is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
I’ve been really flattered and gratified by all of the reactions to Project LayUp, the iPad app for design brainstorming that I’m working on with Adobe. We’ve been toiling away on it for so long in secret that sometimes it’s been hard to know if we were just talking in abstractions, without any real sense of whether the app was solving a real world problem.
As a product designer, the biggest fear is that you’re creating a product for nobody. Even after Adobe ran a study in which we put our early prototype in front of real users for their reactions, the feedback was encouraging but not particularly definitive. Most of them said, “There’s something interesting here that people might use—I might use it myself, but not necessarily.” After hearing that, I worried that Adobe would pull the plug, but to my relief their belief in the idea never wavered. In fact, that was when they expanded the team.
Of course, positive reactions to a five-minute demo don’t necessarily translate into marketplace success, or even into real users. But after working for so many months in relative isolation, and after having also built my share of software products that never really caught the imagination of the public, I’m going to let myself enjoy the good vibes right now, whatever may come.
After my demo at Adobe’s MAX 2014 conference, and after blogging about the project yesterday, we got a flurry of enthusiastic tweets and comments. The thing that’s been most striking to me about the common sentiment among them is that people seem very eager to get their hands on LayUp. That’s still kind of shocking to me.
So I decided to collect a whole bunch of them for posterity; you can see them after the jump. Viewed as a group like this, it’s remarkable to me how the message is so consistent: “Finish it and ship it!” We’re not as close to being able to do that as we’d like, but believe me, we’re definitely motivated to do so.
— arthur amorim (@4rthr) October 9, 2014
— Kyle Piglowski (@piglk001) October 9, 2014
— Jason Robinson (@VafeR) October 9, 2014
— D.Concept (@d_concept) October 9, 2014
— Scott Ritchings (@ScottRitchings) October 9, 2014
— Justine Hand (@jlou_PGH) October 8, 2014
— burgharddrews (@realiconizer) October 8, 2014
— Ali Gambino (@GambinoBambino) October 8, 2014
— Henry Aquino (@henryaquino) October 8, 2014
— Heather Thomson (@hlt72) October 8, 2014
— Sasha Denise Cerrato (@sashadenise) October 8, 2014
— levering (@levering) October 8, 2014
— Ron Huber (@rhuber424) October 8, 2014
— David H. Ramirez (@dhRamirez79) October 8, 2014
— Stephanie Plattner (@splattner) October 8, 2014
— Mario Chaney (@mariochaney) October 8, 2014
— Rebekah McAdams (@RebekahMcAdams) October 8, 2014
— Kara Austin (@kara_austin) October 8, 2014
#ProjectLayup – I want this!!
— Pazzaria Productions (@pazzaria) October 8, 2014
— Justin Lobban (@JustinLobban27) October 8, 2014
#ProjectLayup make it happen NOW
— R. Purser (@H1503) October 8, 2014
— Jaime Claire (@Jaime_jcm) October 8, 2014
Oh, and this one is my favorite. I’ve shared it proudly with Adobe management.
— Brian Bailey (@bbaiIey) October 8, 2014