Truc Nguyen

Beta Tasting

Beta Tasting is a dessert themed e-magazine sized for the iPad designed to appeal to a techy, urban and sophisticated audience.

Competitive Analysis and Personas

After evaluating the dessert magazine market, we decided the cutesy pink aesthetic was too overdone and uninspired. We wanted to do a different take on desserts and came up with an initial premise of crisp, technical information design married with a hands-on process driven feel. We started by coming up with the personas and moodboard for our target audience. We came up with three personas: Gunnar, Bruce and Julia. Our personas embody the following characteristics: tech savvy, edgy, adventurous, sophisticated, busy, modern, ambitious, urban, stylish, data-driven cook, likes to explore.

Moodboard and Design Language

With the personas in mind, we created a moodboard encompassing what the lives of these people might look like and stylistic influences we thought would fit into our theme. From the moodboard, I formed an initial design language consisting of the following color scheme and fonts.

panorama-stitched-final colors

We analyzed the content of the recipes to see how we should best structure the sequence of pages and recipes. Recipes have metadata (prep time, bake time, serving size, yield) that we thought would be best abstracted in a constant place for each recipe. We also found common ingredients between the recipes and ordered them in a way that would “flow”.

The background images of the magazine feature one continuous table that shows the story of making the final recipe. We staged a photoshoot (in which we actually baked some of the recipes) to produce images for the background. Jonas was the photographer for this event. Below is a rough sketch of our photoshoot plan.
continuous-table -sketch

Market Research

We surveyed potential users in our target demographic and presented them with a rough draft of our magazine. We found that people were able to pick up on our intent of creating a techy data-driven cookbook. However, since we each laid out different recipes, the information hierarchy, layout and interplay between image and text were not consistent. This resulted in a fragmented experience. We decided to narrow down our moodboard to the following elements:

Synthesis and Final Touches

The final product emerged as a back-and-forth collective decision to tweak different mask colors, change font size, headings, etc. We each also created our own infographics for most of the recipes. (These are meant for their own aesthetic value than serving a functional purpose, though some do serve a functional purpose).

designlang beta-tasting cover

The full magazine is available for download here: Beta Tasting [PDF].
Our quick presentation is available here: Beta Tasting Presentation [PDF].

My Contribution

I laid out and designed the Cover Page, Quince Apple Crisp and Sparkling Oranges pages. I also created the presentation slides.

We were all equal contributors in shaping the gestalt look-and-feel. We came up with our own initial layouts, color choices and typography selection and discussed until we converged.

Methods Used

Competitive Analysis


Market Research


Design Language

Layout Templating


In-Person User Feedback


Aishwarya Suresh

Jonas Gebhardt

Judith Tucker