Be simple. The lightest solution is often the best solution. Minimizing interdependencies is a win.


Be spacious. Empty space is empowering, reducing anxiety while allowing creative expression.


Be focused. There is often a single attribute that is most important by a large margin. Emphasize it.


Be abstract. Ask questions; find the true need + intent behind the expressed need + intent.


Context matters. More important than any element itself is the relationship between elements. A cohesive whole is not defined by its parts – it is defined by the interactions between its parts.


Honor constraints. Choose constraints that evoke thoughtfulness, exploration, and other desired outcomes.


Embrace the landscape. What environmental features or cultural trends can we harmonize with?


Real people. The design process revolves around the human experience. Internally, we do not refer to “users,” but instead “notetakers” and “writers.”


Shared experiences. Humans like being together – encourage and support sharing + collective encounters.


Slow solutions. Devise patient systems that get better as they age.


Tighten feedback loops. Test frequently in real environments. Build iteratively.


Be timeless. Invest in ideas and decisions that are relevant in many circumstances.


Be pragmatic. We don't need many tools – we need the right tool in the right place. The hierarchy of needs matters and should be consulted often.


Dissolve behavior. Make tools invisible.


Embrace imperfection. Oddities are beautiful, and a shipped product is always better than a perfect product.


Coalesce opposites. Combine high-level design with detailed design. Break every rule.


Learn continuously. Every process – design or engineering – is in some way dedicated to heightened understanding.


Nature walks + negronis. Joyous work is more effective, sustainable, and beautiful than painful work.


Ship early. A manifesto, photograph, or mockup is the first version – publish it.


Ship often. Every feature exhibits attributes of a product – grant it the grace of a full design-build-ship cycle.


Embrace uncertainty. Be comfortable making investments with non-immediate and immeasurable returns.


Be contagious. Enable our best ideas to catch on.






This is a living document. Write to us, help improve upon our thinking, and do apply these principles in your own projects.