How to design a SaaS just from the enterpreneur's idea?


To build a print on demand marketplace from scratch with seamless experience both for artists and customers audiences. It means I have to design great publishing functionality for artists and fun shopping for clients.

My contribution

I was hired as the first and only designer on the team to research, ideate, define a strategy and then design a scalable SaaS platform working close with the development teams without any mess. Agile, sprints, no backlog debt!


Art Explorers is the marketplace for interior printing of artworks made by independent artists from around the globe. The client can choose any image he liked and print it in any size on different canvas material or event purchase the unique original of artwork from the artist.

Collections made by our art directors will help to improve and tone any room.


Usually, when you want to buy an artwork it’s a totally different experience every time you try. You can choose the fast way — go to the furniture store like IKEA and pick the pretty generic picture you like for cheap. Or you have to spend a lot of time visiting art galleries checking your luck and budget with an unpredictable outcome.

Yes, they have the websites, but it doesn’t help to make a good choice with the reasonable price.

Problem to solve

There are no online art marketplace websites that provide a wide selection of high-quality posters from unique artists with a good price and easy interface. At the same time, there’s a lot of artists and peoples who loves art and want to improve their homes.

Define a strategy first

We started with workshops where the main goal was to clarify expectations from the business side first and then understand how it can be implemented as a product.

After getting the entrepreneur’s idea we define a key functionality to perform a search and competitive analysis of what is already done by others.

From the user’s point of view, our main goal was to understand how peoples are buying wall art, what motivates them, and how we can eliminate their pain points. To get a better idea about our typical client I’ve made a short brief based on assumptions we get during the facilitation workshops. A fast hallway test performed by the product owner and me involving 10 potential clients and 8 artists helped us to make more precise portraits with main pain points. We found out there are two basic groups of clients (target audience) and one average artist’s persona.

Mixing this information about our audience with the business goals helped me to create the Information Architecture and Customer Journey Maps for every type of user and then, after prototyping, they were validated and improved.

Main insights after workshops

  • Found an additional group of clients — the architects and interior designers are always searching for a reliable source of interior printing and it will be very convenient for them to get all wall art from the trusted source
  • A key pain point for buyers: it’s hard to find a set of images in a certain style, size, and color palette in one place (has to spent a lot of time and money)
  • A key pain point for artists: it takes a lot of time to upload, tag, describe and price every image
  • Byers expects order dispatch time to be less than 24 hours
  • App launch can be delayed until the business works sharp

Let's Design!

A crucial step in defining a skeleton of the new project is making every task visible in the backlog. Plan big (with milestones) rise higher step by step (with tasks).

All insights and ideas we’ve got at the Discovery stage are tasks for sprints now. But first, let’s fill the backlog!

I use short weekly sprints to stay agile and track progress along the way the project goes.

Decided to start the design process with the basic AI, Identity, and Design System because I have to understand:

  1. WHAT to design (how many types of screens, what purposes, which elements we have to create);
  2. HOW IT FEELS LIKE (Brand Identity will give us look and feel);
  3. HOW WOULD IT WORKS TOGETHER (the Design System keeps things together, define hierarchy and consistency for every piece of the whole product).

This first sprint is creative, unpredictable at the beginning, but serves as a basis for the strong foundation at the end.

Design System

Colors, Fonts, Grids, and other molecules defined here will be used everywhere, that’s why it is important to set them from the very beginning.

I made Components and published the entire Design System to a Team Library, now it’s the source of truth.

Figma’s inspector is good, but our development team decided Zeplin is better, so for development handoff I made an export here.

Screens preview

While the project is in the development stage and not published yet I can share only a few screens. Soon there will be a link to the website.

Client's feedback

David Laxton

David Laxtоn


Ivan is an extremely talented designer / eCommerce specialist. I will keep Ivan for all my designs moving forward.
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