All Work


Kate Foster, the founder of SwearBy needed help shaping her product: an app that combats the woes of finding genuine recommendations for products that aren’t tainted by sponsorships and bad Yelp vibes. My team worked with Kate to name and brand her product, as well as design and develop a trustworthy network of real product reviews.

The Challenge

Kate came to us at very early stages, when SwearBy was merely a concept. Our task was a soup-to-nuts one. We had to establish a highly polished and well defined brand, and then help craft the product offering to be one that was innovative, simple and reliable.

The Solution

We narrowed down the target audience and executed a naming process which involved deep dives into SEO and took into account a multitude of factors. We then put together a preliminary user flow and iterated until we felt it hit a balance of being a utility tool while also providing a strong community aspect.


After going through the naming process and landing on SwearBy we opened up a bunch of doors for ourselves in terms of the brand. We needed the brand to appeal mostly to females in their 30s, but overall it needed to remain fairly neutral in its general appeal. We built the brand aesthetic with that in mind. The result was a playful mark that played up the notion of ‘swearing by’ an item, as in “I swear by this hair curler.” The pinky mark was a supporting brand element that the client really loved and we found ways to leverage it throughout the experience (e.g. app icon).

User Journey

The product began as an oversimplified tool where a user could input a product name and find quick recommendations from their friends and family (via Facebook connect). This was the very initial raid prototype of the concept. From there we iterated and expanded on the concept over and over again, launching an alpha and then beta versions of the product. We validated each version through user testing on small segments of audiences and deducted how to best balance the utilitarian aspect of the app with its social networking capabilities.

This aspect of the process was the most fascinating to me and one where we learned a lot about balance and the value of simplicity.

Browsing / Discovery & Socialization

In the current release of the app the experience is lead with the user’s ability to quickly scan the latest products that have been recommended by their friends, or ones that have been added by the wider user base. They can interact with those recommendations by saving them to their account (to later scope and purchase), or comment with questions or validations. They can then also search for products that have been recommended by their community by inputing search terms or hashtags. Search terms return specific products that are in the system (prioritized in the order by most recommended within the platform), as well as top Swears from their connections.

The quick-hit utility aspect of the app makes it a great go-to tool for when you’re looking for something specific and want to see if anyone you trust has ‘swore by’ anything recently.

Recommending / Sharing

The flip side of the app is the ability to input your own recommendations into the SwearBy system. The app leverages Amazon as the main database for the products, but items can also be manually submitted from other sites or brick and mortar stores.

Since the app is a very visual experience the initial input of the Swear begins with a photo of your favorite product. You can then link it to an existing product ID within the platform or drop in a custom URL to the item. You then can write some custom details regarding why you are recommending the item and share it with your community. Upon doing so you are growing your own library of items in your profile, where you can prioritize what your top favorite items are. This brings added value by allowing users to visit each others profiles and quickly see which products are their top favorites at the moment.


My Role

Oversaw the naming and branding, helping guide the overall visual direction. Headed up the UX effort behind the various releases of the app. Ran quality assurance tests and validated assumption & features.

Additional Credits

Branding: Anna Hiort
Design Lead: Jeffrey Peltzman

Swearby Blog

In addition to the app experience we have also recently launched a SwearBy blog where Kate has been able to gather incredible guest contributors to submit lists of their all time favorite products. These influencers are helping to fuel the community and add value to the product and brand. The blog creates a full circle, by connecting your trustworthy community of friends with curated trailblazers from various industries.

Visit the Site


Sanborn Agency

2013 - 2018