Nathan McGinness

Facebook Analog Research Laboratory

I recently stumbled across the Facebook Analog Research Laboratory and I’m really impressed. Working as a designer at a software start-up (if we can call Facebook one) doesn’t usually provoke images of ink, paint, raw materials and hardware.

Although it’s clear that Facebook are currently working to acquire (and here) a world class design team, most wouldn’t think of Facebook’s crisp and minimal design ethos as one that includes decorative practice and paint spills.

It turns out that Facebook (like any big company) use printed materials and physical artifacts for a variety of reasons – events in particular. Outsourcing is expensive, and I’m not just talking about the printing bills, but the administration, the transportation and timing logistics, processing the purchase orders and invoices etc.

Facebook are both saving money, and speeding up the production process. Need some signage for a developer event tonight? Why not design, print and construct them – right now! It allows the same flexibility and agility we strive to give developers in a start-up environment.

I’m yet to meet a designer that doesn’t love paper, raw materials and the workshop environment. A workshop like this must also help in attracting (or closing the deal with) versatile design candidates.

But best of all, it encourages, engages, develops and nurtures the companies’ creatives.

Need evidence? FPO profiles the tickets the Facebook team produced in less than 24 for Obama’s Town Hall event at Facebook’s headquarters.

Take a video tour of the Facebook Analog Research Laboratory.

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