Muse Storybuilder

The Muse Storybuilder is a web application that empowers filmmakers to tell more effective stories.

My contributions to this project: Art Direction, Visual Design, UX Design, Branding Design, Brand Identity Creation, Development of Educational Iconography and Conventions.

Project Objective: The design, development, and release of the Muse Storybuilder was a watershed event for the new company that Patrick Moreau was building. It's a web application unlike anything else on the market and is based on the Muse Storytelling process. This process was developed by Moreau and the other principals of the 5-time Emmy Award-winning firm, Stillmotion.

The application needed to be immediately familiar to professionals who were already versed in industry-standard video editing software, distill the great complexity and power of the Muse storytelling process into an intuitive interface, and help teach the process itself through its use.

It was a huge challenge, and we were extremely successful in its execution.

The 4 Pillars of Story: UX Design

In the Muse Storytelling process, there are 4 Pillars of Story: People, Place, Purpose, and Plot. The project began with identifying the key functions, layout, and elements through wireframing. These wires were created in collaboration with Zaid Hisham

Character Detail View   

Character Detail View


Keyword Discovery View   

Keyword Discovery View


"Build Mode"

"Build Mode"

The Four Pillars of Story: UI Design

These thumbnails show the overview pages for each pillar.


The People Pillar

The Muse Storytelling process is for telling stories about people. People are what we most relate to, and the People page is where a storyteller begins building out their potential characters.


The Purpose Pillar

If you're not sure what you're trying to say, you're probably not going to say it well. So the Purpose page assists the user in brainstorming, selecting, rejecting, and making notes on the various Keywords that might guide the creation of their story. 

As the user inputs potential keywords, small tiles are created with drag-and-drop functionality (similar to Trello) for sorting them into clusters. :)


Place & Plot Pillars

These are the last two Pillars in the Muse framework. The Place page is where a storyteller creates cards that represent the various locations and objects they're considering for their story (e.g., Mr. Marmalade's Ice Cream Parlor). The Plot Pillar is where they identify the potential plot points, or the "beats" of their story (e.g., Billy encounters a chubby baby duck at the ice cream shop).


Putting All the Pieces Together: Build Mode

This is where the rubber really meets the road in Storybuilder. All the elements that a user created in the earlier stages come together here to build the final story.

The interface of the Build Mode is achromatic so that it essentially fades into the background and allows the color convention of the cards (which reference their corresponding "Pillar") to shine through. 

There are a lot of powerful features in this li’l puppy. The slideshow below shows a few of its features, as well as the design grid it's based on.

UI Creation

Here's a screenshot of the Adobe Illustrator document where I created the Muse Storybuilder. 


Annotations for the App Developers 

I am very meticulous, and it's really important to me that the other people on my teams have what they need to do their jobs well. To that end, I always deliver detailed annotations with both structural details and the corresponding CSS code for developers.

Here are a few of the annotated designs that I put together for the Storybuilder.

Founder Testimonial

As the co-founder of Muse Storytelling and Stillmotion, two companies that have worked with hundreds of designers in our 10+ years, Ryan is without a doubt one of the most talented folks I’ve ever worked with and we were incredibly fortunate to have him shape our brand.

He’s incredibly detail oriented, is always ensuring that he’s considering the bigger picture, and has a rare talent for bringing intention and purpose to everything he crafts.

I’ve never worked with an Art Director or Designer that brings the same level of passion and commitment to what he does as Ryan.

Patrick Moreau
Co-Founder of Muse Storytelling & Stillmotion

Related Project

Be sure to check out the Muse Storytelling rebranding project to learn about the work that informed the creation of the Muse Storybuilder.