2016: Year in Review
At the beginning of each year, we sit down with the studio for a “year in review” meeting. In looking back at a year’s worth of projects, I am always proud of the quality of the work the studio produces and a bit shocked by just how much gets done.
It’s a reflection of our team, their talent and their work ethic. It is also a testament to our clients for the trust they put in us and their willingness to collaborate.
So on the cusp of our 5 year anniversary as a company, I’m pretty excited to share our 2016 year in review — and highlight some of the collaborations that made for a successful year for Studio Rodrigo.
We have had a long working relationship with Jake Shapiro, Matt MacDonald, and the founding team at RadioPublic. In 2015, we spent a couple of days jamming out some concepts on a whiteboard for a new kind of podcast discovery experience. The ambition is big — part Spotify, part Medium, and part Kickstarter — with the potential to change how people connect to audio stories and story tellers.
We’ve been proud to spend the fall working with the RP team to launch version 1 of the app and develop the brand, and continue to collaborate closely with their product + engineering teams to keep improving the product. There’s still plenty to be done, but we’d love for you to download the app and give us feedback. Also, follow RP on Twitter for great podcast recommendations from a who’s who of curators.
Working with media companies that can reach millions of people is always exciting — so when Doug Vance invited us to collaborate with his product team on a relaunch of the ABC News home page and mobile apps ahead of the 2016 election cycle, we were pretty excited. It’s always a bit of a tightrope redesigning a successful product, but we had fun bringing a more modern, visual, and video-forward user experience to a suite of products that need to satisfy a huge, national, and diverse user base and scale across the news cycle.
We had an immediate connection with Openfolio founder Hart Lambur and love his vision of trying to help individual investors better understand, measure, and get advice about their personal financial portfolios. The design challenge, to start, was not to create an app optimized around trading. The traditional “stock up is green / stock down is red” approach to financial data gives unsophisticated investors a misleading impression of how they are actually doing and promotes short term investing behaviors that can be at odds with long term investment strategies.
Working with Hart and his team, we redesigned the Openfolio app, creating a “weather-like” view into personal benchmarks, allowing investors to compare performance against the Openfolio Investor Average, and provide insights into portfolio composition. We also helped the Openfolio re-launch their website and helped advise on the user experience of a chat UI that delivers market insights and helps connect app users to qualified financial advisors. We’re excited to see how Openfolio evolves in 2017!
XFINITY My Account and Self Service
Creating design-led change in big organizations at scale is hard work. We’ve worked closely with the design teams led by Tom Loretan, Heather Hollis, and Robb D’Egidio at Comcast, across a range of XFINITY products and services. It’s cool to see some of the products coming out from Comcast’s internal design teams like X1 on Roku and the X1 Voice Remote (neither of which we worked on). We’re excited to help improve the online account management and self service tools available at customer.xfinity.com.
Amy Spangler has built an incredible brand helping young families with breastfeeding and many of the other joys and challenges of raising children. We are proud to have been able to work with her and our partners at Shift Lab to relaunch babygooroo.com and support the redesign of the baby gooroo books.
Stuart Harvey Lee and his team at Prime Studio were great to collaborate with, and we feel really good about the new Prime Studio website which we launched last year with Shift Lab. A great collaboration that we’re very proud to have been a part of.
We helped Radiotopia develop their initial website and mark a few years ago. As the podcast network has established itself, grown, and matured, it was time to revisit both the brand language and the site. We love our long term collaborative relationships, and we are pretty happy with the outcome. It’s great being able to support some of the best storytellers around! Check out the new Radiotopia site, as well, which we just helped relaunch.
We had no idea the phenomenon Serial would be when we started working with the team on the Season 1 website. The challenge with Season 2 involved creating a new graphic identity for a new story, while extending the overall site architecture to support the anthology approach going forward. Collaborating with Whitney Dangerfield, Seth Lind, and Rich Orris at Strange Bird Labs resulted in a great little site.
The 2016 election was a tough one for our studio. We are deeply concerned with policies that are being enacted that are fundamentally at odds with the values of our studio. We were proud of the response of our team, led by Matt Cassity and Lian Fumerton-Liu, in launching Pinpal to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. We quickly sold out the first run, contact us if you are interested in supporting a second run.
Also, if you haven’t seen it already, please read our previous post about our studio’s core values.
We had a lot of fun in 2016 beyond projects.
We upped our swag game. We took some road trips. We bought some beers for folks.
What’s up next? 2017
Already excited for:
- cool stuff in the works from the crew at This American Life
- the launch of Jetty, a new approach to insurance
- a fun collaboration with Dmitriy & Co
- some fun work with Seeso
- a tasty new app from Murray’s Cheese, working with our friends at Posse
- Kedi, a charming new film from Oscilliscope
- getting B Society off the ground with the team at GroundUp
- more activism, like Hands Too Small, Can’t Resist Them All
Thanks for reading!