S1 • E2 – Jul 08, 2020

Inside Marketing Design at Webflow

with Senior Brand Designer Johnnie Gómez

with Senior Brand Designers Johnnie Gómez and

with Senior Brand Designer Johnnie Gómez and

In this episode I speak with Johnnie Gómez, Senior Brand Designer at Webflow, about how the brand studio team creates the marketing design for their no-code visual web development tool. In this incredibly honest interview you’ll learn about the team structure, the challenges they face and how the designers on the team have full ownership of their work. Johnnie also shares great advice for managing projects and implementing solid processes, as well as his thoughts on designers writing copy.


0:00 - Introduction & Webflow overview

1:45 - Webflow team structure

5:15 - Webflow’s approach to marketing

9:05 - Project management

14:50 - Design tools & process

19:45 - Content & writing copy

23:55 - Measuring the success of a project

27:15 - Running A/B tests

29:45 - Performance reviews & areas of growth

34:20 - Challenges for the brand studio team

37:20 - Having full ownership of the work

40:00 - Wrap up


Charli: Welcome back, designers, to a new episode of Inside Marketing Design. I'm Charli, I'm a marketing designer myself, and I've created this series to give an inside look into how marketing design functions at various different tech companies, something I was curious about, and hopefully, if you're listening to this, it's because it's something that you're curious about, too.

In today's episode, we're taking a look inside marketing design at Webflow, which is one of my favorite companies. I'm a very passionate Webflow user, I have been for years. They have sponsored my YouTube channel before, my own website is built on Webflow. So I was really excited to sit down and talk to Johnnie Gomez, who is a senior brand designer at Webflow.

Now, if you haven't heard of Webflow before, they are a visual development tool. So they're a tool that you can use to build great-looking websites without needing to code. The company has about 170 employees at the moment. They do a lot for being a team of that size, let me tell you, and they're about 70% remote. So Johnnie, who I'm speaking to today, is based in D.C., and he's been on the Webflow team for a little over a year. Something that really stood out to me during my chat with Johnnie is actually how little we speak about the design process during this interview. There's a lot of talk about how design functions within the company and everything else that goes into being a brand or marketing designer, and how it's not always being inside a design tool and making a design happen. Johnnie was super open in this interview, talking about challenges he's facing as a brand designer, as well as challenges that the brand studio team themselves are facing. So I think you're really gonna enjoy this. Without further ado, let's dig in and take a look Inside Marketing Design at Webflow. Well, Johnnie, welcome to Inside Marketing Design. I'm really excited to have you here.

Johnnie: Woo!

Charli: Let's start off by talking about the team at Webflow. So as I mentioned in my introduction, I'm a big fan of Webflow team in general. I've done some work with them in the past, and we've had Ryan, who is the, what's his title? Brand design lead, I think, at Webflow.

Johnnie: He's design manager right now.

Charli: Design manager, okay. On the show, my YouTube channel, before, but I'm excited to talk to you and get more of like a in-the-weeds look at how design works there. So tell me about the brand design team at Webflow.

Johnnie: Yeah, sure. So the brand design, which we call brand studio team, I think it's like six people right now. It's myself. We have Ryan as the manager and then you have other, like four multi-disciplinary designers. So we have people that work in the brand studio team and they work with other teams externally. So for example, we have one person that is in charge of the whole education content. So they work with Webflow University and they work for all the, with the content that's being launched on the YouTube channel. Then we have somebody that's also more focused on social media and works on assets for that and for product launches. Then we have a person that is in charge of illustrations and branding, and then Camille Esposito and myself, we work as senior brand designers, visual developers, which means, you know, building stuff in Webflow. Pretty much anything that's needed on the marketing side, whether it is growth experiments, marketing, blog, anything that's being communicated externally.

Charli: Cool. So within the team, there's a few people who have very specific specialties in terms of the team or program of work, I guess, that they work on within Webflow. But for you and this other brand designer, it's a bit more general, where you might step into different things and perhaps be at a more higher-level stuff, like campaigns and things like that?

Johnnie: Exactly, yes, exactly.

Charli: Cool. And where does this brand studio team fit within the rest of the company? Like, for example, myself as the marketing design lead at ConvertKit, I sit within the marketing team, so my manager is the director of marketing. But what's it like for you?

Johnnie: Brand studio sits in the same table as product designers.

Charli: Okay, so it's like a design team.

Johnnie: Yeah. And we're trying to, you know, to collaborate more and more. I work in a company, such as Webflow, that has their product and their marketing, which is very different, and we're trying to kinda get those closer together so that brand can communicate more in the product and vice versa. Since we have two different style guides, two different guidelines, different colors, different fonts. So we're trying to have a more consistent communication within the product and within the marketing sites. So we're trying to talk more and collaborate more with the product designers. However, marketing being kinda like our, I'd say our main fuel to start new projects and have new projects, we're also constantly talking to marketing, knowing that there's a lot of the marketing aspects that we really, I don't know if it's we don't really care about, but we are not really focusing on those.

Charli: And what is the main method of marketing for Webflow? I mean, I guess that it's digital and that a lot of your time is spent building web pages and things like that, but is there anything else you can tell me about the approach Webflow takes to marketing?

Johnnie: Yeah, so what I find really interesting about it, that I haven't really seen a lot of companies put a lot of focus on this, is lifecycle.

Charli: Yeah, tell me, what is lifecycle?

Johnnie: So lifecycle is pretty much the customer experience post-acquisition.

Charli: Okay.

Johnnie: So it's like the lifespan or the lifecycle, it's to do with the different stages of the user, whether it is a new onboarding person or if it is an experienced designer, design lead for a multinational, like, a multinational agency or something like that. So it's serving the customer pretty much in the most appropriate way at that stage of their cycle.

Charli: Right. Stepping a bit further than onboarding, which is something that I've been a part of at ConvertKit, because it's talking about not only you getting to know the product, but how you use it throughout the whole time that you're a user.

Johnnie: Exactly. And, you know, you're not supposed to communicate the same way with a beginner user that doesn't have any knowledge on HTML and CSS the same way that you would communicate with a power user that has been using Webflow for, I don't know, five years.

Charli: Right, right. Yeah, and so what sort of work do you end up doing, marketing to people who are later in the lifecycle? What sort of things come in there?

Johnnie: Yeah, so a lot of it, it comes from content, and I do think that content is, people should design based on content, and content should lead pretty much any sort of process. So a lot of it comes from there. Then there are things like, you know, when you're communicating for different targets, considering Webflow has a market for freelancers, a market for business owners, a market for agencies and marketing teams, there's a specific way to talk to each and every one of those markets, whether it comes from how many technical words you use and your language to what sort of assets you use. Maybe sometimes showing the UI, the Webflow UI, might be a bit overwhelming for somebody that's just starting. And perhaps you wanna go for some sort of illustration, or maybe just make something that's only content, copy and just well-divided hierarchies. I'm a big fan of minimal design. And I love to work with only type. And, of course, if there's more things to be included, I obviously will, but I love to create a nice flow using different hierarchies and different colors and different font sizes. So basically, the teams would come to us. We would kinda like debrief what their needs are and work on a brief. We would scope out the work and we jump into project management tools, like Asana, and just trying to keep everything more organized and more transparent for us and for external stakeholders that might want to just jump in and see what the status is and how things are going.

Charli: Yeah. So when you say external stakeholders, in this case, you're meaning people outside the brand studio team, or are you meaning people outside of Webflow? Outside.

Johnnie: Exactly. It's usually people outside of the brand studio team that sometimes have, you know, they do have feedback. Sometimes they only just want to check and see how everything is doing. And sometimes, you know, they're just like the final stage of somebody saying, like, "Hey, this is awesome. "Let's launch this tomorrow." Or, I don't know, like next week, for example.

Charli: Like giving the approval, yeah. Let's get into talking about a project at Webflow. So you said that usually it comes that Ryan is the one who decides who's gonna work on what and sort of manages that stream of work. Do briefs normally come from, well, yeah, where do briefs come from in the team?

Johnnie: So briefs usually come from Ryan, Ryan Morrison. We started working on the briefs as a brand studio team so that we can set expectations for the other teams. We started with a very, I'd say, like, lenient brief with no specific dates, no turnarounds, nothing too specific. And then, Ryan, we talked within the team to see how that goes. If everything's approachable, what dates sound good. Then we would include the main stakeholders in that project to see does this work for you? What do you think of this? Any comments? And once pretty much that is set, we try to open either a Slack channel so that we're all up to date. Sometimes we even have two Slack channels for one project, which is the one is for the people that are gonna be talking pretty much on a daily basis. It's not on an hourly basis. And then we have another one that's more like a general, where we would have maybe somebody from the executive team, somebody from a higher hierarchy-

Charli: Updates and things.

Johnnie: Exactly, yeah, just for updates. Then we also kinda create a new project in Asana. We like to be as specific as possible. We have tasks with sub-tasks, such as, I don't know, like check headings.

Charli: Right, oh, very specific. Yep, yep, yep.

Johnnie: Yeah, so it's kinda like our checklist and also works as a pre-launch checklist, and it's also a really good way to organize, you know, who was in charge of what. I feel like Asana's one of those deals, it only works if everybody uses it, and once everybody's using it, it just turns. Like for me, Asana's pretty much the first thing I see every day and the last thing I see every day 'cause I love to get organized in the morning and I love to know what I have on my plate for the next day.

Charli: Yep, I feel the same way about Basecamp, which is what we use at ConvertKit. That it's a great tool, but it really only works if everyone is in it and using it in a similar way. Yeah, okay, so who's the one who, like, say, for example, like the launch of a new feature. Who decides how you're going to market a new feature and what work the brand design team needs to do about that?

Johnnie: Yeah, so we would have a product marketing management. They would kinda approach us with, okay, so this is what's going on. This is what's going to be launched. And this is everything that we need.

Those meetings are usually with people, somebody from community who's gonna be in charge of publishing this or the launch, and social media. Then you have maybe somebody from engineer. So it gets to the point that our meetings start to get very diverse. We have meetings that we have somebody from each team that's going to be part of this. And we kinda do a debrief of, okay, so this is the problem we are addressing. What are we trying to do here? And then we get very accountable. It's like, okay, so you are going to be in charge of this, okay? And it's like we're not looking for a verbal confirmation, but just to know that everybody knows what they're supposed to do and everybody's on track with what's going to happen. And in that meeting, we're like, you know, everybody knows what's expected from each other. Everybody knows how things are gonna go. And it's also a nice way to, if you wanna see, like, okay, so I need to know something about the engineering process, who can I contact? And so it's just going through everybody in the team or just going to their Slack channel, like, "Hey, who's in charge of this?" You know exactly who is going to be in charge of this.

Charli: : Yep, yeah, so there's one representative from each team that's gonna be part of a project and is the go-to person for that.

Johnnie: Exactly. And sometimes I don't need to, I feel more comfortable maybe just DMing that person and just like, "Hey, heads up, "this is done. "Let me know what you think." Instead of just putting it in the group for everybody 'cause maybe I don't need feedback right now from everybody. I need feedback specifically from this person. So it's a good way to let people what you're working on and keeping them updated on the progress.

Charli: Yep, and the fact that you have the separate Slack channels, as well, per project means that you're not overloading the main channels with everything that's going on. And that if people are interested in that project, they can go in there and keep up to date with it.

Johnnie: Yeah, and also it's very difficult, you know, when the company gets to this point to have every team using the same app, like everybody using Asana, for example. It's kinda unrealistic because not every team prefers Asana, maybe other tools are more efficient for other teams. And that's totally understandable. So when it gets to the point that you're talking with somebody from another team and you want to, you know, you can just share an Asana task and like, "Hey, what do you think of this?" We usually keep an Asana project board. And then we usually have a Paper doc or a Google Doc that we can just also download all the information there, besides, you know, the chit chat from Slack channels.

Charli: Yep, cool. You might have a document that's the overall project plan for everyone in the company to see, but as a brand studio, you use Asana for the nitty-gritty and all of the details of a project.

Johnnie: Exactly, yes.

Charli: I'm with ya, I'm with ya, cool. So during the design process for something brand design-related at Webflow, what tools do you use for design? Do you jump straight into Webflow to design something?

Johnnie: I'm gonna say no, but it's not 100% of the time.

Charli: Okay, fair enough. Yep, in general.

Johnnie: Sometimes I have just some inspiration streak and just like, wait, I'm, I don't know, in bed, like, wait. And when it comes to Webflow, you sort of have this similar maybe branch as in coding that's sometimes you'll figure out how to solve an issue while you're doing something else. For example, you're in bed, and then I should think, oh, wait, but what if I use Flexbox vertical, and then I center it, and then I jump into Webflow and I just start experimenting there. Usually, it's pen and paper. That's my to-go thing. It's easy, it's fast. If I make a mistake or something, I just go to the next page. I'll do really very rough drafts just to have a clear layout, a clear structure. I kinda point things with arrows. Like, this would be for this thing or I would use an animation here. And that would be pretty much for myself or perhaps myself and Ryan.

Charli: Yep, to discuss the ideas before you move forward to the next phase. Yep.

Johnnie: Exactly. Once we talk about it, then I'm probably gonna jump into Figma and start doing some higher fidelity, but still not high fidelity, just higher than just the pen and paper. And there is where we include other people to get feedback on before we actually jump to design. And then, you know, when I jump to design, I usually work in Figma with a couple pages, and I'm a designer that works on art boards. And then, let's say, like, I think of a couple of ways of working on this component. So I kinda duplicate that component along And then I have, then it gets to the point that I'm kinda stitching things together.

Charli: Like this part from art board four and this part from art board six, yep.

Johnnie: Exactly, so that little Frankenstein will go to my new page, which is usually kinda the final page for people to go in in Figma and comment there. People that are not designers to just go there. Figma has opened the collaboration in a huge way, and we love to use it, you know, with people that feel comfortable with it, they can jump there. If not, we will just use Dropbox Paper just to track everything, just to not mark comments as resolved and just so people that don't even have Figma installed in the computers or are not willing to use it in their browsers, they can just jump into a Dropbox Paper and just comment there.

Charli: Right, so you're really flexible with how you receive feedback and you're wanting to make sure that however the person that you need feedback from, that they're comfortable giving that. That makes sense. How much autonomy, or creativity, I suppose, can you have in the design process of things? Is there a very strict design system for the Webflow site or? Yeah, tell me about that.

Johnnie: Yeah, so we have full ownership of our work.

Charli: Cool.

Johnnie: That's something that I love about designing on Webflow. Of course, you know, eventually, I'll reach out to Ryan, be like, "Hey, yay or nay?" pretty much. But over this year, I've learned how to ask for feedback for specific things. You know, it's not just like, "Hey, what do you think of this?" And that goes together with some kinda design create meetings that we have on Wednesdays, that we only talk about feedback. Like, "Okay, so this is my project. "I wanna know what do you think of the footer? "And I wanna know if you think that the structure "is clear and it's easy, it's user-friendly." It's a good way to have it that way. So at the end, I know that Ryan is the one that decides. And then, of course, you know, if there's any external stakeholder that has a strong, let's say, influence in the decision, then, of course, yes, they will comment. But as far as designing goes, I have full ownership of everything. And, yes, I did work on guidelines and kinda style guides to set in place. Most of them are time savers. I have a component or sticker sheet in Webflow that I can start from that. We have our, kinda like an eternal guideline of what we should and should not do, which kind of goes for brand, for components. And there's also a big part of voice and tone and how we should communicate, how our call to actions should be, how we use our commas, how we use our punctuations.

Charli: Very specific.

Johnnie: Very specific, yeah.

Charli: We talked before about content and how you said you should always be designing to the content. Where does content come from for a webpage for you? Like, who's deciding what needs to be said about a feature for a new page, for example?

Johnnie: Yeah, so I love to at least try my best at copy.

Charli: Cool.

Johnnie: I'm not a big fan of Lorem Ipsum. I don't really use it. I feel like it's not useful. It's just a block, a blob of text, and that's pretty much the only thing.

Charli: And it's hard for people to critique the structure of the page and if it's clear if they don't know what's being talked about where as well.

Johnnie: Exactly, yeah. So what I do with a couple of product marketing managers is they kind do their wire frame of copy. So, you know, they might have huge paragraphs, and it's really up to me on how I want to show that. Maybe I see a paragraph and I'm like, okay, this is just way too much copy or it's just going to be a huge block of text, so I'm going to break this in maybe, like, three different parts and maybe emphasize a couple words and maybe have some headlines for this. So I do have that leeway.

Charli: I love that you have that autonomy with the copy. Is that something that you've had throughout your career? 'Cause for me, I have that now at ConvertKit, but I haven't had it always. And I feel like my designs have been much improved since I've been able to have input on the copy myself. I'm just wondering if you feel the same?

Johnnie: Yeah. At least it gives you that opportunity to just go for something. And maybe that will spark an idea on whoever is actually checking this. I've used Lorem Ipsum for a long time, but it's just, I always got to the point that I was always changing designs.

Charli: Yeah.

Johnnie: I was getting to the point that things were never working out the same way from my designs to when it was implemented. I'm a multi-disciplinary designer. I'm kinda like a generalist, and trying to get more specific as I'm growing. And now I'm feeling like I have a strong skillset, but I want, I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone. I'm trying to public speak. That's my main thing. It's mainly communication, whether it is public speaking, whether it is documenting or whether it is proposing copy and maybe seeing some things that I propose live there on the Webflow site. It feels good.

Charli: Yeah, totally, I love that. Is that, then, what you're trying to get more specific on is having the communication skills as part of what you offer as a designer?

Johnnie: Every designer, I feel, should be able to write their own copy, at least propose their own copy, and then have other people weigh in it, if it's good to launch or not, or tweak it a bit. But I feel like every designer should, eventually, should learn how to write copy and documenting. Also, another huge thing that I think that every designer should strive for.

Charli: Yeah, I love that. I think that's especially important in a remote company as well. You know, documentation and communication, written communication is vital for getting work done on a remote team.

Johnnie: It's pretty much the only way to scale up, too. The more people join your company, the more need there is for a guideline or for a manual or for something that's there in place for new onboarding people to just, like, "Okay, so how do we do this?" Like, "Here you go. "Here's the Paper doc or here's the Google Doc." Personally, I had the experience of doing the same task over and over again in Webflow, and I thought if I document this and I get really specific on the documentation, I can open up the game for anybody to do this task. I don't need to be doing this task by myself every single time. And it's gonna take a while to oil that up and have that ready, but once you have it, you just saved yourself some time and you just save some time for other people in the company.

Charli: Yeah, I love that you're thinking about that stuff, too. Okay, let's say a project is finished at Webflow and it's out there. How do you judge if it was successful or not?

Johnnie: We have a couple of ways, some being more qualitative, the other is being more about efficiency, about perhaps even working on soft skills. So we use tools like Segment, Mixpanel, integrated with Google Analytics. And a big part of the final result is numbers and data. And I totally understand that. Data does move, you know, it does keep the wheels rolling. However, since we have a lot of different teams here and sometimes it's like, how do you relate a 1% increase to what team, on who did what?

So what we usually do is we have some retro, some retro sessions, like some retrospectives, that at the end of every project, and usually, maybe the week after that, we all get together. We all talk as a group on what worked, what maybe didn't work. And at least for myself, I try to be as specific as possible. Like, I try to address the situations as much as I can. Considering that this thing is like, when something is a failure, try to change it into an opportunity.

Charli: Yeah, I love that.

Johnnie: For the next project. So you're talking about what didn't work well, and then, okay, what can we change for next time? And then once we address those things, it's like, okay, any new things that we can do from now on to not have this issue? I hope that eventually, it's like you are oiling it up and oiling it and oiling it and oiling it to eventually make this as efficient as possible and people know what's expected from them. It's just a really nice way to see, to be self-accountable for something that you might do better in the future and to just see opportunities where you could just chip in to make the final outcome better.

Charli: So it sounds like you, as the brand studio team, do pay close attention to the data yourselves about how something performed and you are checking that. Do you have metrics? Like, when you launch a project, are you trying to increase the conversion rate by X percent or something? Is that sometimes there in the beginning phase, too?

Johnnie: Yes, so that's how we work with lifecycle and with growth. A lot of it is, you know, we used to have some A/B testing before, and now we're kinda implementing our own tool to see how that works. Which is also basically A/B, C, D, E or as many variables as we can. And I'm just now getting into kinda the growth world and seeing how smaller percentages make a huge change.

When you talk about a 1%, you're like, 1%? That's nothing. And then 1%, you know, it's a meaningful change. People should be celebrating maybe 1%.

Charli: Yeah, agreed, completely. Tell me more about this testing. How is that working out? Are you coming up with ideas of things to test?

Johnnie: Actually, the growth team opened up the game to anybody that wants to propose an idea. So like, hey, what if we have more call to actions in the homepage? Like, okay, so we have already an Asana project built for this, where we have a spreadsheet that is kinda like an experiment creator where you just fill in the blanks and scripts are created, and this all goes to Asana. And everything is very integrated in a way that it's just super easy for me just copy and paste a couple of scripts on the designer, and then creating different divs or different elements that are gonna be showing or not. And that impacts directly on, okay, so how many people actually clicked on this? How many people actually clicked on that? When you have a tool that is aimed for many different types of job roles, it's good to have the possibility to communicate differently, which goes in hand with what I talked about, the lifecycle.

What I aim for is to talk the best possible way and the most efficient way to our different markets. And, you know, it might get to the point where it's just changing copy. It might get to the point where you're just like, what if we have a dark version of the home? I don't know, let's see how it goes. There isn't really a limit, and we're just starting with our own internal thing.

Charli: That's exciting.

Johnnie: Yeah, it's good to know your impact. It's good to know how you're actually changing. The same way that when I was onboarding on growth, I was like, what if you do something and sales just go to 0%? You have the power to run an experiment, and the experiment is really bad. I don't feel comfortable talking about numbers because I have no idea, but what if I do a change and we are losing millions of dollars?

Charli: Right, right.

Johnnie: And you're like, "That was only an experiment. "Put it back just the way it was."

Charli: Yep, it's high stakes, isn't it?

Johnnie: High stakes, yeah, but the positive side of that is it's really, really rewarding.

Charli: Yeah, when it does work out. And even if it doesn't, you've learned. Now you know not to do that for next time.

All right. We talked about performance of projects. What about your performance as the brand designer on the team? How is that handled internally at Webflow? Yeah, how is your performance measured?

Johnnie: Yeah, so we have TDCs as a short, as team development cycles.

Charli: Okay.

Johnnie: It consists of you first looking for peers that you want to be reviewed from. And then, obviously, those people also look for who's going to review them. So you end up, basically, having to review, let's say, six, around six people from different teams.

And you also have kinda like a self-assessment. And then your manager, also, in my case, Ryan, he will give me some feedback on how I've been working lately. And it can get more to a personal level. There's some things that, I'm totally vulnerable and like an open book with Ryan. So whenever, you know, I'm not feeling well, I will let him know. I appreciate honesty and having this, I feel really comfortable where I work and I feel really kinda like at home. So I'm not afraid to just speak up my mind to Ryan, and I love having that complicity with him.

Charli: Yeah, that's great.

Johnnie: For my peers, sometimes, what I usually do, I know people that are really grateful for what I do, and, I don't know, I would probably not reach out to those people to get a review 'cause I-

Charli: 'Cause you don't just wanna hear the positive feedback.

Johnnie: Yeah, and it's not about getting cocky or anything, but I don't want feedback that's gonna gonna be like, "Johnnie's amazing. "He's so fast." I want some more solid info.

Charli: Yeah, things to work on.

Johnnie: Things that I can work on. Exactly, yeah. So it's always great to have awesome words about you and you're like, "Oh, thank you." It makes me feel proud and it's kinda like my little endorphin booster. But I try to reach out for people where, maybe not tension, but maybe we had a couple of bumps along the way, and then we went over them, and proud that we're now very smooth. But I'd like to know how I can be better, how I can be a better partner for you, how I can be my best self. And by saying that, it's like how the brand studio can work more efficiently with you, you being community or events, or, I don't know, maybe a side project that started kinda like a 10% project, and then ended up being something public and being being launched live.

Charli: So it sounds like you're really seeking out that positive critique, like constructive critique, that's the word I'm looking for.

Johnnie: Yeah, and usually those feedbacks are something good, something bad. And Webflow has, pushes really, really strong for their core behaviors, which is pretty much how we embody Webflow, how we act, how we talk. A lot of it is based on that, too. A lot of the feedback is like what core behavior do you think Johnnie embodies the most? What core behavior do you think he could work on for the next review? It's a good way to just kinda set objectives for myself for the next time. So it's like, for example, to get kinda specific, I love to work fast and I consider myself a fast worker, and people appreciate that. But sometimes I work too fast, kinda leaving people along the way, or not communicating and keeping people updated the way I should. So maybe I do it a couple of extra steps, and then I have to do a couple steps back, and then continue. Which, you know, working fast is good, but it's not always the best way to work.

Charli: Right.

Johnnie: And it's something that I technically know it, but then I only realize it and process it when I read it from someone. And like, you know what? Actually, yeah, maybe I should just try to be more inclusive when I work, when it comes to speed, of course.

Charli: Yep, so that's something that you're working on now and an area of growth for you, then. What about, for the brand design team or brand studio team at Webflow, what are some challenges that you're working through at the moment or the next things, your areas of improvement that you're looking to work in?

Johnnie: Yeah, so a lot of it, and I think that this would be the answer for growing startups and growing teams, is processes, is having processes being respected. The same way that I talked to you, that I said about DMs, like, sometimes a DM is easier, but it's not the process that we should be following. So if somebody tells me, like, "Hey, there's a typo on this page. "Can you fix it?" I would usually jump in and do it and that'd be fixed in like, I don't know, two minutes because Webflow. But is that the best way to actually approach it? Should we maybe document what changes are being held? And then I'm like, should I ask this person to create a task in Asana for maybe change, I don't know, ball to bell. And it's just one letter. Somebody might take more time actually creating a task-

Charli: Right, than actually just doing the change, yep.

Johnnie: Than me actually fixing it. Or maybe even somebody comes up, somebody reaches out to me about changing something, and then I tell them, "Okay, can you create a task?" Like, "Uh, yeah, sure. "I'll do that tomorrow." And I'm like, I can just, "If you do it now, I can do it now." But then, again, we have to trust the process. I don't wanna be that person telling you every single time, "Hey, "can you create a task for this?" But in the end, it's just everything's documented, everybody knows who worked on what change, everybody knows what change was corrected at what time. So it's better for everybody. So our challenges right now is trying to be the best partner for every other team and still be able to respect processes and having a clear way of communication, a clear channel of communication within teams so that people know what they can expect from us and people know how we work. And it sounds simple, but it takes a while to actually have things working the right way for several teams, considering that the right way for us might not be the right way for another team. So it's getting used to that and just adapting to how they want to work. For me, I wanna make Ryan's job easier since he's my manager. And whenever I work with somebody, I wanna make their job easier however I can.

Charli: This is something that we've been going through at ConvertKit as well. I think it's just a company growing, you know. And where it used to be just a couple of people talking to each other, now there's dozens that need to be kept up to date, and you just gotta get better with documentation and processes and things, for sure. What about the impact of the brand design team within the company? It sounds like at Webflow, it's pretty dang important.

Johnnie: Yeah, so as I said before, the brand studio team has full ownership. When I joined Webflow, something that would come out of my mouth a couple of times would have been, "Do we want to show this to Vlad or Bryant or anybody in the executive team?"

And Ryan would say, like, "No. "Let's actually get to that point "maybe at the end, "but not right now. "It's up to us to work on this and find the best solution for this." And then maybe at the end, they will say, like, "Yes, this is awesome," but there's no need to actually include them at that stage of the process.

Charli: Get their feedback midway, yeah. It sounds like you're very trusted and you obviously do great work, so that's really cool.

Johnnie: Thank you. When I think about Webflow, when I think about what the brand Webflow is, it's way more than its colors. it's way more than its logos, it's way more than the product. I feel like it's the combination of, first, the people that are part of the team. Everywhere, like when I have meetups here in D.C. or where I'm doing portfolio reviews and I mention that I'm at Webflow, people just, they go like, "Oh, yeah, awesome, Webflow." And it would be like, "Woo-hoo, Webflow." I've been in meetings where somebody said, like, "I work at X company," and it's a huge company, and it was like, "Cool." And then I say Webflow and it's like, "Oh, awesome, yeah, we love Webflow." And it's like wow. That says a lot about either the product or just Webflow in general.

Charli: Absolutely.

Johnnie: Besides that, you know, the customer support team are some of the nicest people I've ever met. Our CEO is one of the most outspoken people. I've never shared a vision more with anybody, pretty much, than what I share with Vlad, and just the product itself. Our efforts on democratizing web development for anybody to create a website, I feel like the brand is way more than brand studio. I can do, and we can do, as much as we can from our side and make it as pretty as possible, but our brand is so much more than what we produce.

Charli: I love that, Johnnie. I feel like that is the perfect point to end on. You just summed up how I feel about the Webflow brand as someone who has that reaction when I meet someone who works at Webflow. Yeah, it's all of those things. It's not just the product, it's the people, it's the company and all the things. So thank you for sharing with us how it all works there. So, Johnnie, where can people go to find out more about you online, or where can people connect with you?

Johnnie: So you can find me on Twitter @callmejohnnie. A lotta people write Johnnie in very different ways. Just in case, it's J-O-H-N-N-I-E. You can also check my profile on Webflow, which is webflow.com/itsjohnnie. Johnnie's spelled the same way. All my projects are all cloneabale, they're all open for anybody to just clone and start working or just see how things are going. I'm also open for portfolio reviews or just any sort of career advice or any sort of, just speak about design. I'm very friendly, so feel free to reach out to me on Twitter and we can just get that going.

Charli: I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of people interested at that. I get asked to do portfolio review videos all the time. So there we go, people. Contact Johnnie and he'll give you some feedback. Awesome. Thanks for being here, Johnnie.

Johnnie: Thank you very much for having me here, Charli. It's been a pleasure.

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