We start our weeks around here with a sync meeting. We meet up and talk about work, but we also share lessons on Creative Careers. This one comes to us from James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits.

Graph showing the power of tiny gains

The power of tiny gains is a mathematical representation of being just 1% better every day. If you do this, you will be 38% better at the end of the year. We focus a lot on competency—being really good and really fast at our processes and knowing our programs in and out.

There are many places to optimize in the margins, finding just that little 1% you can improve. Some of the ways we’ve improved are:


Being really good and fast at our processes and knowing our computer programs. Taking a minute to learn a software program and the key commands makes you much better and faster as you ideate.


Make it better for the next person behind you. Our process documents were some micro improvements that led to overall change because we do retrospectives and update our documents regularly, making them 1% better each time.


We meet weekly on Mondays as a team, sync on work, and share information and lessons. Most weeks, there is a lesson on creative careers or client relations or how to do things well in design and development.

1% Better Websites

We’ve launched a lot of websites over the course of our business. In mid-2023, the total launch count was 117 sites, each of them bespoke design and developed on WordPress. Each time we launch a site, we get a little better by improving our processes and our documentation. Some of our recent 1% gains that you can do on your own website are:

  • Updating the WordPress Gutenberg built-in color picker to match colors for the website we are creating.
  • Testing all forms end-to-end and double-checking that the thank you messages are updated from the defaults and relate directly to the demand-gen form they are output from.
  • Combing through and updating featured images and meta descriptions to tidy up your presentation in search results.

1% Better Brands

We’ve created several brands at Anchor & Alpine, more recently for CyberQP and Millcreek Common. We also often assume new brands from other agencies, and then we take them for their first spin in the real world with our websites, ebooks, and tradeshow graphics. From creating our own brands to working with third-party brands we’ve identified a few things that make a brand a little better every day:

  • Web accessible colors. Brand colors should work hard for you, and that means they are accessible. When you use your brand color for text, it should have a 3-to-1 contrast ratio for large type (over 16px) and a 4.5-to-1 ratio for anything smaller.
  • Grammar and mechanicals. We have a set template we provide to clients to help them with numbering (e.g., you write out any number that is less than three digits) and punctuation (e.g. an em dash ({—} is used between words to offset a thought while an en dash {–} is used between dates. Neither of those is a hyphen {-}, which goes between words that break onto a new line.)
  • Always use an SVG for the logo throughout the website.

By focusing on continuous improvement and taking small steps each day, we help clients gradually build a stronger and more successful brand. Consistency and persistence are key to making significant long-term gains.

1% Better User Experience (UX) Work

Our UX work falls into three main categories: build a product from scratch, take over a product and make massive improvements, or take over a product and make those little 1% improvements that add up to an overall quality of life improvement for users. Some recent UX patterns and processes that we deployed to gain 1% traction to get us to an overall well-used and loved product:

  1. Clean up those Figma files. When UX work is ongoing, there are many people, designers, and developers in the Figma file. Having good file hygiene means we add large section titles, link to work tickets directly from the artboards, and draw a line/recoloring rejected ideas or concepts.
  2. Handle Delete Functionality like its own beast. When working on a product UI, the create/read/update/delete (CRUD) actions are usually lumped in together, but delete is its own special case. We recently created a hierarchy of delete options depending on how loud it needed to be per function. All delete actions have a confirmation modal.
  3. Graceful failure messages. No one wants to do something wrong, so when a user or the platform does something that errors, take a few minutes to craft that message so that people know it wasn’t their fault and what they can do next.

Other Places 1% Makes a Difference

Besides what we focus on at work, there are lots of places this idea can serve you in your overall life. Keeping the 1% better everyday mentality will help you eek out just a little more at the gym. Don’t be scared of those tiny weights at the gym. Adding another 3 pounds to your lifts really racks up over time.

Another 1% you can do is to create a landing spot for your keys and stuff when you come home, then training yourself always to drop your stuff in the spot starts small, builds a good habit, and allows you more time to improve other habits. If you spend five minutes looking for your keys, that’s a lot of time over the course of a year.

Last Thoughts

The power of tiny gains, as exemplified by the 1% better everyday concept, is a transformative force that can lead to remarkable improvements in various aspects of work and life. Embracing this philosophy has positively impacted our processes, website launches, brand creations, and user experience work.

The essence of the 1% better mentality extends beyond the workplace, offering opportunities for personal growth, productivity, and positive habits. Embracing the philosophy of continuous improvement and adopting the mindset of seeking small but meaningful gains can lead to significant and lasting results over time.

Unlock the Power of 1% Gains in UX

Adopt our philosophy of continuous, incremental improvement for unparalleled user experience (UX) design.