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Introducing Contrast: Developer Handoff Reimagined

The internet connection wasn't great. But the announcement that day was...

January, 2007. 12:00pm.

I grabbed my buddy Jono and raced to the Library, my bowl-cut hair bouncing as I scrambled up the stairs. Might be late for my next class.

Plopping my rather-rotund body in the chair by the window, I peeled open the forty-pound Dell laptop.

Fuck. Wifi signal's shit. I inched around, waiting for the 4 bars to stop blinking.

Necks hunched, looking like Lord Farquad meets the Gargoyles cast, we stared at the small screen in front of us.

Today was the day Apple released the iPhone.

"iPod. Phone. Internet communicator. These are not 3 separate devices. This is one device and we're calling it iPhone. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone."

As a Millennial, idolizing Steve Jobs isn't cool. Everyone was doing it and so it got tagged unoriginal—borderline embarrassing. But, as a kid who would wear two tee-shirts to cover his lil man-boobs, Jobs and the brand he created was everything to me. And if we're being honest, still is today.

So, I sat there, sweating through my maroon polo and thick undershirt, heart beating as the keynote ended and the laptop closed. In that moment, I knew I needed the iPhone. More importantly, I knew I needed to build something...

Today, I'm excited to announce we built something:

Contrast

Developer handoff—reimagined for Figma.

Now, I see you. You read the whole intro about Steve Jobs presenting the iPhone and then BAM—you see "handoff tool", a word seemingly synonymous with Voldemort if you're on design-twitter.

But I say handoff so that on a high-level, we can quickly get aligned on what Contrast is. But don't be mistaken, we've reimagined it for the new way we work. It's fast, beautiful, and collaborative—specifically engineered for teams that are remote, component-driven, and love speed.

The problem with handoff

You may also be asking yourself, why did someone build another handoff tool? Is this another design → code pipe-dream?

Well, let me begin by talking about why we built Contrast.

We're a team of designers and engineers. For years, we've watched as the product-development process transformed. It went from

  • Endless stylesheets → React or Vue
  • Local design files → designing real-time in the browser
  • 1,000 slightly different buttons → centralized repository of shared components
  • Building entire pages → siloed components.
  • Simple interactions → complex states and patterns

But as these shifts have taken place, the handoff tools we use everyday have remained the same and areoften expensive and inaccessible.

So we built Contrast because we wanted a new handoff tool. We wanted a collaborative space for our entire team to craft consistent, performant, and accessible components. We wanted a tool that was made for the new way we work—and this is how we're going about doing that:

  1. Fast - Our aim is to help engineers build frontend 5X faster.
  2. Accurate - Not only will you build faster, but also at the highest-quality.
  3. Sexy - We deliver an amazing UX, focused on speed, beauty, and collaboration.

And if that's not enough, there are a million other details that make Contrast what it is, all of which you can learn about here.

Common questions

Hopefully, you're intrigued, but you probably have a lot of questions—so here are some answers...

Does Contrast only work for Figma?

At the moment, yes. Our team personally uses Figma and we think it's amazing. We do have plans to expand Contrast to other design tools but before doing that, we want to make it as great as it can be for Figma first.

I already use Figma for handoff—why should I use another tool?

This is a great question. As we know, many of you probably switched to Figma to reduce the amount of tools your team was using. We get that and we totally understand. But, if you're open to the idea, here are a few reasons why you should be using Contrast:

  1. Features - Contrast is packed with features, integrations, and shortcuts you can't find anywhere else—including Figma.
  2. Separate - Internally, we not only enjoy but need a separate space for "finished" designs that's separate from our exploratory work.
  3. Focus - Our team at Contrast is only focused on making "handoff" as fast, efficient, and as beautiful as possible. We're just getting started and have incredible things planned.

Who are we?

We're a team of designers and Engineers who were in the S18 Y Combinator class. We've been building digital products together for many, many years. We love fast cars (F1) and tea.

How much is Contrast?

If you're anything like us, you've gotten tired of—"I want to add my teammate but our company will go bankrupt due to the trillion dollar upgrade." We hate that feeling so we got rid of it. We made our pricing simple, straightforward, and fair.

  • Free - $0/month - 5 projects, unlimited users, and unlimited integrations.
  • Pro - $99/month - Unlimited projects, unlimited users, and priority support.
  • Enterprise - SSO + SAML, advanced user permissions, and centralized teams. Email brendan at contrast.app to learn more.

How do I start using Contrast?

Start using Contrast for free here.


As I sit here, editing the last few sentences, I'm reminded of that feeling I got when watching Jobs on stage—showing a device so cool, so beautiful, so groundbreaking.

I'm no jackass, this is obviously not the same thing as an Apple keynote. But it's a start. It's what Jono and I have wanted to do since we were kids.

My hope is that Contrast might help you build something beautiful too—something you may just want for yourself or to share with the world.

I hope to hear from you all soon. The good and the bad. From all of us here at Contrast—thanks so much and talk soon,

Brendan

Co-Founder, Contrast