Role Design Director
Instrumental is a UK based startup that creates commercial partnerships between the world's leading independent musicians and media or brand owners. The founder tapped me to join his small product team and create a prototype of a product called Talent AI. Working in collaboration with key stakeholders and a single product manager, I created a unique branding solution for the business, gathered product requirements and generated user experience and visual design directions for this platform over the course of only 1.5 months. Ultimately, the goal of this exercise was to create a working prototype and business presentation for prospective business investors.
I created several brand design directions for the service. The client then selected their preferred design direction. Conceptually, I drew some comparisson between the user or music industry representative accessing this network of unsigned music artists to a pioneer space traveller discovering a new galaxy. Or better yet, a scientist discovering a tiny empire colonized under their microscope - one that had been there the entire time. I created a brand mark that would reflect this concept - the constellation or clustering of artists abstracted. I then worked with the team to design a landing page and distributed the precreated brand elements across it tastefully. At the time I was quite pleased with the result, and it seems I was not alone as you may notice some of the design elements have since been applied to the parent company Instrumental's main website as well.
At the same time I was generating the brand design direction, I was also working closely with key client side stakeholders to understand their full intent. They provided me with some research they'd conducted previously, handed me a very crude set of wireframes, and together we conducted a competetive analysis of music industry related services and/or include feature sets that they imagined might be included within the prototype we set out to create together. As a group we free-form brainstormed, drafted assumtions, prioritized features and identified the core flows that we indended to include within the presentation prototype. I then at a very rapid pace, created a large collection of wireframes that captured all of our thinking - and of course covered the smaller collection of screen states that would be included within our end prototype. Finally, I worked to extend the brand design system to address the requirements of the build. We created a prototype that addressed login and suggested tiers of paid memberships with corresponding benefits, a presentation of case studies, and most importantly the search experience by which user's would discover unsigned music artists or said artist's specific albums / songs. We also worked to design a prototype that would appropriately articulate how users might then share their discoveries amongst team members. Think groups of record company A&Rs, talent agents and the like.
Every time I look back at this project, I take a deep breathe - and say if only I would have had more time to work on this one. At this time in my career, I was working independently and usually performing many of the duties that would be often distributed across a much larger design team. Considering the timeline of only six weeks, I was pretty pleased with the final result - and apparently I was not alone as the company was later awarded a hefty first round of funding. This project truly taught me the value of time, and gave me a better understanding of how to go about offering aspects of what deserved to be a much longer and more robust design thinking exercise without going all the way. Like design speed dating.
Conrad Whitney CEO, John Kilpatrick
Conrad Whitney CEO, John Kilpatrick
© 2019 Andrew Zellinger