MAEKAN is a new way to tell stories online, breaking through the limitations of the digital format to offer quality insights — untainted by commercial conflicts. Instrument worked with Hong Kong-based founders Eugene Kan and Alex Maeland to help them craft a business strategy and visual identity for the brand.

Stories for the curious

Publishing is in flux. Traditional outfits are overhauling their models to keep pace with technology, while newcomers shake up the status quo with new ways to attract and retain readers. The guiding principle behind the MAEKAN story-format arose from exploring the unexpected connections of people within cultures of food, art, music, media, and fashion. Each story is focused under a lens that turns to an audience that craves meaningful content.

Reinventing the model

We set up an extended incubation environment with Kan and Maeland, where we explored options and tested concepts to help MAEKAN effectively launch and sustain their model.

Content, branded

Alongside MAEKAN's efforts to eschew industry trends toward branded content and paid content marketing, we worked closely with the founders to craft a strong brand for the platform itself. This started with deep discussion to get to the core of the brand’s personality, establishing a strong position and point of view. We then took that position and built a visual language and interaction framework to express the brand through every touchpoint of the experience. 

“Everybody has a story to tell. It’s an interesting challenge to find out how best to tell those stories. For us, it’s about wanting to understand and help build powerful cultural and creative movements around us.”
Eugene Kan
Listen up

Taking stock from the successful evolution of podcasts, audio-based storytelling paired with striking photography emerged as the most impactful device to unpack MAEKAN content.

“Our current media landscape is noisy and that makes it difficult to create impactful content. We believe audio storytelling sits at the intersection of convenience, connection, and intimacy, which is a combination that works really well for media consumption. Asking somebody to listen to a 20-minute story is more reasonable than reading a 20-minute story.”
Eugene Kan
This is big. Believe me.

The internet is a vast and ever-expanding source of information. But as it continues to grow, it will be ever more important to have trustworthy authorship — and ever more difficult to tell quality, independent views from the false or commercially compromised. Innovators like MAEKAN prove the future of quality storytelling online is bright.

Explore MAEKAN


Technical Strategy



Front-end Development


UX Strategy

Content Strategy

Brand Strategy



Photography Direction

Sound Design


UI Design

UX Design

Art Direction

Visual Design

Creative Direction

Motion Design

Art Institute of Chicago