Aspire for Sephora is a digital social platform allowing Beauty Insiders to showcase their expertise, establishing them as inspiring beauty authorities and brand ambassadors living Sephora's brand position.

Our proposed solution is intended to be a bridge between Sephora's digital and brand strategies, and the knowledge- and skill-sharing communities that developed online organically.

In our small team, my role on Aspire spanned several disciplines to meet the needs to produce the project. I was heavily involved in development, visual design, motion design, and prototyping of the platform's user experience, but also took part in research to better understand what behaviours and touchpoints I could build around.

Beauty Insiders established a thriving culture online that centers around shared activities: knowing, trying, and talking about brands and makeup use.

Beauty Insiders possess the know how and the audience to create the content for beginners who seek knowledge about makeup use and brands.

Our goal was to use a service design approach to produce a holistic system as a natural extention of Sephora's current service model. I encouraged the team to design for Aspire's goals by considering observed behaviours from Aspire's target consumers and integrating Sephora's existing infrastructure of touchpoints.

We saw opportunities for consumers to use the app in a retail environment through a feature to scan barcodes on the packaging and see products used in context.

Rowan, Terrence, and I wireframed out logical user flows and visual hierarchies of information. We wanted to only show detail when the user demanded it. I was thoughtful of designing microinteractions for the application to maximize delight and show feedback to user input in meaningful ways.

Subtle motion and animation allows interface transformations to happen in response to user actions without breaking the continuity of the experience.

The application focuses on and celebrates Beauty Insiders through the richness of the looks they create, and the products and brands used to create them. It is a gateway to endless discovery, knowledge and inspiration.

My approach to the visual design of Aspire closely observed Sephora's brand identity. A monochrome colour scheme allowed UI elements to fall behind the vividness of submitted looks and product photos.

Aspire was a wonderful project to work on as I began to show a real passion for design problems that took me outside of my comfort zone. Because we weren't held down by bias (being men-and one woman-who knew nothing about makeup), we were able to ask some really interesting questions about what we were designing and who we were designing for, and come to some fantastic insights.

While Aspire was an academic exercise, we are convinced that our approach was exactly on target for Sephora's digital strategy. A year after we completed work on Aspire, Sephora released a platform called Beauty Board that was very similar to our own.

  • Dan Nanasi, Victoria Badenas, Terrence Ma, Guramrit Singh, Rowan Weismiller
  • Process book
Dutch Design