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Kate Aronowitz, Facebook’s Design Director, On Crafting A Design-Led Organization

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When the founder is still there, the mission is still extremely present.

By E.B. Boyd (Silicon Valley Reporter, Fast Company)

When Facebook first reached out to Kate Aronowitz in late 2008, the then-head of LinkedIn’s design team was pretty sure she didn’t want to move over to the social network. She was a new mom. Crazy startup hours were not part of her plan.

A conversation with Facebook VP of product Chris Cox, however, changed her mind. “We’d both just seen the movie Helvetica,” Aronowitz tells me when I go down to Facebook headquarters to meet her. Helvetica is a “beautiful, timeless, perfectly designed” font that’s everywhere and yet that most people don’t register as something worth remarking upon, she says. “Chris and I talked about this theory that beautiful design is something that people don’t even really notice.”

Today, Aronowitz is Facebook’s director of design, captaining a group that has grown from about 20 people to 90 under her watch and includes product designers, writers, graphic designers, and marketing communications specialists. She’s built up the company’s design research function and spearheaded an aggressive hiring campaign that has convinced some of tech’s hottest designers to give up their much-vaunted independence and come work for the social network instead.

» Read the full article at Fast Company.