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Learn about Linear's product design philosophy

The Map of this article: Blog - Learning Linear's Product Design Philosophy

What is Linear#

Simply put, it is a very beautiful and well-designed progress management tool with excellent human-computer interaction.

Linear is a modern project management and issue tracking software designed to help software development teams efficiently plan, execute, and track their work. It features a clean interface and intuitive workflow, allowing team members to easily create tasks, assign responsibilities, set deadlines, and track task progress.

Key features include:

  • Task management: Create, organize, and prioritize tasks, as well as manage subtasks.
  • Visual progress: Track task status through kanban or list views.
  • Collaboration tools: Team members can comment and discuss tasks, improving communication efficiency.
  • Customizable workflows: Allows teams to customize the flow of task transitions according to their own needs.
  • Integration: Integrates with other development tools such as GitHub, Slack, and Figma to fit into existing workflows.
  • Automation: Automates common workflows through rule settings.
  • Analysis and reporting: Provides data insights to help teams optimize workflows and improve efficiency.

The focus of Linear's design is to provide a distraction-free environment that allows team members to focus on their work while making project management smoother and more transparent. It is suitable for small to medium-sized software development teams adopting agile methodologies, especially those that value design and user experience.

How is Linear Designed#

In a large dark background, the web design style of Linear uses gradients, blurs, dynamic flow lights, ultra-thin strokes, micro-noise, outer glow, and solemn sans-serif fonts to organize and decorate interface elements.

Of course, it is more intuitive to directly visit their website,

Both the interaction and animation are very comfortable, and there are also many imitators. There is even a website specifically created to collect websites inspired by Linear: A collection of websites inspired by Linear: Linears.🖼

Of course, many software can achieve a good-looking appearance, but why are there so many imitators and even a design philosophy? It is because all good looks or color schemes are for higher efficiency. Karri Saarinen, the CEO of Linear (former Chief Designer of Airbnb), said in an interview:

Linear is designed to read as "professional" to engineers, says Saarinen, with a dark gray sans-serif font called Inter on a black background, and a gradient purple sphere for a logo. It's based on the black coding environments many engineers prefer, minimizing battery drain and eye strain.

"Linear's design style is to meet the engineers' requirement for 'professionalism'. Black background, gray Inter sans-serif font, a purple gradient circular logo, based on the dark coding environment that most engineers like, minimizing device power consumption and visual fatigue."

How to Build Products#

The Linear team has tried many management methods that are different from other teams:

  • No product managers, just a head of product. PM duties are distributed across engineering and design.
  • No durable cross-functional teams. Teams assemble around a project and disperse once the project is done.
  • No metrics-based goals. Just a North Star company-level metric goals.
  • No A/B tests. Decisions are based on taste and opinions.
  • Job candidates go through a paid work trial. They join the team for 1-5 days and work on a real project with the team.
  • The team is completely remote. And always has been.

They believe in their own taste and choices, and do not conduct A/B tests. They do not use product managers, only a head of product leads the team, and the responsibilities of product managers are distributed among developers and designers. There are no fixed teams, and teams are formed and disbanded as needed, all working remotely.

They plan the product direction through brainstorming discussions by small leadership groups and founders. They have also made their discussion templates public, which can be directly accessed on FigJam to view the templates: Linear Product Planning Brainstorm Template


To make the goals clearer and simpler, the Linear team does not set any OKRs, only a company-level goal (North Star) is set. They also use a brainstorming-like approach to discuss the overall goals for the year. The template can be directly accessed on FigJam to view: Linear Annual Product Planning Template


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