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

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

  • Colm TuiteColm Tuite, almost 6 years ago

    What tools do designers at Pinterest use for things like brainstorming, mockups, prototypes, todos, collaboration etc.

    How big a role does code play in the design process at Pinterest?

    What type of tools would you like to see? What parts of the design process do you think we need most help with right now?

    2 points
    • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

      Most people use Photoshop for design. There's a few Sketch outliers, but we're weeding that out because it isn't a viable tool for the work we do right now and it's more important that everyone be able to easily use anyone else's files. I've seen people use Balsalmiq and Illustrator for wireframes, but I don't wireframe often so I can't talk too much about that.

      The organization uses Asana for tasks and bugs. It's not the best, but it works better than anything else out there.

      The design org uses Basecamp to share progress and gather feedback. It sucks, and I'm looking for a replacement.

      In a few release cycles, we're planning on trying to switch to Layervault for some of the collaboration and delivery stuff.

      Many, but not all, of our designers code. Historically its been pretty difficult to develop on our platform if its not your full-time job, but its getting easier and as a result, more designers have been coding. I make a lot of prototypes, but I probably have one of the higher code competency levels on the team.


      I have a LOT of opinions on design tools. I think Photoshop sucks, but its a lot more capable than Sketch. I don't think either is a viable long-term solution. Albeit new and unhindered by history like Photoshop, Sketch is not on trajectory to be the digital design tool of the next two decades as Photoshop has been.

      In a nutshell, a modern design tool needs to have three things:

      1. Advanced drawing and animation capabilities
      2. The ability to import real data
      3. The ability to define behaviors and information architecture

      We have the first in tools like Photoshop, Sketch, After Effects, Flinto, Keynote, etc. But you have to jump between programs to access different parts. There are tools that let you do information architecture, but you can only get to real data and behaviors in code. We're good enough at this software thing that it doesn't have to be like that.

      I have a whole essay on this waiting for me to have time to edit and design some stuff in Editorially. This isn't the last you'll hear from me about this.

      3 points
      • Tierney CyrenTierney Cyren, almost 6 years ago

        What are your thoughts on designing in the browser? Would you prefer that to Photoshop, for yourself and/or for the whole team?

        0 points
        • Justin EdmundJustin Edmund, almost 6 years ago

          No. Designing in the browser lets you iterate on one idea really quickly with very little effort, but doesn't lend itself much to designing many very different directions in parallel.

          In a perfect world, you can either do everything in a really advanced design tool, or switch between code and Photoshop quickly and frequently. Code is good for knowing how something feels and finding weird edge cases, but that's it.

          While I outlined some of its high-level features above, the tool I'd rather the team use unfortunately does not exist.

          3 points