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.+
Here is a video preview of Blocs, a new Web design app coming soon from U.K. designer and developer Norm Sheeran. It takes a componentized approach to constructing pages, allowing users to tack on new objects quickly and intuitively from menus of preexisting elements.
I decided to post about Blocs not so much because it looks like an impressive new approach to Web design from an indie developer (it does), but rather as a way of taking a moment to assess the current state of the industry. At the beginning of the last decade, the market for tools for digital designers was a one-company town, dominated by Adobe. There were many gaping holes in the software that was available to us then, but little recourse if one wanted to eschew Adobe’s marquee design apps. Eventually the situation got so bad that many designers came to believe that designing in code was the best path forward.
Now we have tools like Blocs announced several times a year: Affinity Designer, Macaw, Sketch, Pixate and Skala, to name a few. Even if most of these whiff in the market, when you consider that even Adobe has significantly diversified their offerings in just the past few years, it’s hard not to conclude that the landscape has changed significantly—almost unrecognizably. It took a long time to get to this point, but it’s a good situation.+