For the last four years, Emerson Stone has helped the OpenSnow team—Joel Gratz, Andrew Murray and Sam Collentine—with branding, creative direction and digital product design. Joel approached Emerson Stone in the Spring of 2016 with a new product idea that moves away from the snow and powder forecasts into something built for backpackers and hikers. The need OpenSummit was immediately evident for hikers and backpackers to limit the risks in the backcountry and enjoy more time outdoors. The initial launch of OpenSummit focused on a mobile-first strategy to gain early user support on the devices users were likely to have in the backcountry.
Emerson Stone began with the product design of OpenSummit, working to understand the use-cases and using the functionality to shape the brand aesthetic. After realizing that the OpenSummit app felt like an evolution of a backcountry guide, with information about the mountains along with the weather patterns, the app was organized into different groups of educational content. The organization was split between two primary categories. There was the evergreen content, with information and how-tos for the backcountry, and then the dated content, with up-to-date models of weather patterns and lightning risks.