Unlocking the Creativity Within Designers
|Company||Sharpen + Google|
|Role||Co-Founder, Lead Developer|
|Work Type||Web Development, Design, Branding|
It all began on a dreary January weekend, in an apartment on the outskirts of San Francisco.
One of my closest friends and fellow designer Arman Nobari tipped me off about a side project he was working on to create an app to help designers practice and prepare for job interviews. It was modeled after the same simple but effective techniques he used to land his dream jobs in silicon valley.
After a weekend of hacking, we proudly presented our first version to the world through ProductHunt, Reddit, and other places. We were astonished to see the traction: more than 15,000 users visited the site in the first 30 days.
In early 2021, Google licensed custom-built versions of the Sharpen generator to be used as part of their Grow with Google UX Certificate.
The original homepage
From the beginning, we set out to build a fun, simple, easy-to-use tool to help inspire designers to improve their craft with lots of practice.
We were also fortunate to receive so much initial support, that we were inspired to iterate and expand the product, adding different generators like a STEM educational generator, and building out a user account layer to enable designers to save their favorite prompts and do even more.
I worked primarily as the lead full-stack developer for the project since its inception. My co-founder Arman, has led our design process while we both collaborated on the larger vision and roadmap. Our first version was as bare of an MVP as it gets: a single page app with a single button, running on Angular.
Since then I've taken the lead on re-building the app a few different times, most recently written in Vue.js and with a user-account layer powered by Firebase. We have also refactored our generator logic many times over the years, and now deploy variations of the original generator with different content (check out our STEM generator).
The latest version of the generator
One expansion of the product included building out a user layer to support a more personalized experience. Designers can create a free account and save their favorite prompts for later inspiration. We have many new features planned for these users that are currently under development.
Users can save their favorite prompts for later inspiration
Anthony is one of the highest-impact people I've ever worked with in my 10-year career. He combines strong design craft with detailed execution, and has impressive web development skills to match. He's one of the few who can take a concept from design-to-deployed single-handedly, all while still considering the needs of the end-user and the business. He's a powerhouse, and is super kind & supportive as a teammate.
Co-Founder, Vault Labs
Grow with Google UX Certificate
In early 2021, Google licensed 3 custom-built versions of the Sharpen generator to be used as part of the assessments in their Grow with Google UX Certificate.
Google used custom-built versions of the Sharpen Generator as part of their Grow with Google UX Certificate
The Sharpen educator pricing page
STEM Educators can unlock premium lesson content
To date, Sharpen has been used by more than a million people around the world, from bedroom desks to classrooms and even in corporate board rooms. Sharpen.design remains available to the public for free use, with more updates planned in the near future.