Product design consulting for software start-ups
Let's go from idea to market the optimal wayGet an offer
Dear founder. The venture road is long, full of roadblocks, and wrong turns. Getting innovative ideas off the ground is no small task, especially on a tight runway. about:blank studio onboards you with 360 design expertise needed to successfully develop, launch, and grow a digital product.
How to go here — there from *scratch*
Finding a product-market fit is tough. Innovating while creating or taking over a market is near impossible. To gain traction, you need solid UX and business acumen, but you can only afford a designer or a product manager.
Beginnings are about a different approach. If fast growth is sprinting, R&D feels like a marathon. Where the former takes a battalion of agile specialists, the latter is a job for a SWAT team of resilient generalists.
Design consulting grounded in hands-on practice and technical feasability
about:blank studio equips you with a Swiss army knife design skill-set, discipline for implementing big ideas in small steps, and wisdom needed to get there faster by avoiding pitfalls.
What you see is what you get. A sound strategy executed with clever tactics. No gimmicks, buzzwords, or blind trend-chasing. “Just” effective and honest products with character.
"We'll improve design down the line"
Many tech companies fall into the trap of treating design as a surface finish to be applied once everything is built. Instead of seeing it as architecture — applied arts leaning on engineering. To avoid developing a flop or needing an expensive redesign once the stakes get high, you want to enable humanities expertise to co-shape the product as early as possible.
Need help validating user-facing aspects of the business and developing an MVP that will yield investment-worthy results in the 1st attempt.
- Get a clearer picture of the market with UX research
- Test and improve product with proof of concepts and prototypes
- Determine MVP "must have" features and optimal implementation compromises
- Articulate value proposition, positioning, and brand
- Find, onboard, and extract insights from beta users
Not yet ready to hire a CPO, but need help to focus development on what matters and deliver a world-class UX+UI design without much trial and error.
- Establish distribution and acquisition channels
- Devise user surveys, experiments, and product marketing communication
- Interpret data and course-correct product strategy
- Segment and pinpoint highest-value customers
- Produce pitch deck for investors and partners
With scaling the operation comes the need to build and integrate an in-house product department, often from the ground up.
- Accelerate product-led growth
- Tame the backlog and crystalise the roadmap
- Define product org structure, roles, and processes
- Maintain production consistency and quality at scale
- Execute pivots, redesigns, and stack upgrades with minimal damage
Previously trusted by
Design studio with a track record of producing software innovations and taking products from idea to market.
Founded by Natan Nikolic, a London based product designer with 15+ years of experience. Before venturing out, he managed products and teams as VP of Product at Celtra, where his work powered campaigns by Google, Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Vice, and other digital household names. Prior to that, he built products from scratch with several prominent UK and EU founders.
Why the hell would you hire a consultant?
Imagine having a right hand with complementary skills, knowledge of best practices, and a network of specialists at your disposal in a pay-as-you-go arrangement.
- Make the product easier to use and understand
- Communicate visually and in non-technical terms
- Cold-start marketing and user acquisition
- Interpret user behaviour and diagnose issues
Biz Dev founders
- Compare and find advantages against competitors
- Translate requirements into technical specifications
- Improve clarity and appeal of marketing collateral
- Develop a compelling brand story around your vision
- Deepen your understanding of markets of interest
- Conduct product audits of potential investments
- Provide on-demand support for portfolio companies
- Expand your deal flow coverage with scouting reports
Ways of working together
Comfortable working both as a team leader and individual contributor. Come as a plug-and-play unit, proactively forming alliances with stakeholders, and tailoring modus operandi according to the unique dynamics of each organisation.
|Short-term: 5–10 days||Short-term: 6 weeks - 6 months||Long-term: 1 - 2 years|
|Full-time: 5 d/w||Part-time: 2–3 d/w||Part-time: 1–2 d/w|
|Fixed time + flex. scope OR
Fixed scope + flex. time
|Fixed time + flex. scope OR
Fixed scope + flex. time
|Fixed time + flex. scope|
|Cash compensation||Cash compensation||Part cash, part equity compensation|
Little things that compound big interest
Mercenary meets missionary
Outsource versus in-house — you won’t feel the difference.
First-hand experience building ventures
You’re getting battle-proof know-how acquired by walking in your shoes; not theory and opinions.
Not afraid of big ideas
It’s unlikely you’re asking for the impossible, so it’s unlikely you’ll ever hear that being said.
No chasing and no handholding
Once we agree on something, consider it done.
Impressive results on moderate budgets
Using creativity and resourcefulness to do more with less is what some of us have built a career on.
Magic happens in a zone where one own’s genius stops, someone else’s begins, and 1+1=11.
Not a yes-man
Sometimes making the right decision takes pushing back or having the courage to say the unpleasant truth.
Expect a relationship based on honesty, respect, and clarity — from pricing and contract to communication and billing.
Straight from the horse’s mouth
Natan is without question one of the best design and product specialists in the space. Plenty of out of the box thinking, beautifully executed. A full 360-degree lens and understanding to ensure all advisory and deliverables fit with the current activities and direction of the business. I would recommend Natan in a heartbeat and look forward to working with him again in the future.
— Jozef Wallis, Entrepreneur, speaker, investor
We hired Natan to help us expedite a platform rewrite and get a second opinion on the UX overhaul. In just a few weeks, he successfully led the team towards greater clarity, effectiveness, and inspiration. We acquired valuable insights for taking our product operations to the next level and preparing for challenges that lie ahead.
— Grisa Soba, Founder at Flaviar
Natan has worked for us on several projects during 2021. His reliability and trustworthiness is exemplary and he always made sure the deliverables were ready on time. I particularly liked his analytical and problem solving skills, which were always approached from a user perspective. Even though the projects Natan has worked on had a high complexity and were industry-specific, he was able to create a clear and easy to understand user interface. Furthermore his mockups were pixel perfect, so could be implemented by the front-end development team easily. I definitely recommend hiring Natan on a project basis for any kind of user facing digital products.
— Andreas van de Ven, Head of Product Demand-Side at Outbrain
Natan is one of those T-shirt professionals. Wide in understanding the world and deep in understand of profession. Product design requires exactly that. And Natan delivered though out, polished and tested elements of digital products. Every single time. With passion on top.
— Andraz Logar, CEO at 3fs
The mind of a scientist, the passion of a jazz player, the sensibility of an architect. The one to do an urban plan, not the facades. A superb craftsman of the Mies's school. A well rounded design thinker who reliably delivers. A persistent learner with unbelievable focus and rare stamina. A romantic who still believes design can change the world.
— Matevz Klanjsek, CPO at Celtra