Born Makers creating like possessed artists for Freewrite: a smart typewriter for the digital age.
Bold startup Freewrite seemed our perfect client. Their product appealed to young creatives, like us, and they were open to embracing all the madness we had to offer, which was plenty. We designed a suggested homepage using an animated 3D model of the Freewrite, into which the user can delve and see the inner workings, progressively showcasing the specific features of their product with playful animations and a generous amount of copy.
Freewrite was a new brand targeting writers. Turning their grand introduction into a structure resembling a narrative therefore made sense. We needed readers to access the content in a particular order, scrolling smoothly down the page instead of sporadically clicking random links, which would have interrupted the process. We showcased the content in full sections, always controlling what the viewer sees, on all resolutions. This is a deserving environment for our fine art illustrations, which must be seen at all times in their perfect entirety.
And finally at 2:31am,….“don’t lose your life’s work.” The lock/safe sense of “No Worries,” the writer on vacation, stress-free, secure because he sits on the safe and is covered by protecting clouds. The poor soul/skeleton lost his life work because he didn’t use the Freewrite. Poor, poor skeleton writer.
Minimal design sensibilities are challenged with dominant elements such as full-screen illustration to consider.
Let’s talk about these illustrations, shall we? Unleashing our very own Ralph Steadman loose, we invented the Freewrite world, a place in which cities are taken over by forests, a writer finds peace underneath a giant lobotomised mutant spider, and skeletons twitch on the sand at the feet of a wise writer smiling like a madman who purchased a Freewrite in favour of the more traditional electronic writing tools.
When your audience is saturated with writers – including poets, novelists, professionals and journalists – then you had better make sure the writing is of a certain standard. We’re talking Hemingway, Proust, Hunter S. Thompson. Our writer made intelligent use of playful alliteration and assonance, unconventional sentence structures and appealingly purple prose that borders on highbrow while remaining, without doubt, writing to attract all kinds of writers.
Rather late on in the design process, Freewrite asked for our work to be more “avant-garde” which is exactly the type of instruction we enjoy. In essence, our task was to push the boat out a little further. Our revisions shifted text outside of their containers, making a nonsense of borders, which achieved an avant-garde effect while still adding no superfluous element, which was, of course, an absolute necessity. We’re minimalists, after all. The finished design is an incredible partner to the illustrations and writing.
Great amounts of writing and the instruction to be ‘avant-garde’ – it’s therefore a real success that our Freewrite design displays such control.
The project will be remembered for a perfectly balanced collaboration between design, illustration, writing, animation and development.
If ‘avant-garde minimalism’ wasn’t a subgenre before Freewrite, not one person can say it isn’t now.
Minimal design is of course simpler without dominant elements such as full-screen illustration, great amounts of writing and the instruction to be ‘avant-garde,’ so it’s therefore a great success that our Freewrite design displays such control. From looking at our work, you can taste the passion, enjoyment and dedication of our creatives, which was integral as each creative discipline contributed massively to the successful outcome of the site.
The challenge was steep because the more we pushed the madness of the illustration, the finer tuned the other elements had to be. Writing had to support the madness, offering an important level head. We never want to alienate an audience: mad creativity might mean pushing the extremes, but it should never mean that. Animation had to match the fine-art madness. And design had to steer us clear from sailing off into the sea of insanity and bring everything together.