62 comments

  • Daryl GinnDaryl Ginn, over 3 years ago

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet?

    49 points
  • Bill Labus, over 3 years ago

    Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or ten duck-sized horses?

    7 points
  • Benjamin DautonBenjamin Dauton, over 3 years ago

    Have you ever suffered from the impostor syndrome?

    7 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      Oh man, you have no idea…

      I fear every project I start working on. My wife hears me saying every single week how lucky I've been so far but how I'm sure this one won't work. Patrick (Stripe's CEO) hears me saying every other month how I'm sure I'll be fired in the short term. You'd think I'd gain some confidence over time but it's pretty much the opposite.

      I realize it might sound like false modesty, but I swear it's true.

      29 points
      • Patrick CollisonPatrick Collison, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

        I can confirm that this is true. It's really ridiculous.

        (That part aside, Ben is one of the best people I've ever worked with.)

        4 points
  • Stuart Regan, over 3 years ago

    What websites do you use for inspiration (besides Dribbble), for Stripe and/or other projects?

    6 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      Pretty much nothing, actually. While some inspiration is important, practicing is crucial. Designers (me included) are often lazy or too attached to the first versions of their designs. In my experience, the following iterations are always better. I'm convinced you grow more as a designer by doing more than seeing more.

      74 points
  • Sam GarsonSam Garson, over 3 years ago

    Hey Benjamin. One of the things I love most about Stripe is the consistency of your brand over all your products, not just visually but experientially (read: how easy Stripe makes absolutely everything).

    Could you put a finger on how you guys stay on brand and on focus, and how you've kept that consistent experience everywhere, once you found it?

    5 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      That's very interesting, in fact, as we've recently had a lot of discussions about our inconsistencies. I think it's very telling that we're worried about that while external people seem to highlight consistency as one of our strengths.

      I think consistency is inherently hard, and I'm afraid there's no good answer. We all love when every page from a site feels like it's part of the same thing, yet I'm convinced it's essential to break consistency in order to explore new visual treatments. A page like Bitcoin is "inconsistent" with something like Subscriptions but I feel like it'd have been unfortunate if some rigid guidelines would have prevented me from doing it.

      6 points
      • Austin Kettner, over 3 years ago

        Adding to that, consistency has the issue of requiring balance on both ends. Often in simpler designs, but sometimes in more complex ones, you run into the issue of pages feeling too similar and invoking a sense of boredom/blandness.

        Just wanted to say great work at Stripe, you guys are doing a truly awesome job. On a weekly basis someone links me one of your pages as an example of 'great design' or an example of what they would like to see.

        1 point
      • Sam GarsonSam Garson, over 3 years ago

        [dunno if you'll even see this but for consistency I shall reply...] I guess I've not been exposed to all your products, and you've rightly said that some things (like bitcoin) deserve inconsistencies, and own them.

        It's an interesting answer enough to find out internally you guys struggle with keep things consistent as well. Cheers!

        0 points
      • pjotr .pjotr ., over 3 years ago

        A page like Bitcoin is "inconsistent" with something like Subscriptions but I feel like it'd have been unfortunate if some rigid guidelines would have prevented me from doing it.

        That's an interesting insight. I actually think they are consistent. They have a consistent aesthetic. Maybe the UI is different but the feel of "Stripe" is apparent on both. I like that each page has brand consistency but it's own personality as well. When a site has templates they tend to make everything a bit boring. Having marketing pages that are individualistic makes for a better visual design imo.

        2 points
  • Philip LesterPhilip Lester, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

    Been following your work for awhile and you're definitely on my top 10 designers list. Thanks for taking the time to do this!

    Curious about your position at Stripe. Do you simply design/build what you're dictated? Or do you discuss strategy and approach with the higher ups? I've noticed that great designers seem to have a solid understanding of business too, so I'm curious how much influence you have over product direction.

    Also curious about any special design processes in place there. How does the Stripe team go about posting concept designs, providing feedback, etc.?

    4 points
  • Tyreil PTyreil P, over 3 years ago

    Being a UI designer and Front-End Developer, do you build prototypes using HTML/CSS/JS, or do you find yourself using tools like InvisionApp, Marvel, Framer, etc...?

    4 points
    • Benjamin De Cock, over 3 years ago

      I don't often build prototypes. Simple ugly wireframes are usually enough for me. When I need to test some animation or behavior though, I just do it using vanilla html, css and javascript.

      6 points
      • Tyreil PTyreil P, over 3 years ago

        After wireframes, are you designing in Photoshop / Sketch, or are you designing in browser ?

        5 points
  • Donnie ✌, over 3 years ago

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for doing this.

    If a designer started working at Stripe today, what would be the first things you'd want them to do or be exposed to?

    2 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      Howdy, David!

      Working on the site would definitely be a priority. We’ve been growing fast, and it’s been hard to keep up with product releases and page updates. There are quite a few pages that are now really old (eg: https://stripe.com/about) and that’d greatly benefit from some love. We’re currently 4 designers and a 5th one is joining us next month. We’d be more than happy to welcome a few more friends though :)

      6 points
      • Joel Van WertJoel Van Wert, over 3 years ago

        Hey Ben! Thanks for doing this. Great insight so far!

        Are all 4 designers UI designers or are there different roles for each? If they are all the same what are the reasons?

        0 points
        • Benjamin De Cock, over 3 years ago

          While we all have our specialities, we pretty much all have the same profile. UI designers are imo very well-suited for Stripe as most of the stuff we ship require more than "just" a good visual treatment. In my experience, UI designers like to solve real problems and think about complex use cases and scenarios, which makes them also good at things like web design as they'll naturally try to simplify the message and build a good browsing experience.

          3 points
  • Ryan Boye, over 3 years ago

    What advice would you give a new designer who aspires to fill a similar role? It seems that many larger companies tend to silo those responsibilities to different teams. How does Stripe bridge the gap between design and development to a point where you can contribute to both?

    Sorry that was like 5 versions of the same question.

    2 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      Ryan,

      Unless you really want to join a big company for personal reasons, I'd highly recommend joining a small startup instead. Startups are usually messy as they still don't have the structure and resources to let you focus on just one thing. As a result, you do a lot of different stuff. That might look suboptimal at first sight, but it's a great way to get your hands dirty!

      4 points
    • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, over 3 years ago

      I currently work at an early stage startup. I ended up doing UI design, web development, and branding. It's great to be able to do a wide variety of things as a junior designer and high school student.

      3 points
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, over 3 years ago

    What were the beginnings of your becoming a designer like, (parent who is a designer, childhood dream, etc?) and where did you learn the basics?

    2 points
    • Benjamin De Cock, over 3 years ago

      Daniel,

      My dad was an architect, which, in hindsight, wasn't that far away from what I'm doing as a "hybrid" designer/developer. It combines "art" and technical skills, which is exactly what I love about my job.

      I went to the CAD in Brussels. It's a good school, and I definitely learned a lot about typography, branding etc. but I learned most of web stuff by myself.

      2 points
  • Kelly SuttonKelly Sutton, over 3 years ago

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for doing this AMA with us today. One question, several parts:

    Where did you come up with the idea for UI Lang? Where would you like to take it? What kind of new languages or tools do you think can be made in the same vein?

    2 points
    • , over 3 years ago

      Hey Kelly,

      I have many designer friends who don’t code. They’re great at what they do, but code (or at least JavaScript) isn’t something they’re excited about.

      I find it extremely frustrating that the tools won’t let designers express themselves. As far as I can tell, they’d love and they’d great at crafting nice behaviours because they usually care about this stuff much more than developers do.

      So I created uilang as an attempt to get them started. I don’t care if they stop using it after just a few hours. My goal is just to help them take the plunge into programming. uilang is “an appetizer for JavaScript”. It’s something developers have a hard time to understand, but many designers told me how uilang really helped them to get started.

      You can read more about the philosophy behind uilang in this article on Medium.

      4 points
  • Nico VancampNico Vancamp, over 3 years ago

    Hi Benjamin,

    Out of curiosity, what setup & tools do you use for your work?

    Thanks for doing this!

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Nico,

      I design everything in Sketch. Heck, I don't even have any Adobe software installed! Sketch had a rocky start and, to be fair, there are still some annoying bugs here and there but overall, it's pretty much the perfect UI design tool for me.

      As for front-end development, I use Vim as my text editor and nothing but vanilla html, css and javascript. I don't use preprocessors, libraries and frameworks. I love to learn how to do things by myself, and I encourage other people to do the same :)

      10 points
  • Raven Yu, over 3 years ago

    Hi Benjamin,

    Huge fan of you and your team's work at Stripe. I noticed Stripe just got a new designer on the team. Recently our team has grown a little as well and we're struggling with finding an efficient way to collaborate. Every designer has his/her visual style and opinions. If the design guidelines are too restrictive it'd upset them and the products wouldn't evolve but without very detailed guidelines things can get quite inconsistent. I'm wondering how your guys tackle this issue over at Stripe?

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Thanks Raven!

      That's a very good question actually, and it's something we're often discussing.

      We tend to hire designers who have similar visual taste in order to keep things consistent naturally. We don't have a style guide, we just force ourselves to stay fairly consistent with the global identity. It's been working pretty well so far but I'm not sure it's gonna scale forever. Time will tell!

      3 points
  • Rafael RinaldiRafael Rinaldi, over 3 years ago

    What are the approaches that you guys use at Stripe to ensure visual consistency? (code guideline, pattern library, visual regression testing, etc)

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Hey Rafael,

      I answered a few other questions about visual consistency but, in short, we don't have any tools or documents to ensure we're doing the right thing. Part of it is because we're still a small team and consistency just happens naturally (most of the time :D). As I previously mentioned, I like the have to freedom to explore new visual styles as it helps me to keep improving and refreshing the site.

      2 points
  • Jeff ShinJeff Shin, over 3 years ago

    Hey Benjamin,

    How do you like being in a hybrid role at Stripe, doing both design work and shipping code? What's your time split like between the two? Do you carry a project from design through to development?

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Jeff,

      I'd leave immediately if Stripe would prevent me from being a "hybrid". I code probably less than 20% of my time, but I absolutely need these 20% to be happy, not only because I love front-end development, but also because I often need an "artistic break". I admire people who can design 100% of their time, but I can't.

      It's great to be a "hybrid" at Stripe because Stripe will let you do whatever you want. When I can do the whole thing by myself, I definitely do it. But that's obviously rarely the case as developing stuff for a payments company is usually not trivial, to say the least :p

      8 points
  • Hunter CaronHunter Caron, over 3 years ago

    Any tips for an aspiring UI and Frond-end dev who is currently in Design school?

    I love what you said about iteration, it really helps as someone who is still trying to figure out my process.

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Steal! Joking aside, you learn so much by copying existing stuff. Believe it or not, I used to be the worst icon designer in history. But by trying to copy the amazing icons I was seeing on Dribbble, I learned some techniques. I noticed where they usually place lights and shadows. I discovered new ways to draw vector shapes. And eventually, I could develop my own style.

      Creativity and technical skills are two very hard separate things. Try to separate them to make the learning process easier!

      6 points
      • Oz ChenOz Chen, over 3 years ago

        Can you please expand on this one point of separating creativity & technical skills for easier learning?

        I'm imagining that you're meaning learning how to make an icon (something more visual/creative) vs coding a website, but I don't want to misinterpret it because what you're saying sounds potentially like a great learning hack

        2 points
        • Andy SmithAndy Smith, over 3 years ago

          What I make from this:

          Learning how to use design tools, Sketch in his case, is different to creating an icon from scratch. You might have a great idea in your head, but can't create it.

          Use copying others to build your technical skills, then once you have the technical skills you can push your creative side, because you have less constraints

          3 points
  • Daniel ReeseDaniel Reese, over 3 years ago

    Hi Benjamin. What are your thoughts regarding Material Design. Step forward, or over simplifying a complex process?

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Hey Daniel,

      I’m super excited about it, and it's a step forward imho. While I do have some reservations about some visual choices, I’m glad Google is now taking design seriously. Heck, I’m even tempted to say they’ve actually taken the lead with this flat design style that Apple seems to struggle with… Exciting times!

      7 points
  • Daniel FoscoDaniel Fosco, over 3 years ago

    Hi Benjamin,

    Congratulations on the recent Stripe bitcoin page, fantastic work. Which resources would you recommend for people getting started with UI animation on the web?

    I've started using FramerJS recently and wonder how much of a gap it is to actually ship the code that FramerJS outputs.

    Thanks for taking the time for this!

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Thanks Daniel!

      I think you’re doing it right: Framer is a fantastic tool and while the coding part might be scary at first sight, it’s in fact a big win in the long term. If Framer was a purely visual tool, the gap from Framer to CSS/JS would be much harder.

      As for the resources, I’m not aware of great tutorials/books but I’d recommend learning by yourself. The technical side shouldn’t be a blocker, especially if you come from Framer. The hardest part is definitely in the “artistic” approach: finding a good rhythm, the proper easing, the appropriate effects. Keep practicing, it’s the best advice I could give :)

      7 points
  • Danny RuchtieDanny Ruchtie, over 3 years ago

    Are you still living in Belgium? If so how is the collaboration going with your team (assuming your working in a larger team).

    How did you and up working for stripe and do you have any advice for a guy wanting to work for a company like stripe?

    1 point
    • , over 3 years ago

      Hey Danny -- great question!

      I'm still living in Belgium and, yes, the big timezone difference is definitely challenging. I travel to SF fairly often in order to mitigate that issue.

      That being said, I love being remote. I work in a very quiet environment, which is essential for me. I just can't focus and be productive in a noisy office.

      It's been working pretty well so far. Stripe's extremely open about pretty much everything, so it's not hard to find the info you're looking for. And since designers have a lot to say at Stripe, you can imagine a lot about the products we'll be doing without having to require some kind of validation.

      I started working for them a long time ago (about 4 years ago if my memory serves) as a part-time contractor. They acquired Kickoff about 2 years ago and I joined them full-time since then.

      2 points
  • Liam MaddisonLiam Maddison, over 3 years ago

    Do you even code bro?

    0 points
  • Graydon SpeaceGraydon Speace, over 3 years ago

    What role do analytics and A/B testing play in your process? Who is involved? What services do you use?

    0 points