Monica is the Creative Director of Studio Almond and the lead designer on the new RUBY website project.
Learn about the creative process I took with my team to design this new website.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF...
Kia Ora, my name is Monica Murton, and I was born in Christchurch. I am Creative Director at Studio Almond, which I co-founded with my husband, Alex.
My parents were Vietnamese refugees and landed in Christchurch during the Vietnam War in their teens.
I started my design career after graduating with a Visual Communication degree from Massey University in Wellington.
I spent my early 20s in London, where I soaked up everything around me, new cultures, finding inspiration, particularly in architecture, and learning life and design skills.
Over this period, I was exposed to a lot of digital design and worked closely on transitioning physical brands into all things in the digital realm at companies such as Harrods, BBC and Jo Malone.
I met Alex towards the end of my OE, and around eight months later, we decided to move to Berlin, where we bootstrapped a digital publishing startup together. Our Deutsch was tragic, so we moved to Auckland almost eight years ago and started our company Studio Almond shortly after.
We now work with eCommerce lifestyle brands worldwide to design and build websites - including this one! Some of our other clients include Emma Lewisham, Blunt (coming soon), Two Islands, and Kōkako.
While Alex is Mr Technical and Strategy, we both deeply appreciate all things design; we are both very passionate about the functionality and opportunities that can come from great design. We even embarked on designing a home studio with architects, which we have outgrown but will make for perfect WFH office days.
I lead a team of very talented UX / UI designers. We all have different strengths and lean into this to learn from one another and grow.
My day-to-day changes each day - but so is always different and exciting, anything from new client meets, art direction/content strategy workshops, website design presentations, research & development, comms with our development team around highly technical details, and fun stuff like how we would like to apply animation/motion design to websites.
We love to work hard and learn hard. Still, we also bring in the culture and enjoy things that we all love and appreciate - even if they are a bit silly - we recently conducted our annual hot-cross bun-tasting competition - (well done, Daily Bread) and arrange team lunches or dinners at the latest and greatest K Road restaurant.
A snapshot of behind the screens at Studio Almond.
Alex & Monica - where the technical meets the creative
Starts with the wireframes
Next up Figma Desktop concepts
For the latest launch - RUBY! - we embarked on an eight months project to bring RUBY into the 21st century. Both teams collaborated closely in every phase of the project.
TALK US THROUGH YOUR DESIGN PROCESS
To start - a brand alignment workshop where we delved into where RUBY was as a brand and where we wanted future RUBY to be.
User Experience - we worked across research, data, and RUBY business goals in this phase. We analysed the site analytics and user screen recording to get insight into where we could improve the user experience. We then produced sitemaps, wireframes and prototypes to help discuss and align the most technical details.
We presented an inspiration and mood board stage. We then assembled all the ideas that formed our creative brief and designed the RUBY 2.0 concept.
Presentation day! The excitement and energy in the room was buzzing - we all got carried away talking over all the details, and the feedback pointed to a successful concept :) You will spot ‘moments of flair’ across the new website, as quoted by Em in our initial briefing stage referencing the ‘Office Space’ movie, where we were tasked to add moments of delight and surprise.
While the RUBY team was busy creating and crafting new content for their new website home, we were coding over 65,000+ lines of code together.
Quality Assurance phase; - where we go through the staging site with a fine tooth comb to check if the website looks exactly like the design files, functionality and animations.
Woohoo, we made it work and look exactly as it should, and we press a button and go live (ok, it’s not as simple as I wish it were).
Snippet of the details on mobile screens
Over 60 screens later across desktop and mobile designs
And many many detailed components for development
Harvey and Monica on RUBYVERSE launch day
WHAT MAKES A DREAM PARTNERSHIP?
Whether large or small, great design can empower, delight, and change people’s businesses and lives.
We are lucky to be able to help amazing brands bring their visions to life and share their creations and stories with others.
Over time, we’ve found that trust, understanding, transparency and the ability to work together through challenges strengthen partnerships and form the best results.
RUBY were masters of this - as with most large complex projects - there were challenges, but the team and everyone involved was amazing to work with and dedicated to the best result possible!
BEST ADVICE FOR OUR RUBETTES...
I would never have thought back in my teens that I would be able to work alongside the brands I do now in my own design company. It’s truly a dream to spend my time daily doing the thing I love best in life.
I encourage all of you, Rubettes, to follow your passion and don’t look back; hard work pays off. There will be ups and downs, but if life wasn’t like that, it would be boring. Your efforts will always be rewarded if you don’t give up.