Introducing Recipes is a quarterly anthology of traditional, timeless recipes from cuisines all over the world. The website and photographic collection of recipes is a collaborative project between myself, Tom Eberhardt-Smith, and Ryan Baker. My two primary roles are designer and art director, and jumping in as a photographer when necessary.
The Original Idea
One night in the spring of 2016, myself, Tom, and Ryan planned to get together for a creative project. We were initially unsure of what to create until a discussion about Ryan's new meatball recipe sparked an idea. We decided to document this delicious-sounding recipe through photography presented in an interactive web experience.
After the entire creative process was complete, we wanted more. We set out with the task of shooting more recipes with the same values as the first. Simple, classic, and homestyle. During a trip to the Pocono Mountains later that summer, we created a list of as many recipes as we thought of that fit this rubric. After listing out those dishes and shooting a few to start, I was inspired to design a new website that can showcase them all.
Finding the Purpose
Before I set out to designing anything, I wanted to learn the true purpose of this project. Why were we doing it? What value did the meatball recipe bring? After discussing that with real users, I quickly realized that it introduced the recipe to people that didn't know it, and served as a baseline for meatball pros looking for something to build on.
User Personas and Research
Finding the purpose of the project lead directly into user research. Once I learned what the core reason for this site was, I knew exactly who would be using it. I wanted to write just a few user personas to keep a clear idea throught the design process. A few user personas summarized:
- Bill, 35, is of German and Italian descent and lives in New York City. He just started dating a girl who moved to the United States from Sweden. Bill wants to impress her by making her a Swedish dinner. He knows she loves Swedish meatballs the way her grandma used to make, but isn't sure what the traditional way to make them is.
- Lynn, 19, is a student at the University of Vermont and is originally from Iowa. She just got back from vacationing in Mexico where she had Guacamole for the first time. She'd like to make it herself but wants to do it authentically, the same way she had it in Mexico. She can only find American-style recipes online.
- Maria, 25, comes from an Italian-American family and just moved into her own apartment miles away from her parents. She misses home and the traditional meals her mom used to make. Her mom makes the best meatballs but is so used to making them, she doesn't have a recipe written down. After getting a few tips, Michelle needs a guideline to follow throughout the cooking process.
After the user research, I studied apps, websites, and other experiences with a similar user base. I took the most useful features such as ingredient tagging and cuisine categorizing, and explored how they can work for this website. I also found out, the simpler the better. Most recipe sites have stories, commenting, ads, and other useless junk for people just trying to cook!
Sitemap and Experience
Creating the sitemap for this website was relatively simple. The end goal was for the user to view and make a recipe, so I wanted them to have the ability to dive right into one from the home page. The user also needed to be able to explore more by viewing all of our recipes, or the different cuisines they are categorized by. If the user were to navigate to a recipe page, they needed to have the option to print/save the page for future use, or the option to share it with their social media followers.
Aside from the recipe flow, the idea was that the user can also learn more about the project through an about page, and reach out to the team through a contact page. All pages on the site were to be accessible one-click from the home page.
Name and Brand Identity
The name of the project went through quite an evolution with multiple names being considered at multiple times. First it was called, The Art of Recipes, then it was called The Art of Cooking, and eventually ideated into Introducing Recipes. The brand identity, however, stayed relatively similar since the beginning stages, relying a warm primary color, a strong wordmark, and a simple iconographic logo.
View the full-page design comps for the Introducing Recipes homepage, and an individual recipe page by clicking on the thumbnails below.