Brabble was the very definition of #startuplife, I was brought on as employee number eight at the end of 2012, and the center of our world was in three tiny offices on a shared workspace floor in the Time-Life Building at Rockefeller Center west.
Among other thinking, we thought that shared content needed to be truly multimedia — voice, video, photo, and text — and that users should be able to use voice, video, photo, and text content to respond to any post. Remember the time, 2012 to 2013: this was during the meteoric rise of social media darlings Socialcam, Viddy, Snapchat, and Pinterest as well as the purchase of Vine by Twitter, Instagram by Facebook, and Socialcam by Autodesk.
So, I knew that speed was paramount at Brabble and so we quickly assembled a full-time design team of two designers plus three freelancers to create the brand, the user experience, and the overall design language for the fledgling organization.
In Mar 2012, Brabble had started in a state of incubation at a local media agency and by the time I joined in Nov 2012, they had scads of unfocused and scattered design work. My first job was to tear down it all "down to the studs" and rebuild with the team the requisite parts to launch the app.
One of the things that we did was to clear a 14’ space and made it into a work wall — divided into ideas, interfaces-in-progress, process flows and what our competitors were doing. Not coincidentally, this wall ran along one of the main walkways which allowed full transparency into what we were doing, really helping with process, iteration, and general flow.
For 10 months, my team and I built:
Logo, color palettes, and brand identity design
Hi-fidelity screens and interaction states for the app along with developer specs, releasing several iOS and Android versions
Responsive web site design—beginning with a coming soon page that collected emails to a single informational page to a full site with user authenticated app tie-ins
General support for a wide assortment of branding and promotional purposes — including a stock car race in the Poconos and boxing trunks of Robert Guerrero, where he fought against (and lost to) Floyd Mayweather
Eventually, we expanded from the first three offices, taking over nearly the whole floor. And then, in one week in mid 2013, the company imploded financially and 90% of the company was laid off. Super not fun but what a trip.