Chris Ashby
Laptop and iPhone mockup of Hospital Records website
Laptop and iPhone mockup of Hospital Records website

Please note: this redesign has not been commissioned or requested by Hospital Records and does not represent the direction of Hospital Records, it is purely a personal project.

Hospital Records is a stalwart in the drum & bass scene. They consistently put out the best of the best when it comes to drum & bass, and have a history that is testament to their excellent reputation.

Despite their outstanding reputation and history however, their website lacks brand presence, lacks visible and accessible connectivity to streaming services, and overall does their brand a disservice.

Digital presence and experience is incredibly important…

Using storytelling principles can often be the key to helping new products breakthrough in crowded or outdated industries. Here’s how.

Man smiles whilst looking at his phone
Man smiles whilst looking at his phone
Photo by DISRUPTIVO on Unsplash

Storytelling is incredibly powerful. It is the foundation of what makes us human, how we live and find our place in the world, how we build our identity, it informs who we spend time with, and the actions and conversations we chose to participate in.

Storytelling underpins humanity. It is our superpower, and what defines us. It enables us to drive incredible change, and affect countless people’s lives through the decisions we make.

When it comes to building and designing businesses, products, and experiences, it is what elevates the best above the rest.

But why is that?

Storytelling teaches us how to survive

At their most…

Clone characters are used in storytelling to reflect aspects of the main characters back at themselves. Here’s how you can use the same principles when designing and building products.

Man looks at a reflection of himself in glass as the city lights blur behind him
Man looks at a reflection of himself in glass as the city lights blur behind him
Photo by chester wade on Unsplash

I’ve been writing articles about how storytelling principles can help us to design and build great products, covering the 3-act structure, and the characterisation of your users as the protagonists of their own story. In this article, I want to talk about another storytelling principle that can help us to design brilliant products: clone characters.

What are Clone Characters?

To understand what clone characters are we need to first understand how and why they exist in storytelling. Clone characters are devices for the purpose of highlighting, contrasting or directly reflecting aspects of main characters back at themselves, intended to drive their decision making, create…

An overview of the three-act structure, and how we can use it as a framework to understanding how behavioral changes manifest in our users, and how to genuinely affect change.

Flower in a mug with the words ‘I am the hero of my own life’
Flower in a mug with the words ‘I am the hero of my own life’
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In the fast-paced world we live in, new products, businesses, ideas, and products are thrown at us every single day. It is rare that they stick around for any period of time before they are usurped by the next thing. Every time anyone strives to improve, fix, or perfect the metaphorical horse and carriage, someone else comes along with a motorcar to replace it, rendering it obsolete.

So how can we create products that have true staying power? Products that worm their way into the hearts and souls of our users. Our aim as designers and creatives is often to…

How to use the storytelling principles of character and conflict to better understand the motivations and needs of your users.

Crowds protest against the murder of George Floyd
Crowds protest against the murder of George Floyd
Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

User-centred thinking and design is understood in many different ways. To some, it simply means putting yourself in the user’s shoes to make decisions, although this often inevitably means projecting your own opinions onto the idea of a ‘user’ and often ignoring data or research. To others more familiar with the process, it can mean using user research, data, and user testing, to form personas, journeys, and pull together a much broader picture of who the user is, how they behave, and what their pain points are.

The second approach is fairly standard in product design. You use insight available…

How storytelling, in its most human and life-affirming forms, is the fundamental key to being a great designer for digital product and user experience.

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Photo by Andrei Ianovskii on Unsplash

During lockdown, I had a revelation.

This revelation came when the cracks of my creative professional and personal life were brought to the surface over months of working at home. Distanced, far away from the comfort blanket of the office and my colleagues. It came at a time when more than ever, I was able to become fully aware of what I was getting out of my creative work, and my day to day life.

When the world around you becomes compressed and distilled in such a way as to heighten the experience of even the smallest details, you really…

What to do when you realise your ideas are plentiful, but the opportunities to use them are fleeting

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Illustration by Chris Ashby

Being a Dungeon Master, just like any other creative endeavor, takes time and effort. And with that time and effort, just like any other creative endeavor, comes skills and knowledge that apply to so many other aspects of life.

I’m not professing that leading a party of friends through an excellent adventure (air guitar solo) is anything akin to a personal philosophical breakthrough. I’m simply suggesting that it can teach you so much more than just how to be a good Dungeon Master.

One of those very lessons that I stumbled upon just happened to be one of the most…

How to ensure the very first game experience for brand new players is magical, memorable, and fun

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First things first: The Elephant in the Room, and convincing new players to join that first session…

Let’s talk about Dungeons and Dragons and first-time players for a second. We need to first understand this from the point of view of the outsider looking in.

Dungeons & Dragons has a lot of rules. It has a lot of abstract gaming concepts that many people aren’t familiar with. Role-playing and theater of the mind are difficult to grasp without having experienced them before. Also, unlike most tabletop games, D&D has no clear way of ‘winning.’

One of the most common questions people who have not played before ask is “so how do you win?” Well, there is no…

Set out your daily focus to help maintain physical and mental balance during the Covid-19 pandemic (and beyond)

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As we all come to grips with the realisation of what our new realities look like in the wake of the enormous worldwide impact of Covid-19, our minds and bodies begin to be occupied by different and ever-changing priorities.

These changes of priority have been numerous and varied over the last few weeks, and are different for all of us. Perhaps that chair you use to work from home isn’t so comfortable when sitting at it for days and weeks on end. Perhaps it’s more serious and now the job you knew and depended on for financial stability just isn’t…

Some simple and easy ways for Dungeon Masters to up the ante on the action, and increase the enjoyment factor of any D&D session or campaign

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Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

If you are a Dungeon Master, you will have had some good, some mediocre, and probably a handful of bad sessions. When you’re starting out as a Dungeon Master, or even as a player, it can seem daunting to know what to do when things don’t go to plan, or when a player or DM does something that throws you off balance.

In Dungeons and Dragons often the very thing that we thrive on through playing, can also become a fear for those running the games, or for those taking part in their first sessions as a player.

We love…

Chris Ashby

Founder at I believe great storytelling holds the key to affecting powerful positive change.

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