Is Framer the next design tool unicorn?
PLUS: Send your heroes a quick text
Designing for Delight
A @tinystride publication
The Year of Framer
Has Framer been everywhere on your feed? Like, 90% of your Twitter feed and all over your email newsletters?
Yeah, you’re not alone. Framer is the new kid in town right now. And we all can’t stop talking about it.
Here’s the funny thing though. It’s been around for a LOT longer than most people realize.
For most of its life, Framer has been a fancy prototyping tool and a first-class animation library.
The big breakthrough happened only just recently, with the release of Framer Sites in 2022.
That’s the Framer at the center of all the hype.
The new Framer is more than just an evolution of the original product. It’s a big pivot for the business. It’s a comprehensive website builder and hosting platform, rivaling other low and no-code site builders like Webflow, Squarespace, and Wix. Designers can build responsive sites with complex animations right in the tool, then hit Publish to set their sites live.
In the niche community of people using and supporting Framer Sites, there’s incredible energy. The community is filled with positivity and experimentation.
It feels like the early days of Figma or Webflow when people just started discovering those tools and finding a new sense of freedom and creativity while migrating from big incumbents.
I think Framer is catching on because it fundamentally feels empowering. It’s absolutely pioneering in the space. It allows designers to ship their work up to their own standards in an interface that feels almost like using a design editor.
If you haven’t yet, grab an account and start playing. You might be tempted to join in the hype.
A few enticing Framer links from this week
Send your heroes a quick text
I have a virtual “board of directors”: a list of public people whose perspectives on life, design, and business I respect.
When faced with a decision, I’ll dig through podcasts, blog posts, or Tweets for their take on my issue to let them weigh in even though I don’t have access to them directly.
Designer Luke Wroblewski let a language model loose on his 27 years’ worth of blog articles, and designed a chat interface that lets visitors have conversations with a virtual Luke about all his content.
If my “board of directors” all had chat interfaces to their body of work like Luke, it might get almost as good as talking to them in real life.
Character AI is doing something like this with public personalities and fictional characters. Ever wanted to chat with Shakespeare or Oprah? Now’s your chance.
I think this is a genuinely helpful use case for AI chat. For people who don’t have access to their role models, contextualized advice from chat models trained on a public corpus could mean the difference between getting directionally accurate advice and no advice at all.
Worth your time
Photography is Dead. Just Admit It and Move On. There Is No Hope. — You might have guessed it from the headline, but this article is a sassy take on how AI will impact photographers (or won’t). A recommended read for folks in any creative discipline.
PosterLad — Have ya’ll been keeping this secret from me? PosterLad is an independent poster store with a variety of beautifully designed posters at reasonable prices. I just discovered them, and already have a few in my cart. I can’t wait to hang them in my office.
Typography Manual by Mike Mai — This is a nice quick Typography 101 primer. It’s a short read, more of a punch list than a tutorial. My favorite section: Mike shares a basic type scale you can use and drop right into your design system rather than trying to create a scale from scratch.
Building a Product People Love: Q&A with Figma’s Jenny Wen — A really enjoyable read from Jenny at Figma. I love the section on what the Figma design team calls “riffing”:
Tweet of the Week
for any creative career to flourish and persist, you must become acquainted with rejection. noes will outnumber the yeses, but all you need is one yes.
— alex medina (@mrmedina)
Apr 21, 2023
That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading!
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