Future Audio Workshop (FAW) partnered with me as an interactive art director and product designer to design their sub-bass software synth.
Challenges & Opportunities
FAW had released one software synth to moderate cult success. They had been quiet for a number of years while the team focused on their day jobs. Sublab was their attempt to reinvigorate the Future Audio Workshop brand and turn it into a viable full-time job for the team.
FAW had already defined their visual style with their first soft synth. Sublab had to follow that visual style while modernizing it.
JUCE, the C++ framework Sublab is built on, can be difficult to work with. This meant there were strict requirements for the interface that had to be met to keep the project within the budget.
Sublab was released to a lot of fanfare and has only grown in popularity. The unique visual style and sound quality made it stand out. It quickly became the most popular sub-bass soft synth and has stayed at the top in spite of many other brands entering the market. Sublab has been spotted in sessions with the biggest names in hip hop, pop, and electronic.
Due to the success, the FAW team were able to leave their day jobs and focus full time on FAW.
What I Learned
Working with a limiting technical framework requires you to really think through your decisions and choose your battles.
Having a strong story at every step in the design process goes a long way in bringing a team on board with your vision. When you're focused on a project it can be hard to remember that the rest of your team can't read your mind. It's your job to make sure people understand your vision.