For creative professionals, the pen and the ruler are among the most iconic of traditional drawing and writing tools. In their search for ways to bring the character and craft of hand work into digital environments, Adobe partnered with us on its first foray into hardware with Ink and Slide, a cloud-connected stylus and a digital ruler.
Adobe Ink and Slide are creative tools that make sketching and drawing on the iPad more natural and fluid. Adobe Ink is a fine-tip, pressure-sensitive pen that gives users greater creative control and precision. Adobe Slide is a digital ruler that lets users draw any shape on an iPad — including straight lines, perfect circles, classic French curves, and more.
Ink and Slide represent Adobe's first foray into hardware, so it was crucial to get the form language, the feel, and the integration into the software giant's products right, while also creating objects that would be both beautiful and alluring enough to resonate with professional creatives.
Tablets and mobile devices have shifted from being content consumption devices to powerful tools for content creation. Adobe wanted to design tools that understand the blurring of lines between desktop and mobile devices, and help creative professionals to seamlessly shift between the two both from a hardware and software point of view.
With Ink and Slide, we designed a creative toolkit that brings a more natural, precise drawing experience to the iPad. Inspired by the triangular rubber pencil grips used by young schoolchildren, the twisted shape of Ink's hydroformed aluminum body provides a comfortable grip and feels great in the hand. A single multifunction button near the base of the pen can be used to power the device on and off and call up a menu of options on Adobe's drawing apps. Users can personalize Ink with hundreds of color options for the LED at the end of the stylus. The LED also gives the user feedback on battery charge and connection to the iPad. The end snaps into a magnetic cap that is both a USB charger and a desktop stand.
Taking a modern twist on traditional tools used before computer graphics and desktop publishing, Slide is digital ruler that takes on the shape of an elongated arch and lets users draw straight lines and perfect shapes with complete control. Slide is completely battery free, and cleverly hides three magnets in its two feet to create a multitouch input that activates a ruler user interface when placed on the iPad. Like Ink, Slide has one button that allows users to access a library of shapes from within Adobe's drawing apps.
It's a daring idea for software giant to decide to get into the business of creating hardware after 30 years. Adobe chose to do just that, gearing up its Experience Design (XD) team to work with industrial designers and engineers to build hardware that inspires software. Adobe recognized that Ink and Slide were key to building the best possible experience for creative professionals–whether they're using Adobe software on a desktop or a mobile device.