I’m a visual communications designer caring for communities through conscientious research, meaningful interactions, and well-made things.    

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      I’m a visual communications designer caring for communities through conscientious research, meaningful interactions, and well-made things.

Off Beat: Local Music on Wheels


Sam Colavecchio & Alex Potter


After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator


5 weeks


Off Beat is a no tech design concept that repurposes under-utilized neighborhood spaces and transforms them into venues for live performance to connect local musicians and listeners in their own cities and neighborhoods.

Problem Space

Our project began with the question: why is it so difficult to find local music?

From our team’s own experiences as listeners, we feel first hand how tedious and time conusming it is to discover and support our local musicians. Likewise musicians feel how challenging it is to reach new audiences. We hypothesized that where bands are sharing their music is not where listeners are listening, and vice versa- where listeners are consuming i not accessible to small, independent musicians.

As we began to research this problem space, we wanted to learn more about how listeners find and listen to smaller, independent musicians, how musicians discover new audiences and spaces to share their music, and what might keep these two groups from connecting.

Understanding the Problem

We only had two weeks to understand our problem area and begin brainstorming our concept. We interviewed four musicians and two listeners to learn more about how this problem space was actualizing in their experiences and communities.

Through these conversations, we learned about both the musicians’ and listeners’ frustration with the rigitity of algorithms and how they prohibited authenticity, curiousity, and boundless exploration. Both groups expressed difficulty in finding communities both online and in phsyical spaces. Finally, we learned about the limitations of their exploration- bands won’t use something if it’s too time consuming and listeners won’t search for something if it’s not easy to access, creating a significant barrier from them accessing one another.

Design Principles

As we digested these discoveries and began to ideate on our concept, we created three guiding principles that synthesized the concerns of our user groups.

Following these design principles, we evaluated concept ideas with our peers and learned novel experiences generated the most excitement and positive feedback. We also recognized the excitement around in person connection points and the importance of no-tech experiences. As we took this feedback and developed our final concept, we returned to our design principles and asked: how might we create neutral, welcoming spaces for people to perform and experience music together that supports local musicians without relying on technology?

Introducing Off Beat

Off Beat is a design system of no tech components that connects listeners with local musicians right in their own cities and neighborhoods. The heart of Off Beat is to connect local music with listeners by repurposing spaces that are already embedded and trusted in communities but are under-utilized in evenings and at night, like libraries or galleries or coffee shops, etc., and to transform them into spaces to showcase local music. We do this to create an infrastructure that supports the sustainability of local musicians, build an accessible community that centers and supports artists, and meet listeners where they already are.

The Publication and the Mobile Stage

Off Beat promotes a curated schedule of live, local music via a monthly publication called the Track the Truck Map. This map can be found at the truck itself or with our community partners where the shows are being hosted, and also serves as a ticket to the events, promotional tool for band, and a keepsake for listeners. The format of the publication is nostalgic of vintage road maps you’d buy in gas stations on a road trip.

To support these in person events, we built a mobile stage, the Off Beat Truck, to support these events. The mobile stage performs two primary purposes: first, to serve as logistics and promotional support at the shows themselves, by collecting tickets, carrying gear, and supporting crowd management. Second, the truck appears around the city at community events to drive promotion and awareness for local music scenes.

Visual Identity

Visually the system as a whole is inspired by DIY music movements and uses mixed type systems, energetic colors, and collage-style photo editing to reinforce the human touch and experimental energy of the project.

The Pitch Video

Watch the pitch video to learn more about Off Beat.

© Sam Colavecchio 2024

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