Ever since “desktop publishing” upended graphic design practice, we have spent countless hours discussing and griping about the tools we use and their influence on the designs that we make. But outside of a few limited forays into amending dominant software, designers have generally turned away from the business of creating the tools themselves, leaving that task to software engineers and developers.
Mixel, created by designer Khoi Vinh and developer/coder Scott Ostler, is one of the first of what I hope will be many tools created outright by designers. It is beautifully limited, rough and intuitive, a virtual sandbox for collaging and sharing images. While Mixel is aimed at a general audience, it is a free yet social space to make stuff outside of the confines of Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop, and therefore addictive for designers.