Over the next few weeks we'll be talking to the Night & Day Studios' team about our newest app release, BabyLit Jungle Book Hide and Seek. We will all be answering the same questions, but will no doubt have very different answers. Today we hear from Brianne Baker, our Creative Director.
Let's start with the positive: What is your favorite thing about the app?
I love Alison Oliver’s artwork and it was a joy to bring it to digital. My other favorite part about the app is the experimental UX we developed. Nat and I talked about a sort of faux VR exploratory search and find concept a few years ago. We loved the thought of it and it kept popping up in brainstorming sessions, but we never found the right fit until BabyLit Jungle Book came along.
The play function of this app is something of a new feature for Night & Day Studios in its virtual element. What was the biggest challenge you faced during production?
I think the visual design of the virtual world along with the UX design were the biggest challenges. As far as the visual design was concerned, our goal was to create a rich experience with some depth to it, while working with decidedly 2D assets. When designing the jungle and the animal animations, we had to balance file size and performance with what we thought would be cool. We’re used to this, but it’s always difficult. When it came to the UX design, we had a concept in our heads of how it would work, but when it came to the details things became more complicated. We tested it countless times with kids. At first it was too difficult, so we made adjustments to how the device recognized finding (and releasing) an animal. We also added the ability to explore the jungle by dragging your finger around the screen so the youngest players could still use the app even if the more experimental feature was too challenging.
What is it like creating a digital life for a vision that already exists — in this case, Gibb Smith’s BabyLit who already had an established aesthetic and idea? Does that present a greater challenge or does it take some pressure off of the creation process?
It can be a little of both. Certainly, it’s wonderful to be given the opportunity to work with an artist like Alison Oliver. We all fell in love with her work and were very excited to bring it to life on the screen. Having an established aesthetic also provides design constraints that can really be helpful, especially on a tight timeline. In this case the assets were pretty well suited for digital, even though they were originally made for print. Unfortunately, this is often not the case and can make for a lot of busy work. We were lucky in this case (thanks Alison). All that said, of course it’s exciting to develop a new digital-first brand for a specific app. But, that’s a big project and it can be challenging to decide what to move forward with.
Who is your favorite character from The Jungle Book and why?
I like Baloo because he’s cute, sweet, and chubby.