AMA: I'm Justin Edmund, the first product design hire at Pinterest.

almost 6 years ago from Justin Edmund, Product Designer at Pinterest

  • Ryan LeFevreRyan LeFevre, almost 6 years ago

    Being the first product design hire, when you started at Pinterest how much of the site design was already decided/done? How much of the design changed in the early days?

    Pinterest's design was considered very unique at the time it launched. Did you guys realize that some concepts relating to a "virtual pinboard" worked well on the web while others didn't work at all?

    2 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      I was the first product design hire, which is different from the first product designer, who would be Evan Sharp, our cofounder. He did all of the original design and systems work probably about a year or more before I joined. When I joined, he was working on a visual refresh of the website, which I helped out on. My first project was the mobile website (which sadly is still online).

      I think that at least initially, Pinterest was considered unique because it was very, very visual and organic in a way that many other websites at the time were not. If you think about sites like Facebook and Twitter, those were text-heavy streams with the occasional photo. When you think about FFFound and Dropular, the former was just a bunch of images sequentially on a page. The latter is the closest thing you'd find to Pinterest. Both of those two were very designer-heavy and didn't have mass market appeal.

      The early explorations that Evan had done make no assumptions though. There are explorations that are a list of images. There are some where the images are square. There are more where some things are just stripes on the page. He made hundreds of coded iterations before landing on the grid you know today. I think it was much more of an exercise in patience, exploration and iteration than some sort of magic insight.

      3 points