A digital publication celebrating craft beer culture for a new generation, imbued with a spirit of creative rebellion. 

Pitchfork secured funding to create a new craft-beer magazine aimed at millennial beer consumers.

They had done some ethnographic research, but they hadn’t been able to synthesize the findings into a plan of action, and they had a deadline: publish within six weeks, or lose the funding. Since most beer publications focused on die-hard connoisseurs or homebrewers, we saw an opening to connect with a new generation of beer drinkers through lifestyle editorial and smart design.

One of the first challenges of the project was the timeline. We had lots of ideas and only a little time to turn them into reality, so setting up a strong UX approach at the beginning was key to success down the road.

We focused our initial efforts on building a MVP (minimum viable product) version of the site, using the insight that in today’s internet age, every page is the homepage. Article pages were our most important pages, since we expected users to come through social media directly, and then explore further.

At the same time, we needed to build a site that would start small but scale with the ambitions of the October team over the following months, and that was easy for editors to use. The site also needed to feel irreverent and down-to-earth in order to speak to a new audience of beer fans, and to stand out from the competition.

At the beginning of the project, we flew to Chicago and embedded with Pitchfork’s team. In preparation, I had quickly spun up a vision prototype for us to share.

Over the course of three days, I led collaborative design and ideation workshops and then took our findings back to New York, where I spent time synthesizing and sketching out key ideas. Because we had to launch an MVP within a month of our initial kick-off, I had about one week to complete two rounds of wireframing and prototyping. All in all, I completed over 100 pages of documentation for the first week.

When I was designing the UX for October I imagined creative ways for the rebellious spirit of the brand to shine through. Some of these were details, like our “cheeky beer reviews”- illustrated beer reviews that would complement numerical scores. Others were overarching- like the site structure and content strategy. Because the beer world has traditionally been a male-dominated environment, we wanted to create a publication that felt both smart and accessible to everyone who appreciated the craft and artistry of beer.

We took an unconventional approach to designing October, starting with the modular article pages. We not only designed them first, but we designed them to grow with the ambitions of of the site’s editors. We created a bank of 12+ modules, from music players to maps, that allow any editor to create an article, event recap, or beer review that stands out. The design team also gave the site a fresh color palette, refined typography and progressive layouts give the brand a distinct place amidst the masculine, heritage-focused design language of the beer industry.

After launching our initial MVP, I worked closely with our brand design and development teams to complete October over the next four months. Based on user feedback and performance, we simplified the homepage, bumped up font sizes, and changed the navigation. Since launching in March of 2017, the magazine has exceeded all goals for success. The site immediately outperformed engagement targets, it’s spawned a music-and-craft beer festival, and it’s even brewed its own beer.


Pitchfork & ZX Ventures

Stink Studios

Ben Hughes

Olivier Gillaizeau

Maggie Bryan

Jessica Hägg

PJ Ahlberg

Oskar Tilly

Arnaud Tanielian

Erik Taheri & James La Marre

Patrick Krulik

Lauren Saunders

Dan Savage


Body 10