All Work

Dan Brown

Since 2012 I’ve been engaged in multiple aspects of the digital presence of the notorious author Dan Brown. In those years he has released several new books and movies, and with each release came a new opportunity to do something engaging for his fanbase.

Dan Brown’s Inferno Augmented Reality App

For his release of Inferno in 2013 Dan Brown’s publisher challenged us with coming up with an engaging activation. The goal was to appeal both to his wider audience (basically the entire population), as well as to his more dedicated hardcore fans. The output needed to promote the new book and also be a viral piece able to create some organic buzz and traction.

Augmented reality was picking up steam in 2013 and we wanted to leverage some of that technology for this campaign. We landed on a very simple and accessible experience, where fans would be directed upon the download of the app to scan their phones across the book cover. As they did that, the book cover would transform and they would be taken down into the depths of hell.

The AR interaction was meant to bring the user into the experience, and the next challenge was to keep them engaged. Dan Brown is well known for leaving clues in plain sight, so to achieve the stickiness we channelled that aspect of his persona by creating a social scavenger hunt within the app.

Users were asked to look for symbols out in the wild, collect them all and then share them to the specialized Facebook app hub that we created. Winners were selected to receive signed copy of the new book.

Working with the creative assets from an entity like Dan Brown is a designer’s dream, as one might imagine. Dan and his team were open to exploring all kinds of fun visual directions, which for this project happen to be things like “the vastness of hell.” NBD.

We took full advantage of this creative freedom and no stone was left unturned, including these fun lil optical illusion icons, which were a play on the topic of the book – ‘descending into hell’.


My Role

Spearheaded all of the UX and the entirety of the visual design for the app, leveraging existing artwork as well as creating custom graphics using pretty heavy image manipulation.

Additional Credits

3D & Compositor: Cristian Gallo
Audio & SFX: Skyler Klingenberg
Production: Hilary Kempers

Other Dan Brown Projects

2013 – 2018

Back in 2013 Sanborn embarked on a journey to create an immersive and highly visual website for Dan Brown that would house all of his publications and hundreds of pieces of engaging content. Since day one it was riddled with clues sprinkled throughout to delight his (extremely active) massive fanbase.

In 2015 I helped transition the site to be fully responsive, make UI enhancements and have updated the look/feel with the latest artwork. To date it is one of our most visited sites and fans love to dig into the code to see if there are clues hidden within (I’ll never tell!).

Visit the Site

ROLE: Lead Design

Sanborn Agency

2012 - 2018

Demo Video Courtesy Of: Sanborn Agency