At The Barbarian Group, we create cool things for the Internet. In our early stages, that meant we created cool things that primarily lived on PCs and laptops. Today, you’re probably reading this blog post on your mobile device or tablet, because the Internet is embedded in the devices that are part of our daily lives. This is good news for The Barbarian Group - we create digital products and experiences that engage consumers across digital platforms of all kinds.

Our Sketch Club series is one way in which we stretch our creative muscles and practice designing for the future. Barbarians from different departments use it to practice thinking about the evolution of everyday products in our increasingly digital world. At Sketch Club, anything goes. Any idea is a potential future. You don’t even have to know how to draw! If you’re less visual, you can write your idea out in words.

We typically start with a group of objects. Some of the objects are so old, they are more like relics  (e.g. cassette tape player). We spend time imagining the future of these objects. What form can they take? What function will they serve for our future selves?

Sometimes we combine objects to create a new product with an entirely new purpose. We bring our ideas to life through Design Fiction storytelling. For example, Jane will have more fun at the beach with her solar powered umbrella, because it can power her stereo. This practice helps keep our minds open to the untamed possibilities of the future.

Feeling inspired by all this talk of the future? Check out The Barbarian Group Sketch Club blog and organize a club of your own!



I’m Justine Takacs and I’m interning with the UX department at The Barbarian Group this summer. I’m a Creative Technology graduate student at the VCU Brandcenter. I keep the user top of mind and aim to #MakeThingsNotAds.

At The Barbarian Group, we create cool things for the Internet. In our early stages, that meant we created cool things that primarily lived on PCs and laptops. Today, you’re probably reading this blog post on your mobile device or tablet, because the Internet is embedded in the devices that are part of our daily lives. This is good news for The Barbarian Group - we create digital products and experiences that engage consumers across digital platforms of all kinds.

Our Sketch Club series is one way in which we stretch our creative muscles and practice designing for the future. Barbarians from different departments use it to practice thinking about the evolution of everyday products in our increasingly digital world. At Sketch Club, anything goes. Any idea is a potential future. You don’t even have to know how to draw! If you’re less visual, you can write your idea out in words.

We typically start with a group of objects. Some of the objects are so old, they are more like relics (e.g. cassette tape player). We spend time imagining the future of these objects. What form can they take? What function will they serve for our future selves?

Sometimes we combine objects to create a new product with an entirely new purpose. We bring our ideas to life through Design Fiction storytelling. For example, Jane will have more fun at the beach with her solar powered umbrella, because it can power her stereo. This practice helps keep our minds open to the untamed possibilities of the future.

Feeling inspired by all this talk of the future? Check out The Barbarian Group Sketch Club blog and organize a club of your own!


I’m Justine Takacs and I’m interning with the UX department at The Barbarian Group this summer. I’m a Creative Technology graduate student at the VCU Brandcenter. I keep the user top of mind and aim to #MakeThingsNotAds.
My ‘Summer At The Superdesk’’ has been enlightening for two reasons: It is an outstandingly large desk (I’m still finding uncharted territory) and I have been immersed into the field of Digital Analytics. In my introduction to my role, the field was described to me as making stories out of numbers. The concept of narrating an excel spreadsheet seemed simple enough to me until I discovered just how intricate these tales could be.

The era of big data is upon us. 2.7 zettabytes of data exist in the digital universe today, and for some reason my Siri still has trouble finding things on a regular basis. To give context, 2.7 zettabytes of data is equal to every person in the Unites States tweeting three tweets per minute for 26,976 years, every person in the world having more than 215 million high-resolution MRI scans a day, and more than 200 billion high-definition movies that would take a person 47 million years to watch.

Digital Analytics offers an opportunity to break down those 2.7 zettabytes into how many page views a website campaign receives or the engagement rate of a marketing strategy. While these numbers are daunting, through programs like Google Analytics or Adobe Marketing Cloud, we are able to effectively interpret Big Data for any client. The Barbarian Group teaches us that their goal is to give clients a competitive edge, and their work with digital analytics definitely puts their money where their mouth is.



My name is Andrew Levitan and I’m the Analytics Intern this summer. I am going into my Junior year at New York University, studying Media, Culture, and Communication.  Give me a microphone at a karaoke bar and I will bring the house down.

My ‘Summer At The Superdesk’’ has been enlightening for two reasons: It is an outstandingly large desk (I’m still finding uncharted territory) and I have been immersed into the field of Digital Analytics. In my introduction to my role, the field was described to me as making stories out of numbers. The concept of narrating an excel spreadsheet seemed simple enough to me until I discovered just how intricate these tales could be.

The era of big data is upon us. 2.7 zettabytes of data exist in the digital universe today, and for some reason my Siri still has trouble finding things on a regular basis. To give context, 2.7 zettabytes of data is equal to every person in the Unites States tweeting three tweets per minute for 26,976 years, every person in the world having more than 215 million high-resolution MRI scans a day, and more than 200 billion high-definition movies that would take a person 47 million years to watch.

Digital Analytics offers an opportunity to break down those 2.7 zettabytes into how many page views a website campaign receives or the engagement rate of a marketing strategy. While these numbers are daunting, through programs like Google Analytics or Adobe Marketing Cloud, we are able to effectively interpret Big Data for any client. The Barbarian Group teaches us that their goal is to give clients a competitive edge, and their work with digital analytics definitely puts their money where their mouth is.


My name is Andrew Levitan and I’m the Analytics Intern this summer. I am going into my Junior year at New York University, studying Media, Culture, and Communication. Give me a microphone at a karaoke bar and I will bring the house down.
For brands trying to engage their consumers, social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, brands stand to profit from building a fan base, garnering likes and retweets, and creating an online forum for engagement with their consumer. At the same time, entering the social media sphere allows dissatisfied consumers to voice their complaints, and very rarely do they do this politely. Deleting posts would be inauthentic, thus many brands are resolving to attend to every complaint and right every wrong. Others, however, have emerged embracing the hate, becoming more self-aware, and manipulating the negative feedback into positive social media campaigns.

Burger King Norway had a problem: Although they had won over 38,000 Facebook fans, the consumer posts on their page consisted of mostly negative feedback and free food demands. From this, the “Whopper Sellout” was born. In an attempt to separate the fans from the sellouts, BK Norway created a new Facebook page and promised their old followers free Big Macs to not like their new page. The result: BK Norway gave away 1,000 Big Macs and their Facebook fanbase decreased by 75%. So, was the focus on quality over quantity the right decision? Burger King Scandinavia Marketing Director Sven Hars seems to think so: “The brand has a much clearer personality and presence on Facebook. There are so many more conversations going on between both us and the fans, and the fans in general.” Not to mention, they were able to free themselves of the ‘fans’ that liked them just because of freebies.

Similarly, Spirit Airlines is no stranger to consumer complaints. This company has decided that they can’t beat their haters, so they’ll join them. Spirit is embracing disgruntled customers in the  “Hate Thousand Mile Giveaway,” encouraging consumers to voice their complaints in exchange for 8,000 free Spirit miles. The airline has been circulating viral videos and plans to give away up to one billion miles, all in an effort to educate their consumers on the Spirit way of traveling. Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza says, “We know many customers love us and our approach to air travel. We’re confident that once the haters see how we’re different, and how much money they can save, they’ll learn to love us, as well.”

In a world where social media has brands bending over backwards trying to please the consumer, these brands are trying something different. It’s a well-known fact that you can’t please everyone, so why not embrace the hate?



My name is Carrie Klemencic, and I’m an account management intern for the Barbarian Group. I recently graduated from Emory University where I studied Psychology and Spanish.

For brands trying to engage their consumers, social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, brands stand to profit from building a fan base, garnering likes and retweets, and creating an online forum for engagement with their consumer. At the same time, entering the social media sphere allows dissatisfied consumers to voice their complaints, and very rarely do they do this politely. Deleting posts would be inauthentic, thus many brands are resolving to attend to every complaint and right every wrong. Others, however, have emerged embracing the hate, becoming more self-aware, and manipulating the negative feedback into positive social media campaigns.

Burger King Norway had a problem: Although they had won over 38,000 Facebook fans, the consumer posts on their page consisted of mostly negative feedback and free food demands. From this, the “Whopper Sellout” was born. In an attempt to separate the fans from the sellouts, BK Norway created a new Facebook page and promised their old followers free Big Macs to not like their new page. The result: BK Norway gave away 1,000 Big Macs and their Facebook fanbase decreased by 75%. So, was the focus on quality over quantity the right decision? Burger King Scandinavia Marketing Director Sven Hars seems to think so: “The brand has a much clearer personality and presence on Facebook. There are so many more conversations going on between both us and the fans, and the fans in general.” Not to mention, they were able to free themselves of the ‘fans’ that liked them just because of freebies.

Similarly, Spirit Airlines is no stranger to consumer complaints. This company has decided that they can’t beat their haters, so they’ll join them. Spirit is embracing disgruntled customers in the “Hate Thousand Mile Giveaway,” encouraging consumers to voice their complaints in exchange for 8,000 free Spirit miles. The airline has been circulating viral videos and plans to give away up to one billion miles, all in an effort to educate their consumers on the Spirit way of traveling. Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza says, “We know many customers love us and our approach to air travel. We’re confident that once the haters see how we’re different, and how much money they can save, they’ll learn to love us, as well.”

In a world where social media has brands bending over backwards trying to please the consumer, these brands are trying something different. It’s a well-known fact that you can’t please everyone, so why not embrace the hate?


My name is Carrie Klemencic, and I’m an account management intern for the Barbarian Group. I recently graduated from Emory University where I studied Psychology and Spanish.
As the sun descended and the dark clouds left the Bowery, I finally felt at ease. Sure my responsibilities were not over by any means, but it meant that I had survived and the first Barbarian Summer Session of the season was now on!

Coming on as an intern in PR just two days prior, I had to put my game face on and take on one of the company’s hottest parties (in more ways than one). Luckily so much work had already been done, leaving me to make sure the day of the event went as smoothly as possible. Thank goodness for the production schedule.

I am a list person. I make a goal sheet and check things off as I go through the day. While that system may work on a small scale, managing a large event or project needs more detail and attention. Organizing to even the minute can make all the difference in the world, bringing you to focus when your mind is in chaos. It forces you to think about one task at a time, so that you don’t get lost in the minutiae.  And since you’re calm, you’re able to manage better and have a better team dynamic. People can thrive or die based on your composure, your body language, and your vibe. I never truly understood this until the night of the event. I fed off of everyone’s eagerness to help, making me feel at ease to give direction and handle any problem that may have come up.

Then comes the most important lesson I learned: Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the success of your hard work. Seeing the guests enjoying themselves, mingling, ravaging pizza, guzzling some choice beverages, I knew that the past 3 days of structured chaos was all worth it. The few hiccups prior were a distant memory to be learned from for next time. Now it’s on to Round 2. Ding!



Hola! My name is Natalia Fallas and I am a PR intern at Barbarian. I recently graduated from Cornell University where I majored in English and Government. I hope to one day be an Olivia Pope of sorts, but this time I do get Vermont.

As the sun descended and the dark clouds left the Bowery, I finally felt at ease. Sure my responsibilities were not over by any means, but it meant that I had survived and the first Barbarian Summer Session of the season was now on!

Coming on as an intern in PR just two days prior, I had to put my game face on and take on one of the company’s hottest parties (in more ways than one). Luckily so much work had already been done, leaving me to make sure the day of the event went as smoothly as possible. Thank goodness for the production schedule.

I am a list person. I make a goal sheet and check things off as I go through the day. While that system may work on a small scale, managing a large event or project needs more detail and attention. Organizing to even the minute can make all the difference in the world, bringing you to focus when your mind is in chaos. It forces you to think about one task at a time, so that you don’t get lost in the minutiae. And since you’re calm, you’re able to manage better and have a better team dynamic. People can thrive or die based on your composure, your body language, and your vibe. I never truly understood this until the night of the event. I fed off of everyone’s eagerness to help, making me feel at ease to give direction and handle any problem that may have come up.

Then comes the most important lesson I learned: Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the success of your hard work. Seeing the guests enjoying themselves, mingling, ravaging pizza, guzzling some choice beverages, I knew that the past 3 days of structured chaos was all worth it. The few hiccups prior were a distant memory to be learned from for next time. Now it’s on to Round 2. Ding!


Hola! My name is Natalia Fallas and I am a PR intern at Barbarian. I recently graduated from Cornell University where I majored in English and Government. I hope to one day be an Olivia Pope of sorts, but this time I do get Vermont.
User-centered design is a design philosophy that places the user’s needs, wants and limitations at the center and has changed the way that we develop websites and mobile applications. Ranging from how to code a website so that it takes the least amount of time to load to choosing the most effective platform for a project to live on, user-centered design-based thinking drives how websites, software and applications are being made.  This type of thinking can also be applied to much more than just development. It can be used for problem-solving, product development, services and much more.

Don Norman, the man who coined the term user-centered design, wrote in his book The Design of Everyday Things, “When you have trouble with things—whether it’s figuring out whether to push or pull a door or the arbitrary vagaries of the modern computer and electronics industries—it’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself: blame the designer.”

For instance, this morning, I woke up to the loud beeping of a cheap alarm clock with only one ring option. While irritating, it wasn’t enough to get me up on the first ring. I got out of bed three or four snoozes later. Using design, how could this alarm be improved so that it achieved its purpose?

Instead of an alarm with only one option, perhaps it could have options of sounds to choose from or the user could change the intervals at which the alarm beeps. If we could change these settings, the alarm would be more disruptive and require the user to rise from their zombie-like slumber. Another simple (and funny) design change could be whether the alarm is stationary or mobile. The user wouldn’t be able to hit snooze if they couldn’t can’t catch their alarm.

As you can see, design thinking can be completely user centered  with thought to the user’s needs and limitations. Some of the examples I’ve included are a bit more extreme, but they consider the user’s behavior as a priority. After all, why buy an alarm clock that doesn’t work or doesn’t achieve its goal? Don’t blame yourself: blame the designer.



My name is Sarah Pai. I thrive on new experiences and chances to learn, which is how I found my fit as a technology intern at the Barbarian Group. I am currently a graduate student at the VCU Brandcenter where I’m working to obtain a master’s degree in Creative Technology.

User-centered design is a design philosophy that places the user’s needs, wants and limitations at the center and has changed the way that we develop websites and mobile applications. Ranging from how to code a website so that it takes the least amount of time to load to choosing the most effective platform for a project to live on, user-centered design-based thinking drives how websites, software and applications are being made. This type of thinking can also be applied to much more than just development. It can be used for problem-solving, product development, services and much more.

Don Norman, the man who coined the term user-centered design, wrote in his book The Design of Everyday Things, “When you have trouble with things—whether it’s figuring out whether to push or pull a door or the arbitrary vagaries of the modern computer and electronics industries—it’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself: blame the designer.”

For instance, this morning, I woke up to the loud beeping of a cheap alarm clock with only one ring option. While irritating, it wasn’t enough to get me up on the first ring. I got out of bed three or four snoozes later. Using design, how could this alarm be improved so that it achieved its purpose?

Instead of an alarm with only one option, perhaps it could have options of sounds to choose from or the user could change the intervals at which the alarm beeps. If we could change these settings, the alarm would be more disruptive and require the user to rise from their zombie-like slumber. Another simple (and funny) design change could be whether the alarm is stationary or mobile. The user wouldn’t be able to hit snooze if they couldn’t can’t catch their alarm.

As you can see, design thinking can be completely user centered with thought to the user’s needs and limitations. Some of the examples I’ve included are a bit more extreme, but they consider the user’s behavior as a priority. After all, why buy an alarm clock that doesn’t work or doesn’t achieve its goal? Don’t blame yourself: blame the designer.


My name is Sarah Pai. I thrive on new experiences and chances to learn, which is how I found my fit as a technology intern at the Barbarian Group. I am currently a graduate student at the VCU Brandcenter where I’m working to obtain a master’s degree in Creative Technology.