A series on the custom tools we created that aids us in designing at scale at Frost.

There are trivial activities that look inconsequential when you are small but are administratively complicated when magnified at scale. Things like following a base 8 spacing guide. Or ensuring that the distance between two distinct elements will always be consistent across multiple screens. Or making all text elements vertically centered in all enclosed containers — buttons, text fields, etc. These minor and somehow inconsequential (on a macro-level) principles are fundamental tenants of a good user interface design. …

In our pursuit for excellence, we swung too far.

You can view things on a spectrum of two polar opposites — Order and Chaos. What’s revealing is that everything in the observable universe either swings on both sides.

Throughout the years of building Frost, we’ve taken so many forms. We’ve undergone numerous painful transformations — inside and out.

We’ve seen what it is to operate like madmen and self-indulgent rockstars. Chaotic. It’s fun, yes. But we were dirt poor and never made money. We scraped the bottom of the barrels just to make ends meet. Fun and exciting — yes. Economically feasible — no.

We worked so hard to…

This is it! The moment I’ve waited and wanted to say for a very long time.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

I’m bidding web design and development goodbye! Well, the communication kind of website — that is. Yup! No more Wordpress, Drupal, SEO, and stuff like that. We, Frost, is exiting that business.


This pensive decision comes with a solace yet unwavering resolve that we are doing the right thing. Doing this for 12 years gave me perspective — a sense of clarity you can acquire through a deep understanding of its underlying mechanics and business economics. I was grateful for the experience. The works we’ve done in the past were testaments that hard work and patience pay off. …

Let’s make this one clear — time spent is not output delivered.


In 2013, archeologists discovered the “World’s oldest sundial” outside a tomb in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings–the burial place of Egyptian demigods. The artifact–made from a flat piece of limestone was found on the floor of a workman’s hut. On it was an etched black semi-circle with 12 equally divided, 15º sections. At the center was a dent where a supposed piece of metal or wood was inserted to cast a shadow to reveals the time of day.

We have been tracking time to know when to plant and harvest our crops, when to perform ritualistic activities, when to wake…

Transitioning from single contributor to management role

Let me clear this up. Managing is different from leading.

You need a direct report to become a manager. A manager needs subordinates to exercise control. If you perform management functions on top of your day to day responsibilities and no direct reports — you’re just a contributor with additional administrative duties.

Management deals with how tasks are performed (process, policies, and operations). How your team is organized (structure). Know when to execute, how long it will take, and who will do it (planning). Control the cost of doing your mandate without going beyond what’s allocated (budgeting). Identify the right…

Design Operations is more than just having a Design System in place.

Creating systems to manage and tame the chaos


Operationalize you design practice by looking at:

  • Craft — Revolves around the depth and breadth of your team’s technical abilities to transform ideas into forms and shapes.
  • Collaboration — Centers around how you work with someone (work dynamics), how you communicate to them (communication protocols), and how you compromise and resolve conflicts (conflict resolution).
  • Coordination — Defines the operational side of work. …

A process requires effective communication to work — for one, it’s a form of communication that intends to achieve a consistent result.

Linga Franca — a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.


Start by creating a unified definition of your vocabularies. Be explicit and illustrate them with visual and vivid examples. Put your process in writing. Write what you actually do and not the things you want to do. Your process is organizational dependent. Don’t shoehorn process that’s unnatural to the way you work.

Build reliable systems and standardize practice. Create a blended learning program to enrich your resource capabilities. Always simulate new processes to build strong synchronicity.

Finally, align your “purpose” with actionable follow-throughs.

The depth and diversity of your process will depend on the maturity of your organization. Only develop…

An inside look in the belly of the beast. How we created a process from scratch to design at scale.


Background and Context

In a nutshell, we run Frost more like manufacturing rather than creative service. We have to change the way we do things to deliver at scale without increasing the number of people we need to hire.

We can dissect everything because we track everything we do — literally everything. From the time we start our work to the time we leave work. Ok, this might be too much for some. But we are cautious about time — how we use it and where it goes.

This series is part of a bigger narrative of our journey for like-minded people, creative…

Credit: Unsplash

Overtime is frowned upon at Frost.

Overtime means we failed as an organization. We abandoned our people and were unable to protect the resource that’s sacred to us — time.

In an industry where overworked and overtime seems to be the norm, camping out in the office, pulling an all-nighter, or shredding the weekend for work is not a badge of honor. These are the consequences of poor planning. Or worst, committing to expectations we can’t deliver. It is a sign we didn’t do our job well that warrant us to use the time that’s not ours. …

Photo by Lopez Robin — Unsplash

Good work is good work. Yet the road towards it is challenging. It’s littered with roadblocks, objections and a whole lot of self-doubt. Imagine the soul-crushing feeling of going through piles of revisions on the work you’ve poured your hearts out. It’s devastating. And I’ve seen talented people fold. But having the right attitude pushes us to take one more step, to do one more thing, to push through one last time, to take a leap of faith one more time.

Because talent like will power, it’s fleeting in strength. That the only way to move forward is to endure…

John Paul De Guzman

Chief Creative and Founder of Frost Design & Consulting Group — Manila based design agency. Entrepreneur, Designer & Father

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store