Madefire, founded by Ben Wolstenholme, Liam Sharp and Eugene Walden has developed a digital publishing platform that reinvents visual storytelling. Their browser-based Tool is intuitive, helping creators develop their own stories into Motion Books. The first of these Motion Books are available to experience within the immersive Madefire app for iPad, launched today.
Moving Brands began working with Madefire at its inception, together defining the Madefire purpose as, ‘A thrilling reading experience that’s shared. Creators first.’ For the first time creators will be the heroes. Madefire provides a platform for storytellers to shine, whether they are ‘old masters’ like Dave Gibbons who have penned graphic novels we’ve all experienced, or up-and-comers itching to express their skills with paint and pixels. This notion is what differentiates Madefire as an alternative to the near-anonymity of creators that the existing publishing models demand. Madefire is for people who love creating and reading visual stories.
Our work captured trends in the tablet, reading and publishing spaces in order to fully understand the opportunity. The purpose of ‘creators first’ was underpinned by audience definition, journeys and wireframes, helping us to map the layered Madefire user experience for people who are creating or reading. This analysis laid the foundations for the monetization model, ensuring the business’ scalability. We also defined the Madefire brand architecture and naming tightly in order to create a family of interlinked offerings.
Moving Brands worked with the Madefire team to ensure this purpose and the behaviours were at the heart of the strategy and business model, brand and identity and all the experiences they developed for the creator and reader communities.
Madefire was created as a truly moving world identity — with every element of the identity system specifically designed to appear more tactile and immersive when seen in the app’s native iPad environment.
The core Madefire identity assets — including fonts, colour palette and textures — pay homage to the vernacular of traditional comic visual language. “We wanted to create a powerful symbol that would be at home within the world of graphic novels. There’s absolutely no room for flimsy complexity in this world. It needs to be full of conviction; spare and instantly recognizable,” explains Mat Heinl, Moving Brands Chief Creative Officer.
The logo, built out of four circles, forms an ‘M’ and feels book-like in its form. It comes to life on screen through animation and sound design creating a sense of atmosphere and anticipation.
All the assets in the identity system take cues from the logo using it as a red thread to hold a very tight system together — geometric radii and sharp end points can be seen within the icon set, button language and UI panel design.
Whilst Madefire was being developed, Sharp, Wolstenholme and fellow Creator Dave Gibbons (of Watchmen fame) were developing their own stories for the platform. Moving Brands worked collaboratively with them on the identities for these stories. Gibbon’s ‘Treatment,’ Wolstenholme’s ‘Mono’ and Sharp’s ‘Captain Stone’ are available exclusively as Motion Books at the app’s launch.