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Project Highlight: Orsden Web Experience

Orsden is a direct-to-consumer ski apparel start up, aiming to bring style and performance back to the slopes. Sara Segall, a former marketer at Revlon, founded Orsden. Their apparel has been featured in Sports Illustrated and recently wrapped up a Kickstarter campaign to expand their collection.

Orsden’s brand was designed by Anton Anger. The logo features a bear silhouette, which calls out to the meaning of the brand’s name. Orsden comes from the French for snow bear: ours de neige.

 

We came into the project to design and develop a web experience for Orsden. We needed to create a site that aesthetically balances the quality of their skiwear with the affordability of the direct-to-consumer model. This is a dichotomy that a lot of companies have to work around (Warby Parker, Tuft & Needle) and the key is to create a unique experience that is informative for the user. Because they were only selling two products at the time, we created an experience that felt full with the capacity to grow.

Orsden positions themselves as a lifestyle brand—that their apparel is not just for the slopes but also for après. The photography, custom shot in Chilé, promotes lifestyle imagery compared to the industry standard of aggressive sports photography. We also developed a snow tracker that allows the user to see where it is snowing around the world. Jon Arvizu created a custom illustration of a snow bear for the About page.

Originally, we considered building the website on Shopify. However, we soon realized Shopify wouldn’t allow us the flexibility we needed for custom product pages and a blog. We used Craft to build the custom pages and integrated Shopify for the cart and inventory management. Craft allowed for a tailored experience that is simple to use but fast for the user. We also initiated speed optimization for the high-resolution images and for the code. The site is responsive, thus accessible from all devices.

We wrote the copy for the site, focusing on the lifestyle aesthetic here as well. The main headline “For Those Who Don’t Hibernate” ties together the ours de neige imagery while exciting the user with some initial energy. The copy combines the technical and the experiential. It teaches the user about the research and development of the apparel while celebrating the Alpine lifestyle.



Project Highlight: My Birthday Playlist

My Birthday Playlist collects the #1 Billboard hits from your birthday every year since you were born. It populates a timeline of all the songs and allows you to export your playlist to Spotify.

We developed this little web application as a holiday project after returning to the studio the first week of January. The idea was to develop something that fostered a sense of nostalgia, something that would encapsulate your life in a simple playlist.

My Birthday Playlist

Development:

It seems simple, but logistically, creating My Birthday Playlist proved more complicated than we had anticipated. First, Billboard doesn’t offer an API, so we had to use a service called Apifier to crawl their site. This provided the data set we needed, but it wasn’t formatted in a usable way. We wrote a Ruby script that took in a file, parsed it, and put it into a meaningful format, which was then put through a JS script that grouped the tracks by year. So, we had the data (finally), but then we had to work through it.

The lifeblood of the app was the ability to integrate the playlist with Spotify. We created a Javascript function that looks through each song and queries against Spotify’s API. Because Spotify’s API is amazing, it was easy to set up the authentication feature.

My Birthday Playlist results

Design:

We designed a minimalistic interface that would be not only simple to use, but also focus its energy on the content. With simple text and functionality, we used the bright colors as the significant visual element of the site. We created an original experience through the type, livening up a relatively straightforward input field.

The visual aesthetic, influenced by Spotify’s use of bright colors and gradients, emphasizes the Spotify playlist integration.



Method + Madness Recap

Method + Madness logo

Method + Madness

Method + Madness is a conference put on by AIGA Arizona chapter every year during Phoenix Design Week. It is, by far, the design highlight of the year here in Arizona. This year, we had the opportunity to emcee the conference, which went well. We didn’t even pull any of the stunts we joked about.

Instead, we immersed ourselves in the conference. We heard people speak about their strengths and the things they have learned throughout the course of their careers. We listened to designers ask practical questions about the business of design. Most importantly, we spent the weekend with our community, talking about the work we love doing.

We took some notes during the presentations, and we thought we’d share them with you.

Method + Madness emcees

Great Moments of Method + Madness

“Designers are heat-seeking missiles looking for imperfections.” Julie Anixter

“I’m interested in occupational imagination… We should be encouraging students to choose missions, not majors.” – Stephen Tepper

“Education is a battle for what young people will know.” – Rick Griffith

“You have to not lie. Which means you have to work with people you trust.” – Rick Griffith

“The internet is killing our ability to tell and listen to stories.” – Dan Christofferson

“We are navigators of complexity. It’s our job to get shit done.” – Antionette Carroll