Last summer when I was working on a landing page for one of my Photoshop plugins I decided it would be a good idea to give the web font service Typekit a whirl.
After using the service for just an hour I thought to myself, this is awesome and exactly what I wanted it to be, I loved it. That’s when I had this little idea, that I should build a service for designers but most importantly, I should try and build a service that gave it’s users that same feeling I felt when I started using Typekit.
I wanted to build a service designers would love!
The first spark.
So my initial idea came from a plugin I built for Photoshop early 2013 called Pixel Dropr, it’s an extension that lets you manage graphic assets and easily drag them into your Photoshop files as and when you need them.
The plugin went down pretty well with designers but it still got a lot of feature requests. “It would be awesome if the plugins asset library was searchable” and “I want to be able to save my assets in the cloud, so I have better access to them” were just a few of the critiques. If I wanted to add these features I would need to build something bigger than just a plugin for PS, I’d need a web service feeding it.
With this in mind I knew the right thing to do was not make this a Pixel Dropr update as it would be too complex, it needed to be something new.
Another problem I had with Pixel Dropr was marketing it. You see, it was so broad and hard to explain what it’s main use was. Originally Pixel Dropr was going to be specifically targeted at icons because it would make it easier to explain “Hey, this is a tool for managing your icons”. Although my new service would be as broad as Pixel Dropr with regard to the fact you can add any kind of graphic asset to the library, this time I was going to keep the focus fixed on icons and leave it up to the users to adapt the service to suit their needs.
If users want to add other ui assets to their library, they could, but the base target would be icons.
Over the Photoshop wall.
By mid September 2013 I had fully started to develop my new service “TechBox”. Originally my vision was to make this a kind of next generation Photoshop plugin that would bring a web service directly into the PS app, giving designers access to a pre built icon library that was stored in the cloud and also allow them to create their own private library.
At this point I’d noticed a few other plugins had started to surface that did a similar thing, only not as well as mine did it. That’s when I decided to jump over the Photoshop wall and give my little idea more space to develop.
My little idea now started to grow into something bigger, it was heading towards becoming a platform. A platform that would be useful to all designers, regardless of what design app they use.
We all use icons in our designs but we all work with them in different apps, my goal is to make TechBox something we can all use. It’s going to be a challenge but when TechBox launches publicly at the end of the month the basic foundations should be there to work towards this goal.
I’ll be using this feed to show my developments, give you an insight into the many features I’ve already built and all of the ones I have on the current road map.
If you would like to get notified when TechBox launches, you can signup here.
Hopefully you’ll love the service I build,