Fender Guitars

Creative Consultant
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation

The Project

As a key element of my Junior year in the USC Iovine and Young Academy, I led a small student team that partnered with Fender Guitars to provide an in depth analysis targeting the dwindling youth guitar market.

We worked directly with Fender’s Chief Marketing Officer Evan Jones, and a small team of select individuals from their Hollywood Headquarters. 

After examining market trends, we recommended Fender take back ownership of the retail experience, rather than relying on Guitar Center employees to be the front line for selling their products. 

To implement this objective, we designed a modular and portable Point Of Purchase Experience (POP-Ex) to incorporate the legacy of the brand with the experience of the modern consumer. 



Through customer interviews, we gathered and distilled our data into four key takeaways that would form the direction of our presentation and customer experience. 

    1. Fender needs to be the guitar brand that sparks the curiosity of music in first time musicians and keeps experienced performers interested, not simply a guitar manufacturer. 
    2. When designing a sales presentation that involves marketing to youth, do not neglect the parents -  they’re generally the ones buying guitars for their children.
    3. Traditional sales outlets prioritize the object (the guitar), over the action (playing the guitar). Create an experience that prioritizes the action of playing guitar. 
    3. New customers need to be reached where they already are. Rather than relying on prospective customers walking into a guitar store, introduce the concept and products into other stores and cultural locations. 
    4. Provide a unique physical product presentation with robust digital interaction. 

Below are a sample of slides used in giving update presentations to our team at Fender. 


After developing various experimental sketches, we began to focus on a specific design concept, and moved toward simultaneous digital and physical prototyping. Once we were satisfied with the look and operation of the proposed display, we made a physical scale model and rendered it into a potential partner retail space, Urban Outfitters. 

Additionally, we wireframed functionality for a ‘Playtest’ that would recommend the proper tier of guitar for a customer after playing a sample of music on one of the provided guitars.


After presenting our work to Fender, and based on their feedback, created detailed renderings of the concept, exploring additional potential form factors (accommodation for locking storage if this is installed in public spaces, inclusion of printed material) as well as a number of different finishes. 

To complete the prototype display, we worked closely with Lush Retail, Fender’s go-to company for design and manufacturing  retail fixtures.

Below is the finished final design.