On Furlough? Resources for Design Talent

Temporary layoffs are an unfortunate reality for many of our clients and candidates at this time.

It’s not a reflection on ‘how well one does as a business’ or ‘how good one is at their job as an individual’, it’s the harsh reality of this situation we are in as the result of an economic downturn. Furlough doesn’t discriminate. But what to do during this time?

Here, we’ve collected a bunch of online resources and courses recommended by design leads across our client base, as well as our existing internal guides that might take the interest for designers and those looking to upskill within this sector.


Some resources that we’ve been told are useful…

  • Norman Neilson Group – Don Norman and Jakob Neilson founded nng and are widely regarded as two key figures in helping define the field of UX. Here you’ll find training, reports, an insightful blog and much more.
  • UX Planet – A blog covering all things UX, including advice on UX for beginners and career guidance.
  • UX Collective – A blog for designers, thinkers and makers.
  • Awwwards UX/UI blog – Great for inspiration for UXers and visual designers alike.
  • Inspiration Grid – A collection of design, art, photography and illustration.
  • Creative Bloq – Content and articles for designers of all kinds.
  • The ADLIB Blog – featuring thought-leaders, careers, tips & advice.


Now is a great time to be developing your skills, whether it’s learning a new piece of software, a new methodology or approach to your craft.

Sites like SkillShare, Futurelearn and Udemy all have great UX and design courses, some are free and others come with some good promotional discounts during this time.

Some free tools and useful resources

  • The UK Government Service Manual – This is the Government’s guide to everything from accessibility, working to agile, design processes and research. The content is naturally geared towards creating public services but some great insight, tools and techniques nonetheless.
  • Design.google – Material design tools and assets.
  • InVision – A library of free, high-quality UI kits, icon packs, and mockups.

Design & UX online meetups

There are some great UX and design meetups out there and some have continued to operate online with more cropping up each week. Some that have been recommended to us include:


From talking to design and UX people day in & day out we know that pulling together a portfolio can be time-consuming and often low on the priority list when balancing work, social and family life. If you’re on Furlough, now is a great chance to get things in order.

A portfolio doesn’t just serve as a tool to secure a job, it can be a great exercise in determining your strengths (as well as any gaps in your experience), a way of revisiting and re-evaluating past projects and improving your personal brand presence within your field. Deciding how and what to include in your portfolio can vary on your skillset and what you’re looking to achieve but we’ve included a couple of useful links below that might help you get started:

Volunteer your skills

We’re a big advocate for designing for good. We shine a light on how creative innovation can be a driver for positive change through our design for good initiative. We’ve already seen design play a crucial role in helping with the crisis around the world and there are lots of ways you can put your skills to work for a good cause!

The United Nations has called out to ALL creatives to help stop the spread of COVID-19- Learn more about the brief here.

We’ve also seen sites like The Bristol Lockdown Economy be designed and launched overnight to help support local businesses and communities.

We hope you find something useful in this blog to pass on. If you have any resources to add we’d love to hear from you.

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