Framer, an Amsterdam-based visual design tool company, is announcing it has raised $7.7 million in venture capital in a round led by Silicon Valley venture fund Accel.
Framer makes a full-service screen design tool aimed at graphic designers.
The company said it’s now possible to design everything from detailed icons to high-fidelity interactive apps directly in Framer, putting the former code-only prototyping app in the same league as established industry tools like InVision, Sketch, and Figma.
Beyond Accel, the round included existing investors Foundation Capital, Designer Fund, and AngelList. The investment will be used to ramp up product development, hire talent, and invest in design education and training.
In 2017, Framer increased its enterprise accounts tenfold, onboarding tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as agencies such as Huge, Work & Co. and Frog Design.
The app is also steadily gaining popularity in Asian markets like South Korea and China. The launch of this built-in screen design tool allows Framer to claim a larger piece of the workflow of top product design teams worldwide, as the app now offers designers the same specs as graphics tools like InVision, Sketch, and Figma directly within their own interface.
“We’re betting on something that our competitors aren’t — that designers will want a tool which does both high-fidelity design and prototyping. We were already the best prototyping tool on the market, so we spent this year integrating a complete visual and graphic design interface into the same app,” said Framer cofounder Koen Bok, in a statement. “We looked at the other screen design tools on the market, honed in on the features that made sense, and perfected them. Our goal was to build something that looked and felt familiar, but with smarter decision-making happening on the back end. Now everything you design in Framer is responsive by default, so you need only to design something once. Based on that, we’re able to accurately reshape and resize your original design across any device.”
As a browser-based app, Framer is able to offer SVG output, meaning designers are guaranteed that anything they design in the app will look exactly the same on every screen and in every browser. Given the rise of retina and high-res displays, this feature is a major selling point.
The obvious upside of having a vector-based toolkit means that now anyone can design illustrations, graphics, and icons directly in Framer, with no code writing necessary.
“The Framer team has already done an amazing job of building the industry’s go-to interactive tool,” said Luciana Lixandru, investment partner at Accel, in a statement. “With the launch of this completely integrated visual design studio, they’ve further cemented their place as the all-in-one design tool of choice for today’s most ambitious companies.”
Framer cofounders Bok and Jorn van Dijk worked at their first company, Sofa, together in 2009. After winning multiple Apple Design Awards, Sofa was acquired by Facebook in 2011. After two years of helping launch major product features at Facebook, Bok and van Dijk realized that the design workflow lacked a tool that would allow designers to create and communicate an end-to-end product experience.
The pair moved back to Amsterdam and cofounded Framer in 2013. To date, Framer has raised $9.3 million in funding from Accel and seed round investors Designer Fund, Foundation Capital, and Greylock Partners. Framer has 20 employees.
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