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8 Design Principles at Framer

A set of guidelines that keep our product team aligned, focused, and productive.

jorn

Jorn van Dijk

April 5, 2018

8 design principles

Here at Framer, we’ve set out to build the best tool for interactive design and prototyping, and one of the best ways to do that is to ship early and ship often. Shipping is hard though, and as we grow our team we know it will only become exponentially harder.

That’s why we’ve put together a bunch of lessons we’ve learned over the years and turned them into a set of principles that our team lives and breathes by. These values drive our work and collaboration together, and we hope they do the same for you—whether you’re a designer working with peers or a manager looking for a way to motivate your team.

1. You are not your work.

We want you to do the best work of your career at Framer, and that’s not easy. You might try your best, but sometimes the output isn’t necessarily shippable or up to our standards. Trust your peers and managers to support you, give you feedback, and push you forward. Always remember that it’s not about you, it’s about putting the best work out there.

2. Make haste, slowly.

One of our favorite mantras at Framer is festina lente—more haste, less speed. In order to do your best work, make sure you understand the problem you’re solving, write down a plan, then execute, validate, and iterate. Problems and solutions evolve as you get a deeper understanding of them. Work quickly and don’t spend time on details until the end—just polish and ship.

3. Push for change.

Most people don’t like change because it’s easier to maintain the status quo. But in order to win, we need to change, as uncomfortable as that may be. When your teammates push for change, support them and don’t dismiss their ideas just because change can be scary.

4. Friction is your friend.

We all want to feel fulfilled and do really great work, but those things don’t always go hand in hand. Great work doesn’t happen in a vacuum and friction is a totally natural part of the process. Your work will always benefit from collaboration and peer feedback, so try to have fun while you’re at it. Be kind and respectful to each other and you can expect the same treatment in return.

5. Follow the data.

In 1995, then Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale infamously said: “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” There’s no better way to validate work and improve your product ideas than to set metrics and see how they perform. Data is your friend and will help you make better decisions in the long term. It’s important to learn how to analyze it and use it to your advantage.

6. Always be shipping.

Though shipping can be hard, it’s the only way to validate what we think will work. We ship often and we ship fast. Not shipping would be way easier, of course, but we’ve never been one to take the easy route. Instead of letting ideas float around, put those ideas to work and ship something. Once you get your ideas out there, validate them by tracking and setting metrics for success. Learn, iterate, then ship again and again.

7. Commits count.

It’s easy to get caught up in busy work. Meetings, phone conversations, long discussions, great process—these all add up to a lot of lost time. Busy work is not unimportant work, nor is it even bad work. Having meetings to align the team and finding better time-saving processes are worth a lot, but ultimately it’s not the kind of work that drives results, nor does it make the product or the company better. Only productive work does that, so find a way to cut out as much of the busy work as possible and only focus on what counts.

8. Forgiveness over permission.

It’s easy to wait for permission before tackling a problem. Don’t. Think for yourself, show initiative, and take ownership. No one will hold it against you when you work through a problem and then ship your proposed solution, even if you make mistakes along the way or are wrong in the end.

None of these principles are hard and fast rules, but we use them as guidelines to help steer conversations and remind ourselves what has worked in the past. Things tend to change pretty rapidly in startup life, so we try to learn as much as we can from each experience and will continue to update these values along the way.

Interested in joining the team and helping us develop a great culture? Check out all our openings and help shape the future of design from the heart of Amsterdam.

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