It’s been quite a couple of decades for design.
Over the last 20+ years, design and technology have both grown up from fields that only affected relatively few people into truly foundational parts of every business. In particular, over the last 10 years or so, design and technology have become so connected and intertwined that it’s hard to think of one without the other.
My experience with design stretches back to school, where I was lucky to be exposed to design and design thinking by giants like David Kelley and Terry Winograd and Mitch Kapor and later at Apple by Don Norman — true pioneers who taught me to think about intentionality of products and how to build by thinking about users first. They quite literally changed the way I thought about the world.
As a result, since I’ve been at Greylock I’ve been looking for entrepreneurs and products that can move the field forward even more and even faster.
Then I met Dylan Field and Evan Wallace and learned about what they wanted to do with Figma, and for design — and a ton of things clicked into place.
Figma will make it so much easier to design together. This is a huge step forward for an industry that has evolved so much and so quickly, but for which the tools have stayed essentially the same for decades.
The PC, then the web, and lately mobile & cloud, changed how we interact with information and each other. Across almost all industries, we went from being solitary and isolated to being social and collaborative. Open source, and then GitHub, fundamentally changed the way we write code. Google Docs, then Quip and Slack, are changing the way we work, and how we’re approaching productivity and building technology.
But while we’ve evolved the way we build technology many times in that span, we haven’t really changed the way we design all that much. We are designing with fundamentally single-player tools that are really oriented towards a world of print — a landscape dominated by Adobe. Adobe has been an incredible steward and enabler of design over 30 years. But design has changed. It’s more dynamic, and needs to range across many devices, and, crucially, designers now need to work with more people — developers and product managers and more.
Figma moves design forward in to our modern era of real time collaboration. They’re introducing a new way for creative teams to work on interface design projects so that painful & annoying issues such as version control, cross platform compatibility, and soliciting feedback without installing huge software are no longer problems. The product makes the interface design work itself profoundly more social and collaborative; it’s now trivial to share and iterate and fork and contribute.
So I’m very happy to announce that we’ve invested in Figma. Greylock led the Series A along with the excellent folks at Index Ventures, and along with Danny Rimer I’ve joined the Board.
Here are Dylan’s thoughts on the space and today’s announcement.
Go take a look, and get on the preview release list — hopefully you’ll be as excited as I am to improve the way we do design together.