEGD, among others.

In 2014 he co-founded Standards Manual, an independent publishing imprint focusing on the preservation of graphic design history.

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Design Better
The Design Better Podcast
Design Better co-hosts Eli Woolery and Aarron Walter explore the intersection of design, technology, and the creative process through conversations with inspiring guests across many creative fields. Whether you’re design curious or a design pro, Design Better is guaranteed to inspire and inform. Episodes are released semi-weekly. Vanity Fair calls Design Better, “sharp, to the point, and full of incredibly valuable information for anyone looking to better understand how to build a more innovative world.”