A love letter to my prototyping tool of choice.

Should designers learn how to code? If you feel like you want to stop reading right now, I don’t blame you. We have stumbled upon this question so many times that it has become as obnoxious as listening to a designer rambling about the difference between UX and UI.

No matter what the answer is (the answer is yes for god’s sake), basic understanding of code never hurt. And that’s where Framer came in.

Framer filled a gap that no other prototyping tool had offered at the time. It gave us the messiness and familiarity of web technologies and code…


How to get more done, uplevel your craft, and create work that gets noticed.

Reaching the last page of a long and difficult book is a blissful moment. It’s when we get a sense of pride and fulfillment. Whether it’s announcing a product, wrapping up the design of a project, or hitting the publish button. These are all moments of closure, mental milestones where we end something we have done, to create space for something that’s yet to come.

Most of us struggle to finish something, because most of us don’t dare to start in the first place.

We often dread, fear, and feel downright ashamed for unfinished work. It’s not surprising that most…


Why yours should probably be too.

Personal websites are usually like old books in a shelf. They languish, accumulate dust, and their wrinkles and cracks become more apparent over time. About 3 years ago I embarked on a simple experiment that would end up prolonging the shelf-life of my website by an unusually large margin.

Back in 2017, it seemed like Conversational UI was poised to take over the world. We saw Quartz turning news into a conversation, WeChat being featured as the poster-child of a post application world, iMessage turning into an unnecessarily complex mess, and chatbots popping up like mushrooms in moist forests.

Of…


Small losses of privacy have rewritten the rules of messaging and changed how humans feel about each other

Illustration courtesy of the author

Few applications have affected mass consumer psychology as much as messaging apps. While social media helps us build communities, a following, and a digital presence, messaging enables us to stay in touch with people we care about. With the ongoing trend of more intimate and personal communication, a myriad of privacy scandals, and general social media fatigue, messaging is here to stay.

When looking at it from a distance however, it seems like messaging hasn’t really changed all that much over the last two and a half decades. …


How Apple beat Swiss watchmakers at their own game

Image courtesy of the author.

W e Swiss take great pride in watchmaking. It’s no secret that some of the most recognizable watch brands in the world are made in Switzerland. While the notion of a product being “Swiss-made” may seem like it’s been around forever, it’s actually a relatively recent phenomenon.

The first watches that most closely resemble today’s wristwatches were conceived by Peter Henlein, a German locksmith who lived in Nuremberg during the 16th century. These so called “Taschenuhren” were early gadgets, status symbols that only the upper class and social elite could afford. …


The evolution of a well-intentioned technology

Illustration by Evgeniy Dolgov

Few inventions affected our relationship with technology as much as push notifications have. Before modern-day notifications, most of us felt in charge of deciding when we want to use and interact with technology, but now, technology is largely making that decision for us.

It’s easy to blame technology, but it’s important to note that it isn’t technology at the heart of the problem—it’s our own inability to handle it. After all, not all notifications are created equal. …


Finding the essence of a product through continuous elimination

The sculpture of David, one of the most famous sculptures of all time, surrounds itself by as much myth as its maker himself. When the Pope saw Michelangelo’s work for the first time, he looked at it in awe, and asked the famous artist how he could possibly create a sculpture of such utter beauty and precision. Without hesitation, Michelangelo answered:

“It’s simple. I just removed everything that isn’t David.”

Whether the story played out as described above is something only Pope Julius II knows. That doesn’t make it any less remarkable though.

Great design is powerful. It touches our…


Scaling meaning before scaling teams

Great products are made by people who care. As teams grow in size, ownership, responsibilities, and individual impact become abstract and blurred. As soon as ownership becomes ambiguous, products lose their opinion and often end up becoming a mediocre mess shaped by countless compromises.

This is one of the main challenges large teams face today and in order to better understand how we can address it, we need to take a step back and talk about pencils.

Yes. Pencils.


And how to break out of it

Why do some people, some teams, some companies create outstanding work, while others seem stuck in mediocrity? Why do some of us excel in creativity, have better ideas, and find ways to make ideas happen while others don’t?

That question has been on my mind for quite some time now.

The more I thought about this, the more I came to believe that it is less about the capabilities of the individual or the team, but more about the ability to focus.

Focus and attention have become a rare currency in today’s distracted society. Yet at the core, attention defines…


3 design take aways from Apple’s latest smartphone

I’ve been playing around with the iPhone X for a couple of days now. The one thing that surprises me the most is how different it is from all the previous models. It’s the most radical deviation from the original iPhone, and yet — or perhaps precisely because of it — the best update so far.

With it’s high price point, its iconic notch, and a full glass design, it causes a lot of controversy. The type of controversy that gets people to talk and line up at stores all around the world.

Every design has a story. And once…

Adrian Zumbrunnen

Leading A.I. based efforts @Google on Lens and Assistant. Creator of Mindful. Formerly @iA .

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store