ISOBOOK

Prototyping the world's first isometric pocket sketchbook

ISOBOOK sketchbooks in three colorways and an isometric illustration
Early prototypes of the sketchbook with color explorations and an example illustration

Skills used

  • Branding
  • Product Design
  • Social Media
  • Email Marketing

Overview

ISOBOOK is a passion project of mine to bring my favorite geometric grid to the masses.

Details of the ISOBOOK covers and additional example illustrations
Product shots and demo illustrations communicated the quality and end use of the sketchbooks to help build demand

Audience

The primary audiences of ISOBOOK are creatives who either work with isometric grids or want to expand their work with a whole new perspective for illustrations. Graphic designers, animators, game designers, street artsits, illustrators, and architects all showed strong demand for ISOBOOK in their projects.

Process

Branding

The ISOBOOK logo follows the same isometric grid as the 48 pages inside and mimics the open sketchbook. I selected Futura for the wordmark both because it's one of my all-time favorite typefaces, and it's geometric perfection further matches the isometric style of illustration created by artists, game designers, and architects alike.

Product Design

In the spring of 2015, I created several prototype pocket sketchbooks to explore colorways and gauge demand for the product by building a social media following with low-investment. I handcrafted each sketchbook with premium stationery covers and ultra smooth illustration pages with a custom-designed, non-reproducable blue, isometric grid. Each sketchbook featured a hand-stamped logo and a staple-bound spine.

Digital Marketing

The cost of premium materials and manual production of each sketchbook meant that this product would need to quickly scale in order to reach sustainable manufacturing costs. I focused my efforts on cultivating a strong presence on Instagram and gaining email newsletter suscribers to reduce the risk of initial investment.

I also began approaching famous street artists and illustrators who were known for their isometric styles, and received very positive for the support for the product. I fostered early relationships with several artists who had significant followings with plans to provide prototypes for their feedback, and even saw unsoliticited promotion from notable artists.

Results

In just a couple months, the ISOBOOK Instagram account gained over 450 followers, with each post average over 150 likes with engaged comments from potential customers. The email newsletter list quickly grew to over 125 subscribers, converting over 27% of Instagram followers. These rapid results were great validation for the niche product, and I was pleased to see that even well-known artists wanted to be the first to know when the product was available.

Instagram page for ISOBOOK with strong early engagement
ISOBOOK's Instagram following produced dedicated engagement and demand for the product

With these early wins and promising demand indicators, I was ready to start approaching manufacturers and start development on a marketing site and eCommerce storefront. Unfortunately, I had to put this project on hold to help with family business needs and focus on a new professional role.

Retrospective

This project validated my design and marketing experience, and brought me to fully embrace the value of minimum viable products as an incredibly safe and rewarding approach for any project. It also proved that physical products have many more barriers to entry than digital experiences, as the leap from initial prototypes to even a small manufacturing run would have required considerable investment and correlated risk.

ISBOOK was a great experiment in physical product design, branding, and organic, digital marketing. To this day, I'm sad to have put the project on hold, but always consider rekindling the product and brand to take the dive into initial production.

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