Designers in medium to large firms rely of collaboration, feedback, and an internal design language but that “creative consciousness” gets lost between emails or Slack updates.
Before working at Facebook, designer Chris Kalani saw this problem and collaborated with a friend on a project called Ploject designed to foster this internal communication based on their success of their online design sharing community Yay!Everyday. The project got halted after Kalani took a job at the social network, but there was a similar problem at Facebook. To make the design process easier, Alexandre Roche and the Facebook design team created an internal tool, called Pixelcloud, designed to make it easy to share whatever the designers are working on or any inspirations they came across on the internet.
“At Facebook we had about 50 designers. When the company started growing you used to have a new designer come in and start working on a product like photos. Before Pixelcloud you’d have to talk to designers, or dig through files [to see what others have been working on],” Kalani tells ArcticStartup.
After leaving Facebook, Kalani wanted to get out of Silicon Valley for a little bit and met up with Johan Bakken and Tobias Bæck of Bakken and Bæck, in Oslo, who he knew for years through the internet design community. After jamming together on a few projects they ended up building Wake – partly for Bakken & Bæck’s internal needs but also recognizing it could go international. Today it’s fleshed out into a web, iOS, and Mac app.
“Ultimately we are trying to change the way designers share ideas,” says Kalani. “Instead of holding onto and protecting ideas we want designers to share them early and often so they have a chance to evolve into better design solutions.”
Moving forward the team has set up an office in San Francisco in order to get in touch with the large firms its built for. For sales, Wake is first going after the big tech firms whose design teams can benefit the most from the product.
Currently Wake is in invite only phase, and among those who have signed up are companies like Apple, Adobe, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, eBay and Spotify, as well as some of the most reputable agencies and fashion houses in the world, says CEO of Bakken & Bæck Tobias Bæck.
With the full launch of Wake expected this fall, it will be interesting to see how the product gets picked up by big firms and smaller design houses alike.