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.+
Way back in early June I put together a survey on Typeform all about design tools. The questions asked about the preferred software that designers are using today for tasks like brainstorming, wireframing, user interface design, prototyping and more.
The survey was open to the public for nine days, and in all I got just over 4,000 people from all over the world to take it—a pretty wonderful response, especially since I had started the whole thing as a bit of a lark.
In fact, my original plan was to share the survey results as a simple blog post. But as I began to see the volume of responses, and the intense interest in the results from many people, I realized that I could do something a bit more elaborate and illuminating with the data I was collecting.
So I called my friends at Hyperakt, a design studio in Brooklyn, NY who have done lots of projects in which they extract interesting stories from raw data. I asked them if they would like to take a crack at doing the same for this survey; that is, would they distill the data into actual findings, and also, while they’re at it, take artistic license to design a beautiful presentation out of the results?
The result is what you see today at tools.subtraction.com, where you can you explore each of the categories that the survey asked about through Hyperakt’s wonderfully produced information graphics. I could’t be happier with the outcome; even though the survey is very unscientific, I think it offers a very revealing look at what’s happening in this quickly changing, highly volatile, golden age for design software.
My many, many thanks to the Hyperakt team including Deroy Peraza, Jason Lynch, Eric Wang, Radhika Unnikrishnan and Wen Ping Huang, all of whom put so much exquisite effort into every tiny detail of these findings. Also tremendous thanks to Typeform and its co-founder David Okuniev; their brilliantly elegant survey software was essential in making all of this happen.
Finally, if you find these results interesting please sign up at the site to be notified about next year’s survey as well. Yes, I plan on making this an annual event if for no other reason than, based on what we’ve seen in the design tools market recently, the best is still ahead of us.
Update: Here are some links to coverage of the survey findings:
- O’Reilly Radar: “Survey says: Be promiscuous with your design tools”
- It’s Nice That: “Designers’ ‘most-used tools’ unveiled”
- A List Apart: “Design Tools: What Are You Using?”
- Fast Co. Design: “In The Age of Photoshop, Most Designers Still Prefer Brainstorming on Paper”
- Cool Hunting: “From Pencil to Photoshop to Dropbox: 2015 Design Tools Survey”
- The Daily Heller: “And What Are Your Favorite Tools?”