Design Tools 2018 Hackathon Retrospective

Kerri Shotts
Nov 7, 2018 · 4 min read
Just getting started in Tel Aviv. Photo by Ash Ryan Arnwine.

The Design Tools Hackathon was held in Tel Aviv on Oct. 25–26, with several companies (including the Adobe Fund for Design) sponsoring attendee scholarships. We were proud to present the newly available Adobe XD plugin API at the event.

Presenting the scholarship sponsors, including the Adobe Fund for Design. Photo by Ash Ryan Arnwine.

Oct. 25

Each day began with a short talk from a different speaker, presenting new SDKs or tools to get the attendees excited about building plugins. On the first day we heard about several new design space APIs and SDKs.

Presenting an introduction to building an XD Plugin. Photo by Ash Ryan Arnwine.

I was also honored to give a condensed version of our Adobe MAX XD plugin session. If you weren’t able to attend Adobe MAX or the Tel Aviv hackathon, and are interested in building XD plugins, we covered the following, which should get you started:

After the sessions, all the attendees got to work on project pitches to present to the room. Teams quickly formed around lots of interesting ideas, and then were off to the races!

Hard at work! Photo by Ash Ryan Arnwine

Two teams also began work on some new Adobe XD plugins!

  • “Make It Right”
    This plugin was designed to help ensure that your design meets accessibility standards — essentially an accessibility linter. There’s a huge amount of potential here!
  • “Quotedienne”
    The Spider Twins put together an amazing plugin that is designed to help you communicate more effectively and evocatively. Words are the essence of our future — and yet we often don’t put much thought into the words we choose. This plugin might just change that up!

Work proceeded quickly, and designs and ideas were flowing. The teams showed amazing progress even after a couple of hours with all the new SDKs and tools that were announced.

Oct. 26

Rough seas after a stormy night. Photo by Kerri Shotts.

The night had been a stormy one — and the sea definitely reflected the unsettled weather as we walked to the hackathon in the early morning. But a stormy night wasn’t about to stop the hackathon’s forward progress.

In the morning, we heard some inspirational talks from several speakers. Design systems and UX got lots of love. It wasn’t long before lots of code was being written and teams started getting ready for the demo session.

And what a session it was! Every team had roughly five minutes to present the problem they were solving, how their plugin addressed the issue, and then to show where their idea could go in the future. All told, there were 17 amazing presentations. Each one was excellent, and solved for real-world use cases. In every case, the tools aimed to streamline designer workflows so to make more room for the designer’s creativity.

Presenting “Make It Right” and “Quotedienne.” Photos by Ash Ryan Arnwine.

Next, it was time to declare winners! Each winner got some cool swag and software licenses from the associated sponsors.

The judging sheet. Photo by Ash Ryan Arnwine.

For more on the hackathon winners, be sure to check out this blog post from the Design Tools Network.

All too quickly, the hackathon came to an end. Lots of amazing tools and ideas were seeded, including some libraries and plugins for Adobe XD. We can’t wait to see how all of these will progress in the future. Indeed, the future of the design tools space is bright and vibrant!


Finally, I must give a huge shoutout to the Designer Tools Network and crew who put everything together. The hackathon was well organized, the site was fantastic, and the collaboration was off the charts! Thanks especially to Roy Vanrooijen with whom Adobe coordinated to sponsor several scholarship attendees using grants from the Adobe Fund for Design.

A huge shoutout to our scholarship attendees — y’all were amazing!

Hopefully you’ll be interested in joining us there next year! The hackathon and the attendees were truly inspiring and extremely collaborative, and it was an honor to be a part of that. We‘re looking forward to the next one.

For more stories like this, subscribe to our Creative Cloud Developer Newsletter.

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

Thanks to Ash Ryan Arnwine and Erin Finnegan

Kerri Shotts

Written by

JavaScript fangirl, Technical writer, Mobile app developer, Musician, Photographer, Transwoman (she/her), Atheist, Humanist. All opinions are my own. Hi there!

Adobe Tech Blog

News, updates, and thoughts related to Adobe, developers, and technology.

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