Head of Design • 2021-2023
Cana built the universe's first molecular beverage printer—to reduce waste while giving folks radically more choice and personalization in their beverage experience. I joined to build and lead UX Design.
Hundreds of beverages at the tap of a button feels like the future—like something out of Star Trek. We aimed to disrupt the beverage industry responsible for an incredible amount of waste and emissions.
We defined problems, constraints, target users, and brainstormed feature ideas. We worked through branding and identity. We launched a website and produced videos. We taste tested a lot of beverages from the lab. It was fun.
Early on, we determined our key differentiators. We believed them to be variety, personalization, and sustainability. All together, they contribute to a feeling of amazement.
To impress massive variety on our customer, we leaned hard into a strategy that grouped our many recipe variants into brands. We worked to bring existing brands, like Hella Cocktail Co., onto our platform. We also partnered with creators, like Emily Sears and Simone Giertz, to make new beverages.
Traditional beverage brands are stuck in two dimensions (printed on cans). So, to further differentiate and amaze, we brought ours to life with motion.
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In addition to my duty over Product Design, I acted as creative director on a huge set of artwork. I hired artists from around the globe, developing unique looks across the catalog. With so much to do, I also did some of this art myself with the help of generative AI tools.
Sample of brands:
We crafted a familiar interface on the device, prioritizing comprehension over novelty. We built for families, thinking through profiles and parental controls. We developed consistent cross-category flows for beverage customization. We considered gamified systems to encourage discovery and celebrate sustainability.
I structured my team's work under five pillars: Core Experience, Management, Loyalty, Tools, and Design Platform. Below is a preview of some work performed under Core and Tools.
To scale our catalog, we created a Studio Tool that would allow partners to create unique beverages on the spot (versus bespoke and expensive recipe creation in the lab). The tool was a showpiece, built for a large touchscreen display. We planned to fold this concept into our consumer app so everyone could play.
Cana Studio Tool
Over $30M later and a heroic effort across the team, Cana shut down. Nothing mattered if the drinks didn't taste great, and in all honesty I can say they were incredible. Still, some big risks remained, making us a hard bet in 2023's challenging funding environment.
We just scratched the surface. Reach out to learn more!
Cana One 'Beverage Printer' Lets You Pour and Customize Your Favorite Cold Drink on CNET
Beverage "printing" startup lands Patrick Stewart as ambassador on Axios
The World's First 'Molecular Beverage Printer' Claims to Make Thousands of Drinks, from Iced Coffee to Wine on Food & Wine
Could ‘Printing’ Beverages At Home Reduce Environmental Waste? These Two Companies Think So on Forbes