Case Study by Irina Khvalova RGD, Principal at Colourphill
BeMused Network is an online marketplace for performing artists. It offers SaaS (Software as a Service) solution that streamline business processes, enabling performers and presenters to grow their careers and engage audiences. It also generates unique individual and collective audience insights that are crucial for targeted audience engagement.
BeMused Network empowers independent performing artists and presenters to not merely survive, but to thrive as they create and share their art in a rapidly changing marketplace that is clearly engulfed in today’s network-economy. Colourphill Design is proud to have been a creative and digital partner of such a pioneering technology endeavour with a direct social and cultural impact since late 2013.
Colourphill helped BeMused Network establish a brand that the organization could grow into with the objective that it would serve them for the first 3-5 years of growth. It was important for BeMused Network, as with many other start-ups, to establish an image that would reflect who they were without losing sight of where they needed to be.
A marriage of design and technology
Working with a start-up means addressing a variety of interconnected design, business and technical challenges, which require adaptive solutions that scale as the venture grows. One of the challenges of designing for a start-up is the rapid iterations and quick business pivots they experience in short periods of time. At Colourphill, we were very focused on establishing a strong identity that reflects the core values of the company and captures the organisation’s essence while sustaining the quick changes. For instance, while the branding was under development, we collaborated in brainstorming preliminary user interface mock-ups that would articulate the client’s offerings without compromising usability on both desktop and mobile devices.
In December 2013 and in partnership with the Canadian Film Centre, BeMused Network launched their beta website shortly after their successful demo-day through the IdeaBoost programme founded by Corus Entertainment, Google and Shaw Media. Other business partners include Microsoft BizSpark, Ontario Centres of Excellence and Canada Media Fund to name a few.
(Courtesy of BeMused Network © 2015)
The journey continued the following year with Colourphill supporting BeMused Network’s engagement of early adopters through user research as well as interface usability testing to gather business and customer insights in preparation for their second major website release on November 2014. The iOS and Android mobile app dubbed “BeScanned” which allows users to easily and effortlessly streamline their ticket fulfillment from moment of sale to check-in was launched in 2015 with great positive feedback.
(BeScanned mobile app.)
Below are more detailed examples of how our design thinking, user-centered approach and BeMused Network’s technological expertise came together through the process:
1. Branding & Marketing
The branding for BeMused Network was designed to be a living entity, speaking to a diverse market, anchored by a strong and distinctive visual presence. It was applied across social media platforms, content development, digital and print marketing collaterals and video production.
Colourphill developed a fun and friendly identity that suggests both an event ticket and the idea of connecting a network of like-minded people. The logo’s primary font was chosen for its whimsical and marquee-like qualities, which are complemented by novelty fonts and embellishments to reflect the diversity of BeMused Network’s ecosystem of users.
The contemporary colours of the logo offer a vibrant and optimistic feel which contrasts the greys of the website. The darker colours on the site suggest the darkened space of performance venues and the idea of letting the spotlight focus on the artists and performing arts experiences, highlighted in vibrant, editorial-style images.
2. Service Design
BeMused Network integrates a variety of services delivered in the performing arts, such as ticket sales, collaborative networking and audience analytics into a streamlined experience that is designed to meet the specific needs of this sector. Developing service solutions that improve current business processes in the performing arts required a human-centered and holistic design approach.
(User Research Session. Courtesy of BeMused Network © 2015)
As mentioned earlier, participating in user research and focus groups helped Colourphill to not only have a clearer understanding of BeMused Network’s business intricacies but also get a chance to directly interact with the final user of the software platform; An experience that revealed unexpected perspectives and opportunities.
The most important factor for ensuring BeMused Network remains a happy client has been our respective team’s ability to maximize limited resources. Long-term cost-savings and strategic benefits are crucial to the survival of an early-stage business. We are proud to have contributed to their success so far, and continue to be a valued partner for their venture.
1. For a start-up, it is essential to have a design team with strong technical expertise and philosophical alignment about the product. Establishing agreement on the experience we wanted to create was fundamental to the success of this project.
2. Many service providers offer similar capabilities, which makes it difficult to find the right fit. Finding a true partner who looks out for your business needs, helps researching and understanding your customers, takes the time to educate you about the process and takes ownership of their work may take time, but it is worth the effort.
1. While designers and technologists often don't speak the same language, finding common ground and establishing a clear vision is essential. Whether this is done through art direction or system architecture, the bottom line is being able to think through all of the possible design, technical and business applications that a client needs to succeed.
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