My Favorite Stuff of 2019

The List

Design Tool: Drama — Beta
Design System: Chicago Design System
Portfolio: Bruno Simon
Illustrator: Mercedes Bazan
Typeface: Eczar
Favorite Book: Shape Up!
Stock Photos: AI-Generated Photos
Free Illustrations: Illustrations Co
Free Resource: Basecamp Personal
Course: Learning Music by Ableton
Case Study: Slack Kit
Most Fun Site: User Inyerface
Most Fun App: Patatat
Coolest App: Poolside FM
Add-On: Notion Templates
Animations: Lottie Files
Game: Luigi’s Mansion 3
Movie: Marriage Story
Podcast: The Daily
TV Show: BoJack Horseman Season 6 (part 1)
City I Visited: Mexico City
Song: Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Metronomy. 
News: No More Political Ads on Twitter

Best Design Tool

Drama — Beta

This new design tool came out of nowhere. Drama is surprisingly robust. You can easily create complex animations using keyframes and connect scenes to create interactive prototypes with events. Drivers allow you to create interactions with drag gestures. And you can morph layers between artboards a la magic move if your layers are called the same. I’m impressed! I recommend testing the Beta and judge for yourself.

Favorite Design System

Chicago Design System

The public visual identity of the City of Chicago. It’s a comprehensive, equitable, cost-saving system for City communication and for public use to show civic pride. I love that includes everything from flags, city seals, accessibility guidelines, and UI elements.

Favorite Add-On

Notion Templates

Notion pages built by their team and community. You can duplicate any page with one click so you can make it your own! You can find templates to get you started for 2020 too!

Favorite Stock Photo

AI-Generated Photos

These are headshots that are created from scratch by AI. These are people that don’t exist—kinda scary, actually. All images can be used for any purpose for free. You can filter by categories and tagged database of headshots.

Favorite Illustrator

Mercedes Bazan

Mechi is a fantastic graphic designer and illustrator from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She currently works as the brand designer at Stripe and a print designer at Increment magazine — a software engineering magazine. Her illustrations, heavily influenced by anime, have characters draped in bright and vibrant colors, drawn with elegant light strokes. Dope stuff.

Favorite Free Resource

Basecamp Personal

Free project management software that is great for freelancers, students, families, and personal projects.

Best Book

Shape Up by Basecamp

Shape Up is for product development teams who struggle to shape, build, and ship. Written by the innovators behind Basecamp. The book gives teams language and specific techniques to address the risks and unknowns at each stage of the product development process. I've started using their principles on a project and it's been fantastic!

Favorite Course

Learning Music by Ableton

Ableton does it again by creating an interactive crash course of music-making lessons. No prior experience or equipment is required; you’ll do everything right here in your browser. You’ll learn about using midi to create beats, chords, and melodies. In case you missed it, their last course on Learning Synths was also amazing.

Favorite Free Illustrations

Illustrations Co

100 awesome illustrations during 100 days of illustration challenge made by Vijay Verma. You can download all illustrations completely free and use these to design landing pages, mobile app or presentations.

Favorite Case Study

Slack Kit

After noticing inconsistencies, quirks, and discrepancies in their product, the team at Slack decided to work on a new design system. In this article, they share how they centralized standards and documented the bits and pieces that make Slack. They call it Slack Kit.

Favorite Portfolio

Bruno Simon

An insane WebGL portfolio by creative developer Bruno Simon. You use a truck to navigate a field where you’ll be able to see some of his work, play bowling, jump in ramps, and destroy things. Buckle up, turn the sound ON, and get inspired ASAP!

Most Fun Site

User Inyerface

This site is the embodiment of horrible design practices. It’s a game that challenges you to use boxes, forms, buttons, and pop-ups in a horrific way that will, for sure, infuriate you. Give it a try. Hate me later.

Most Fun App


Be careful. If you’re like me, you’re gonna find playing with Patatap addictive… this web app turns your keyboard into a music instrument. By pressing any letter on your keyboard, you’re gonna hear weird sounds with beautiful simple animations playing on the screen. Turn up your volume and start jamming!

Coolest App

Poolside FM

Poolside FM is a retro digital oasis for the summer. The music, the style, the videos — everything on this site is fantastic. The vibe makes you feel as if it’s 1987, and you’re laying back by the pool on a hot summer day. I also recommend just listening to their Soundcloud playlists, in case you’re on the road.

Favorite Typeface


Eczar is a calligraphic serif typeface by Vaibhav Singh. It’s available for free on Google Fonts. The family offers five weights, giving you a wide expressive range. I especially like the heavier weights for display purposes.

Best Animations

Lottie Files

Check out this collection of Lottie animations from some of the coolest animators out there. You can test your animations made with Bodymovin and perfect them here. I love projects that collect open source files and make them available for anyone. I truly believe that sharing is an act of love!

Favorite Game

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Yes, I’m recommending a kid’s game. Why? Because it’s so damn fun! You get to vacuum, slam, and blow ghosts inside a haunted hotel to rescue your friends, Mario, Princess Peach, and the different toads. Each floor has different atmospheric music and a ghoulish décor theme like a concert hall, a disco, a museum, and a film set. The graphics, bosses, animations, and puzzles will keep you playing. I recommend using the co-op mode with your little nephew/daughter/son/niece!

Favorite News

No More Political Ads on Twitter

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced in a tweet that the platform would no longer allow political advertising on its platform. “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Dorsey tweeted, in a thread explaining the reasons why. This move comes a week after Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled on Capitol Hill as he defended FB’s controversial policy about not fact-checking most political ads. Yo!

Other Stuff:

Favorite Movie: Marriage Story

Favorite Podcast: The Daily

Favorite Show: BoJack Horseman Season 6 (part 1)

Favorite City I Visited: Mexico City

Favorite Song: Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Metronomy. 

What about you? What was your favorite stuff this year? I would love to read your opinions! Reply with an email or DM me on Instagram!

2019 Sketch Together, No rights reserved.

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