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The Designer's Toolkit: What Tools Do Shortcut Designers Use? 

Erika Carter

We’ve covered the tools our product managers and software engineers use at Shortcut; now, what about the tools our product and brand designers use, you ask?

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what’s in our tech stack.

But wait a second. We can’t talk about our tech stack without first talking a little about our design principles, which guide us in everything we create, including our super cute mascots.

Our Design Principles

  1. We sweat the details.

Design will ultimately decide if we succeed or fail as a business. As Charles and Ray Eames once said, "The details are not the details. They make the design." This quote is remarkably accurate in the context of our competitive market.

We believe that scrutinizing the little details leads us to a perceptibly higher degree of craftsmanship and quality.

2. We make it delightful.

We should always be looking for ways to make a task or a decision easier, even delightful. Those ways don’t just appear in the project scope on their own - it’s our job to add them and keep pushing until we get to something delightful.

3. We make it familiar.

For most tasks, people shouldn’t need to read documentation to understand how to do it. We’re building a cross-functional product that every person across the organization should feel comfortable using.

As Alan Cooper wrote, “Software should behave like a considerate human being.” So we keep it simple, consistent, and familiar.

4. We find elegant solutions to every problem.

Solving 100% of the problem often means you end up over-designing and introducing unnecessary complexity. We consider solving 80%, 50%, or even 0% of the problem.

As John Maeda wrote, “The best solution is the one that creates the fewest new problems.” We take a step, measure, learn, rinse and repeat.

Our Design Tech Stack

Figma

We use Figma for product design. Figma helps us create, share, test, and ship better designs from start to finish. It consolidates many of our tools, and most importantly it allows us to collaborate across teams and time zones - which is important for many remote companies and startups. With Figma, all team members and stakeholders can literally be on the same page.

“Figma is such a good tool for real time collaboration - meaning multiple designers can work on it at the same time. Also, it means that everyone is looking at the right version.” – Lead Brand Designer at Shortcut

Procreate

Procreate is a great tool for creating hand-drawn illustrations. Since our illustrations lean heavily on a hand-drawn style, this makes a lot of sense. Procreate helps our brand designers create our brand illustrations. Procreate is also great because it’s a one-time purchase software.

“It’s incredibly powerful for how cost-effective it is, and even has built-in animation toolkits.” - Brand Designer at Shortcut

Illustrator 

All of our vector-based elements are created using either Figma or Adobe Illustrator.

Shortcut

Who, what, wait, Shortcut? Yes. We use Shortcut to track workflows and collaborate on work with our software engineers, product team, marketing team - everyone! It’s where we keep our company Roadmap and track our Epics, Stories, Milestones, Iterations, and tasks. For software development teams, It’s the only powerful project management tool without all the management. Try it for free.

Docs (formerly Write)

Docs is Shortcut's very appropriately named documentation tool, a new way for you to create Docs for your team (or yourself!) that works seamlessly with the rest of Shortcut.

For example, you can highlight any text in a Write Doc and create a Story from that text that will forever be in sync across Shortcut. That way, if an engineer updates that Story while they're working in the code, it automatically updates in Docs.

We think this is a game-changer in product development and much more collaborative than, say, Notion, which our design team used to use, before Docs. We’ll be rolling this out to everyone in July - stay tuned for more details.

Sign Up for Shortcut For Free

Want to learn more about our Shortcut designers? You can. By the way, what tools do you use? If Shortcut isn’t already part of your tech stack then please, by all means, give us a whirl and sign up for a free trial.

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