Goodbye Guardian

 by Martin Belam, 21 June 2012

Today has been my last day as a permanent member of staff at the Guardian. Whilst emptying my locker I came across the sketch-book I used when I’d just got the job. Here is the first thing I drew for the Guardian - an unused mobile view of how the Guardian Cities / local blogs project might have turned out.

Guardian Cities sketch

And this was the last one today.

The Last Drawing

I’m not severing ties with the Guardian completely. I’ve still got books to write and edit, I’m blogging regularly for the Guardian Media Network, and I’m running a Guardian Masterclass “So you think you want to be a UXer?” in August.

If I had to make a snap judgement on my time at the Guardian, here are the wins and regrets that come to mind...


  • The Guardian website still doesn’t use proper curly quotes, nor the webfont versions of Guardian Egyptian.
  • Sending an SMS to someone about something confidential. Except actually sending the SMS to Twitter and publishing it by mistake.
  • Although I built a couple of things, I never quite got a working hack day app deployed to the web.
  • I didn’t find out how to get on the mailing list that would have told me that the Magnetic Fields, Low and Adam Ant (amongst others) were doing live music in the building.
  • Search on and Guardian apps is nowhere near as good as it could or should be. I never found a way to make it glamourous enough to fix.


  • Being at the sharp end of the relationship between an analogue company that is nearly two hundred years old and a digital one that isn’t yet ten. The Guardian’s Facebook app has been the most fascinating project of my career to date.
  • Hiring some really good people with skills that the company needed.
  • AC Jimbo idly chatting to me about the quality of the coffee machines. [Fan-boy squeeeeeee!]
  • I’ve learnt an incredible amount about building sustainable technical architectures.
  • Being able to travel the world talking about the work I’ve been involved in.
  • Guardian Beta exists.


As you may have seen, I’m leaving the Guardian to start a new digital consultancy - Emblem - where I’m going to be working with organisations and start-ups in the publishing, media, arts, heritage and culture sectors. If you’d like to find out how Emblem might be able to work with you, then please contact

Oh, and you can currently unlock the @angrybet Easter Egg on my profile page with the Konami Code. Genius.


Keep up to date on my new blog