PicMonkey: Interface Refresh

UX/UI Designer  |   2017

A web-based photo editing tool for the every-day creative. PicMonkey is as easy to use as Instagram, but robust like Photoshop.


PicMonkey was growing quickly, not only in features but user base. Originally a free photo editor, PicMonkey had grown into a robust design tool.

Our goal was to switch from free to paid subscription. We needed to appeal to power users but still maintain the easy and approachable feel that had become an inherent part of PicMonkey’s brand.

Role & Process

The team was in need of more visual support so I happily volunteered my expertise for the project. As the lead mobile designer, the goal was to provide a solid visual direction the other designers could pick up and move forward with.

Site Audit

I investigated all areas of the product looking for pain points and inconsistencies.


The principal designer and I would brainstorm and present visual explorations on a weekly basis.


I used Principle to illustrate the interaction and animation of panels.

Art Direction

Worked with product leads to approve design direction. Provided guidance on implementation for other designers.



There were several variations of color palettes. The inconsistency was not only frustrating for users but it also limited the product’s full potential. Addressing this was a quick win.


Stakeholders were very interested in injecting brand colors. I showed several options to help educate the team on the need for neutral colors. Allowing the interface to fade into the background lets the user’s designs be the main focus.

Left panel

One of biggest areas I wanted to tackle was simply toning down all the visuals.  They were overwhelming the interface and causing accessibility issues, such as text legibility and contrast. I explored several variations to see how far we could push a cleaner UI.


Although we were looking to appeal to power users, I wanted to be mindful of our existing user base. I didn’t want to lose what sets us apart from programs like photoshop. I strived to find balance between these two. I simplified an outdated and overpowering UI and addressed several UX inconsistencies, developing patterns to build user expectations.


In less than eight weeks a new visual system was finalized and being used by the other designers.

Overall this has been a major improvement over the original and our user base has been happy with the updates.

“It’s so much more polished and easier to navigate”