Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten is the much beloved author of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and host of Barefoot Contessa on Food Network. We had the pleasure of working with Ina and her team on the complete redesign of the Barefoot Contessa website.

Our aim was threefold: to bring the effortlessly delightful and heartwarming Barefoot Contessa brand experience to life online, translate Ina’s beautiful and thoughtfully considered approach to each step of our process, and increase engagement and conversion across the site as a whole. In order to do so, we needed to get to know her and her brand intimately: sharing meals, studying her cookbooks, and spending focused time together to understand her vision, goals, and audience.

We sought to create a refreshed digital hub for the brand that is warm, welcoming, and authentic, just like Ina, for two key audiences: young, aspiring cooks and long-established Ina enthusiasts. We defined two major tasks at the onset of the project: design a seamless experience that merged hardcover cookbooks, searchable cookbook indexes, and digital recipes, as well as create a new editorial strategy that pushed her traditional blog to a more structured distribution platform that highlighted the brand, voice, and topics of Ina’s world.

For the visual design of the site, we created an intuitive and modular UI (user interface) system with a lot of open white space and beautiful, easy-to-read text. Our main objective was to showcase her content without any unnecessary design elements or ornamentation.

Ina and the Barefoot Contessa brand are synonymous with quality, attention to detail, warmth, and care. Our hope was to create a site experience that embodied all of those qualities and most importantly was authentic and true to her.

Studio System

StudioSystem by Gracenote is the entertainment industry’s most powerful database offering rich film and television information. We worked with core stakeholders and led them through a usability and design overhaul of the platform. We partnered with User Experience expert, Tamara Adlin of Adlin, Inc. to define clear measurable business goals and identify prioritized personas to truly understand the needs of our key users. This work set the critical foundation for our user experience and visual design work to come.

One of our key challenges was to appeal to StudioSystem’s wide range of users while making the most of the capabilities of this robust database. On the one hand, we needed to meet the needs of our power users; those who are using StudioSystem to run projects and make smart, data-driven decisions. Complex and advanced features like list-building, tracking, side-by-side comparisons, and advanced search needed to be readily accessible and best-in-class. On the other hand, we needed to accommodate and delight our users that are using the database to get snapshot information quickly, easily, and on-the-go.

Some of our User Experience work included: templated detail pages for actors, agents, agencies, films, and tv shows / series; industry snapshot pages for the latest up-to-date information in films, TV, and digital; unprecedented capabilities in Advanced Search to return highly targeted results for People, Projects, Companies, and Casting; canned and user-created lists and searches; box office performance comparison; custom event calendars and much more.

We were also tasked with revitalizing StudioSystem’s visual identity system. Given the importance of user experience for the project, it was fitting that the logotype was inspired by a central component in the user interface. The blue bar is a key indicator of selections made when using the database. The new identity reflects the platform’s deep pool of high-quality industry data and positions the company as best-of-breed within the competitive landscape.

East River Esplanade

The East River Esplanade extends over two miles along the East River waterfront in New York City from the Battery Maritime Building to Pier 35 in the Lower East Side. The project is focused on revitalizing the existing waterfront space and improving the quality of life for local residents and visitors alike. The first phase of the East River Esplanade project opened to the public in Summer 2011 and aims to be completed by the end of 2016.

We worked with SHoP Architects, NYCEDC, and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to develop the East River Esplanade’s new identity and signage system. The cornerstone of the system is the logo which doubles as an abstract letter ‘E’ as well as a visual representation of the esplanade and it’s adjoining piers. We worked with the core project stakeholders to create a robust, cohesive, and flexible signage system for the park. The system contains wayfinding and informational signage that is modular and multilingual to cater to the diverse audience base of one of New York City’s most popular tourist destinations.

Magnitude Capital

Magnitude Capital is an investment firm that manages global, multi-strategy hedge-fund portfolios and related vehicles with total assets of $3.8 billion. We were tasked with re-envisioning the firm’s website to better illustrate who they are, what makes them different, and why prospective audiences would choose to work with them. We also refreshed their visual identity system and focused on highlighting their unique approach to investment while retaining the brand DNA of the legacy identity.

We worked closely with the client to develop and define the website redesign strategy which was the foundation for our user experience and visual design work to follow. Our primary goal was to make Magnitude Capital more accessible and attractive to those who are not familiar with them and to humanize the firm’s brand and story. We enlisted the support of photographer, Henrik Olund to capture the human faces and personality behind the firm. We worked to simplify the content structure and design hierarchy so our key messages could be easily digested and understood by a range of audiences.

The name of the firm is inspired by the concept of ‘stellar magnitude’ which is the measurement in astronomy of the brightness of stars. Magnitude Capital, in its essence, assesses the brightness of stars within the investment galaxy. The refreshed logo is a starburst contained within a square which represents the discipline of their investment approach. It also speaks to their commitment to finding ‘corners’ of the market with opportunity. With our new identity system in place, we revamped a suite of communications materials including corporate stationery, print collateral, digital presentations, investor kits, and environmental signage.

First Leaf

Firstleaf is a one-of-a-kind service that tailors wines selections to your personal taste and offers a smarter way to discover wines you’ll love. They bring hard-to-find gems from around the world and reserve these exclusive, small-batch wines for their members. Each bottle is not only the best; it’s the best for you because they select only custom wines from the world’s greatest vineyards and match them to your tastes.

We worked with co-founders, Philip James and Erik Steigler to design the end-to-end online experience and the core visual brand identity. The target audience for the service is an older sophisticated wine connoisseur and a younger wine enthusiast. With this broad user base, the service required an extremely accessible design system. We focused on mobile first with a simple, yet elegant interface designed to increase engagement. We wanted to humanize the product recommendation engine and put the emphasis on micro interactions and a distilled set of core user tasks.

The visual brand identity was designed to represent the best-of-breed product, curation, and service that the company offers while also showcasing it as an aspirational and trusted brand. The logotype is a customized wordmark in which the lowercase ‘i’ also reads as a numeral ‘1’ and nods to the name of the service. The triangle logo visually symbolizes a bunch of grapes and represents the unique service differentiator of six bottles (instead of the traditional case of twelve) that are featured in every box shipped.

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