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Illustration by Amardeep Gupta (

Saying goodbye to Virgin Atlantic 👋

In June I was made redundant from my role as Product Design Manager at Virgin Atlantic. The writing was on the wall as soon as this pandemic started and whilst there are no hard feelings and no regrets, I can’t help but feel like one of the lucky ones.

Never mind empowering design teams to challenge the status quo or helping shift mindsets from delivery to outcomes. Nope, the challenge for Virgin Atlantic and aviation as a whole is a lot more immediate than that — survival. Accepting this harsh reality helped me realise that this isn’t the time or place to help build and nurture a user centred design mentality and thus not a place where I see my career continuing. …

It’s not very often in your career that you have the opportunity or unfortunate circumstance of having an extended period of time off of work. Only once in my career have I ever had the confidence and courage to leave a job with nothing else to go to just so I could take some time off and recharge my batteries.

In 2015 I decided to leave my job at DigitasLBi after a long stint of living and working in London.

I was so burnt out, frustrated and missing my friends and family in my hometown, Brighton. I had some savings to fall back on and thought this was as good a time as any to take a sabbatical. I was scared shitless to hand in my notice without anything else to go to but deep down it felt like the right decision — I had to go. …

My wedding day … the greatest day of my life. Bizarrely this also happens to be the day that I accepted a role as Digital Product Design Manager at Virgin Atlantic. Whilst I was sipping champagne and smiling for photos I had no idea that I was about to embark on the toughest design project I’d ever work on, creating a digital design system for one of the largest & most loved airlines in the world, Virgin Atlantic.

Below is an account of what I’ve learnt on the journey so far.

Before you ask, no, I haven’t met Richard Branson yet
Before you ask, no, I haven’t met Richard Branson yet
No, I haven’t met Richard Branson yet 😞.

The challenge

Create, govern and promote a digital design system that will guarantee a world-class user experience across our entire digital estate including the website, app, in-flight entertainment systems (the screens on the back of the seats), check-in kiosks and more. …


Ed Vinicombe

Senior Product Design Manager at BT. Founder at

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