Stink Studios x Adobe XD: Ideas in Motion

Image courtesy of Stink Studios.

Yego Moravia went to design school to become an artist. What he didn’t realize at the time was that he’d also need to learn the art of sales.

It’s a lesson many of his colleagues at Stink Studios are learning as well. Founded in 2009 as a sister company to Stink Films in London, Stink Studios offers services that span strategy, creative, content, and technology. The studio arm of the business continues to grow—from five people in London to more than 140 employees worldwide—thanks in part to the team’s ability to match their technical design prowess with their storytelling skills to connect with clients.

“Everyone is an art director here, because they have to both create and sell their ideas,” says Yego. “We need to be sure that people have the tools to do both.”

Breaking down design-developer barriers

Completely owning an idea from concept through to execution means team members are always thinking about the context in which their work will appear. Recently, the team had an opportunity to work with Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers, on its new framework for developers called Extensions. They created a mini-game—the Pokémon Badge Collector—as part of a 10-week Pokémon television marathon that allowed thousands of gamers to collaborate and collect Pokémon badges live during the marathon.

Image courtesy of Stink Studios.

The game consists of three main panels created with Adobe XD that let players store badges, track their progress, and celebrate global game leaders. Stink Studios took full advantage of features such as shareable prototypes and artboard guides, as well as integration with Adobe Creative Cloud Libraries, throughout the project.

“There were so many details and stats to keep straight,” says Sara Haas, an art director at Stink Studios. “The dev documentation in Adobe XD was a lifesaver during this project, and for many others. It’s much easier to communicate with our developers about how things are supposed to move.”

Ideas in motion

Stink Studios, a member of the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA), also used XD to make a meme generator for Estragon, the new typeface created by Swiss type foundry Dinamo. Together, they built the website Estragon Vision, which allows visitors to type in content and have it appear in multiple dynamic video memes at once—from a billboard or business card to a cassette tape or Tamagotchi screen—all of which can be downloaded and shared.

“We went through many iterations of the design, testing different art boards,” says Sara. “We really like the familiarity of using Adobe XD. It behaves just like all of the other Adobe apps, so it fits in seamlessly into our design process.”

Image courtesy of Stink Studios.

Part of the Estragon site includes a video that keeps users captivated while their meme generates. As motion work makes its way to the forefront of the industry, Stink Studios is working to get everyone comfortable with the art.

“Ideas are almost all happening in motion right now, so why would we try to sell a flat idea?” says Yego. “Our goal is to add motion to everyone’s repertoire. With Adobe, there’s a lot of symbiosis in the workflow.”

Go-to tool for interactive projects

This synergy is also evident in the way XD works with third-party applications. For example, motion designs created in XD and exported to Adobe After Effects can be integrated seamlessly into Keynote, which is how the agency presents much of its work to clients.

“These tools are linked together really well, and allow us to showcase our work beautifully,” says Jacinte Faria, director of production at Stink Studios. “And we’ve gotten much faster. Instead of hovering over one designer on one computer, we can each be creating our own elements and then bring everything back together with a lot less time and energy.”

The team is particularly excited about upcoming live co-editing and version control capabilities in XD, which will streamline the design process even further. “We always have multiple designers working on every project,” explains Senior Art Director Nick Fearnley. “It’s important for us to be working on the right pages so we all are as efficient as possible.”

Adobe XD is now the preferred tool for interactive projects and anything that Stink Studios builds from scratch. And the team members see themselves using XD more and more as new features and capabilities roll out. “After working in Adobe XD, we’ve seen the light,” says Sara. “Adobe XD sets us up for success in creating digital experiences in ways that other tools don’t.”