Creating connections for a beautiful body of work
David Bollt is an artist whose signature style artwork has been in museums and galleries, has graced magazine covers, comic books, motorcycle tanks, numerous human bodies (as tattoos) and more. His artwork shows an outstanding appreciation for the the human figure and it is with that appreciation he set out to transform how people see themselves and each other. David contacted me and told me he was starting a new company that would challenge how people experience and view the human form.
A platform where people could discover figurative art created by the best photographers and artists.
A community to connect figure models with those photographers and artists to enable the creation of quality artwork.
An e-commerce solution providing the artwork for sale.
I stopped everything and flew to Florida to work with him and his designer, Dagobert Renouf, to shape the vision, and help bring that vision to life.
Customer Experience Strategy
Walking into this there were many requirements, and many ideas, based on the goals for the business. The platform we were to create was to be a library of images, a community, a business network, and an e-commerce platform all rolled into one. This meant that there was a lot of content, and a lot of data, to consider. To take this on required us to evaluate the individual components and apply design thinking in order to define an engaging online experience to establish Model Society as a leading provider of high end figurative art.
By evaluating competitor sites featuring user generated art content, we knew people wanted to have the ability to share their creations, get feedback on their work, and connect. We also knew that these existing sites were not specifically focused on the quality or topic of the images provided by the artists. They were not curated. This confirmed the value of Model Society's distinct positioning and the opportunity to differentiate. Our focus was to be on quality. Quality of the experience; quality of the content; and quality of the community members.
An exciting new online business delivering beauty, brains, and brawn
Connecting artists and changing mindset
Working with David was invigorating. This was not his first start-up initiative (or mine), and his entrepreneurial spirit shone as brightly as his attention to detail and his desire for quality. I focused the small collaborative team and we worked night and day for 3 days focusing on the key features. We established the baseline architecture, outlined the content strategy and taxonomies, devised the core functionality, and brainstormed ideas for business expansion.
ARCHITECTING A NEW PERCEPTION OF THE HUMAN BODY
Creating the experience required us to express the vision and build the value of the brand – changing people's perception of the human body as art. For Model Society this meant creating a design language featuring, and highlighting, the quality imagery. It would also reflect the community (artists, photographers, and models) devoted to their craft and the creation of the images. Our goal was to craft a user journey that facilitates engagement, interaction, and product sales.
A MODEL BUILT FOR EXPLORATION AND COLLABORATION
Viewing the images meant creating an easy way for people to explore the variety of images based on their goals on the site. Some would view to appreciate and buy the art, and the member artists (photographers and models) would browse and search purposefully to share their work, connect to collaborate, be inspired, and produce more images. People could "explore" a library of work (new and featured) with the ability to sort, search, and view the details of any image, Model Society member, or the collaboration that produced the work of art.
PROFILES, PORTFOLIOS AND PERSONALIZATION
The heart of the site is comprised of profile pages providing members with a venue to share their work and artistic preferences, and statistics, as they connect and collaborate. Members can manage their profile and portfolios, create galleries for inspiration, like, follow, and comment on the work of other members.
CREATING COMMERCE FOR THE CREATORS
To monetize the business and support the community, e-commerce was created for members to sell select pieces from their portfolio. We integrated with a third-party provider to deliver the images as photographs, printed on canvas or acrylic or as framed art.
Since our time together in Florida, Model Society has continued to add a curated selection of premium members, and the exceptional imagery they create, to the site. The site currently has almost 7,000 members, and more than 165,000 stunning images with new images uploaded daily.
Model Society enjoys an impeccable reputation among its content creators, and it's clear that consumers are engaged. Model Society Fan accounts are nearing 20,000, and the site sees about 60,000 unique visitors each month. There are over 1.5 Million page views each month. The YouTube account has 141.2K subscribers, with almost 2 million views in just the last 30 days (Nov/Dec 2020).
Model Society also acted on a the concept from our early work sessions – a beautiful magazine leveraging the artwork from the community. The magazine is available in both a digital and a beautifully printed publication.
See the site here.