Rethinking Link in Bio: a new way for artists to connect with fans

Beth Dobson & Zackerea Bakir

Temple’s new platform for musicians makes marketing simple. Alongside creating the brand, we developed a vision for the product itself, an endlessly adaptable ‘Link in Bio’ experience.

Music marketing, simplified. That’s the promise of Temple, a startup full of music fanatics building the one-stop shop for personal promotion. They were determined to create a deeper connection between musicians and their followers. We were determined to create a digital experience to do just that.

Having designed the Temple brand identity, and knowing the need for a powerful product, we had the building blocks to craft a unique experience. We just had to work out how.

Our Temple brand system created a framework for artist drops

Setting it apart

Temple were focusing on a ‘Link in Bio’ experience. A web-based product that allows users to easily showcase music and merch from their social media channels, usually on a white label site. We’d seen how others used this model and felt it could be improved.

As always, we began with a robust strategic foundation. Auditing the current Temple system and competitors against audience needs, we determined four main factors to ‘solve’ that would create a cohesive and distinct product.

User customisation

Temple functions as a support act. Its sole purpose is to provide a space where musicians can make their mark. But, to build a brand, we couldn’t lose the Temple presence altogether.

Editorial freedom

As well as visual style, users should have control over information hierarchy. This flexibility would offer complete customisation while supporting any type of artist content.

Unique drop types

We wanted to create feelings of exclusivity and excitement around content. This could happen through Temple’s ‘drop’ (releases) system and exclusive artist content.

Subscription CTAs

Temple wanted to deepen fan-artist connections. Followers should be able to stay connected to their favourite artists and be updated easily.


Wireframing how these factors would show up defined the product strategy: a blueprint to follow in the design & build phases.

Early wireframes guided the discussion around potential product features

This functionality would be key to delivering a useful product. But to get people excited, utility had to be wrapped in an expressive system. It was time to loosen our thinking.

Sprint 1: Exploring the tensions

For the platform to showcase the musicians’ personalities, we wanted to see how far we could push the Temple brand system without being too rigid. We explored how brand shapes and artists’ content could be combined and manipulated. This helped us understand the key moments, where expressive points could shine or functionality would take over.

The strategic phase had built a library of ‘must-have’ features. Some were purely practical and others, like the intro recording function, more open. These became the building blocks for a modular system of components. They’d allow users to control their own hierarchy and give Temple a coherent package of tools to take to market.

Throughout the design process, we grew and refined a library of UI components

Wrapping up this phase, we presented four levels of the product vision. At the top, level one provided the most templated experience, with artist content laid inside. Going deeper, level four was the most immersive. It plunged users into their own worlds, displaying large-scale imagery and minimal navigation.

Using our knowledge of the Temple brand, early creative exploration sought to maximise an artist’s expression

Aligning user needs with commercial strategy

We were mindful that what was best for the user should support the client’s commercial strategy. This is why the sprint process works well. After each interaction we’d share our progress with Temple and check how it aligned with their vision. This meant we could stay attuned to their needs and gave them more agency over the process.

The first presentation is always one of the most exciting, as the clients start to see their business vision materialised. After a round of feedback, we agreed on the next direction, somewhere around level three of immersion, and started to think about functionality again.

Balancing artist and brand

For the product to take off, we knew artists would need full customisation — the ability to make Temple pages their own. The challenge was to give artists this agency over their space, while maintaining the sense of a distinct Temple brand. Too much brand would be overbearing. Not enough would see Temple overlooked.

That meant that colour, logo and hierarchy were up for grabs, while the overall feel and framework should remain distinctly ‘Temple’. As a startup whose goal was to grow the number of early access users, it was vital for people to know these were Temple pages.

In refinement, we explored component flexibility and helped Temple’s product team set rules for customisation

Sprint 2: Nailing the structure

Armed with a creative vision and a collection of components, now we needed a framework. While the link-in-bio format is a web-based experience, the structure doesn’t need to be approached like a website. Usually accessed from a social media profile, these experiences function more like a standalone app.

This meant we could explore navigation formats other than burger menus and navigation bars. Artists would want to curate their feeds. Breathe personality into their pages. And followers want to be immersed in their favourite artist’s world, but easily access key content or products. The framework would need to support both sets of needs.

We experimented with different types of layout. From tabs containing every content type — Shop, Tickets, Social and more — to a singular ‘Spotify-esque’ feed, with an endless scroll of content made from our Temple modular blocks. Both had positives but created problems around usability and flexibility with different amounts of content.

We needed to combine the two. A simple feed-like homepage, offering extensive customisation for artists, alongside a landing page. This would be a visually striking introductory experience to an artist’s page, with tabs for a bio and shop making it simple to navigate. The structure was agreed.

Prototyping the proposed app structures helped us understand which gave the best experience

Sprint 3: Bringing it together

With a structure in place, and striking visual moments like the landing experience, Temple was starting to look like a must-have Link in Bio product. We just had to tighten the screws before passing it over to Temple’s development team.

For this we put functionality front of mind again to ensure best practice: testing Figma prototypes to check the product was easy to navigate and use; pushing customisation to the limit to find where the system would creak; animating navigation items to help connect expressive moments with functional features.

The final prototype we delivered will guide the Temple team’s vision as they rapidly iterate on the first generation of the product.

Offering an expressive world is essential to our work, but we had to ensure Temple fulfilled its core function: to make music marketing simple for artists. We explored communications on the platform, seeing how targeted messages via email, SMS and Instagram DMs sat within the system and creating easy ways to share content.

Finally, we reviewed our four initial markers of success — user customisation, editorial freedom, unique drop types and subscription CTAs — to ensure the Temple experience offered everything we’d set out to do. And, by scheduling handovers and check-ins, we helped the in-house team build ownership and grow the work beyond what we’d made together.

Handing over UI libraries at the end of the process gave the team the same toolkit we’d built from

The ultimate Link in Bio

Our initial research showed us the link-in-bio space had become repetitive. Most products followed a functional but formulaic approach that went unchallenged. Temple gave us the chance to build something more.

Balancing artistic creativity and expression with functionality and simplicity, we created something that allows fans to really feel closer to musicians. Getting unique drops earlier, buying tickets first and wearing the colours of favourite artists spreads joy which benefits both parties.

Temple makes the music industry a little more accessible for everyone. We’re proud of that, and every time we see a Temple page in an Instagram bio we’ll feel that bit of pride again. Strong functionality shouldn’t mean the death of expressive design. By considering both alongside each other we create a perfect balance of personality and usability.


Want to know more about our approach to product vision work? Drop Gemma an email.

Beth Dobson & Zackerea Bakir

Beth (she/her) is a Senior Digital Designer driven by a fascination for inclusive practice in product design. In Ideas she shares her thinking around inclusive UX & visual design, femtech and healthcare. Zack (he/him) started his career in design here at Output, with a successful internship leading to his role as Junior Strategist. As well as writing about his experiences in the industry, he’s interested in the role of representation, and how it can be improved to create more inclusive brands.