Hello friends! It’s been a while.

Last time we talked, Frank gave you a little insight into why we are building Abstract: “The majority of a design job is orchestrating the team, ensuring visual consistency, updating stakeholders, documenting decisions, interpreting feedback, and delivering the work for implementation. When you look at it this way, it becomes clear. We don’t need more visual tools. We need help managing our work and how design relates to the rest of the organization.”

It felt like there was a collective head-nodding as people shared the article. It should come as no surprise, especially once you see our workflows are mostly workarounds. It’s 2016 and the primary means of managing our work is folders of folders of files named iOS_app_final_final_seriously.sketch. And don’t get me started with the unintended pain I inflict on my co-workers (Josh Brewer's conflicted copy 2016-11-01) when we want to open the same file at the same time. But we manage, quietly longing for a day when we might have something akin to what our engineering counterparts take for granted: proper tooling to support the work. For now, we have duct tape, twine, and some gum to hold ours together. Yay! We’re the MacGyver’s of our industry!

It is quite clear that better workflows are needed, and they become crucial when matched up against the sudden cultural shift in the way businesses think about and interact with design. Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Fast Company, Wired, and countless other publications are covering the importance of design in today’s competitive landscape. But hiring a bunch of designers isn’t enough. In order for design to flourish in any organization, designers and our counterparts throughout the company need a common infrastructure for all our tools. We need a platform that supports the way modern designers work and illuminates the design process for the rest of the organization.

“We really push each other to make sure that we’re trying everything from every angle. Great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone, so the entire project team is expected to contribute their opinions and input.”Karelia Jo Moore, Experience Lead at Huge

We agree with Karelia. And we built Abstract to support this vision—one organized, informative, and connected app for design, integrated into the tools you already know. Proper version control, annotated work, and focused feedback—Abstract keeps it all together.

We are proud to announce that starting today we are inviting teams to join our Private Alpha. We are fortunate to have some great early testers that believe in what we are doing and are providing invaluable feedback as we iterate on the product. We will invite more and more teams each week and expect the Private Alpha to run for the next few months as we prepare the public release of the product.

Abstract is currently only available for Mac and has robust support for Sketch files, with support for more file formats (👋 Adobe) coming soon. If you are interested in learning more about integrating with Abstract, please contact us at info@abstractapp.com.

Until next time,