Services provided: Visual design, branding, UX/UI/IX design, copywriting, storytelling, video direction, motion graphics, cartoons

Tools used: Axure RP, Sketch, Photoshop, Cinema 4D, Manga Studio, After Effects, Logic, Trello, Fogbugz


I was hired by Axure Software (San Diego, established 2002) as their first in-house creative, as Sr. Art Director. Their previous branding efforts had been led by outside firms, and the current state of their visual design and story was beginning to feel outdated and conceptually distracting.

Axure is a small company, led by two engineers, without any outside funding. Their primary tool, Axure RP, was a market leader, and the company had been successful over the years by staying product-centric and focused on serving their customers, which included 96% of the Fortune 100.

Thus my intention was to work closely with their senior management to gently evolve the brand, and to reframe and revisualize their outward presentation without alienating their existing user base and losing what brand recognition they had created over 13 years.

Axure homepage prior to re-branding

I began with some basic visual exploration, incorporating watercolor paintings and creating header images for the Axure blog, pre-announcing the newest version of their software, Axure RP 9. We decided to simplify the logo, in an effort to improve readability and begin to explore solutions to some of the identity problems they were facing. Axure was the company, and RP was the product, and it was a prototyping tool: an essential, yet often misunderstood, component of the software development life cycle. I used the tool itself to build the header graphics, which led to input into developing the next version of the software with visual designers in mind. It also revealed another significant branding problem: how to sell a design tool to non-designers.

I spent the next year researching the tool and its users, immersing myself in the UX design and prototyping theory and workflows. Our major branding effort was the website, which was the only real marketing outlet for the company and product. We iterated designs using Axure RP (it’s a great tool, and can actually output workable html pages), and worked towards a more mature, contemporary visual identity, while removing the cute but confusing cartoons and storyline that marked the previous site. I was also promoted to Creative Director, as my work moved from pure visual design into writing, story, and site architecture.

We created a new software icon, using a new color palette and more contemporary vector gradients. Axure hired a new Lead of Product to join the development team (Robert Gourley), and together we worked on syncing up new software UI and UX design with the website, visual identity, and other components of branding.

Axure provided an intimate environment, and it was always my intention to be true to the vision of the founders, and the spirit of the team that continued to provide an amazing product and support. Victor (CEO) was always careful not to alienate his customers, and was extremely sensitive to anything that felt like “marketing”. I wrote the company “About” page, which I feel to be among my most important contributions to the new direction of Axure.

In additon, I produced and directed the homepage video content, shot portraits and casual photos around the office for use on the site, designed tshirts, mugs, banners, and other promotional collateral, and did interior decoration and paintings for the office in the Gaslamp.

To create stand-out content for the company blog, I created a UX focused comic strip with original characters called “Medium Fidelity“. We ran the comic for six months, promoting across social channels, and began to syndicate across other blogs in the field.