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A Study in Fusing Technology with Design

November 19,2017

Our creative department here at Data Access Europe was recently engaged by long-time customer, donorflex, to increase the overall visibility of their company and product in hopes of extending their market reach. Here’s some insight in to our approach to projects like this, and how it was successful for donorflex…

When considering design

Why design? What purpose does it serve? Design isn’t purely aesthetical, nor completely functional. It’s that thin line in between. When designing an application, website or video it’s important to think about how it makes the end-user feel. What do they experience when looking at your product or engaging with your brand? Basically design is about creating a harmony between aesthetics, technology, the end-user and the brand.

The harmony

When creating a product, regardless of whether it is an application, a website, or a video, we always think about the story that needs to be told. What do you, the client, want to express? What makes your product or brand unique? We always call it the ‘self’ of a product or company, because that’s what makes your brand authentic, it’s your self.

Based on that self we can get to work. We know what you want to tell the end-user and what they need to experience. We combine aesthetics, technology, the experience of the end-user and your brand (self) in every product we create.

IMAGE 1 - Harmony - Creative blog

The harmony of donorflex

donorflex provides top-notch Customer Relationship Management software to UK Charities. Soon they will release donorflex 11, which means the start of a new era, as Mark Higgitt, Media Services Manager at donorflex said during EDUC 2016.

In 2016 Mark Higgitt and his team travelled a lot from Birmingham to Hengelo, to discuss the way they were going to release these big changes in donorflex 11. Together we defined the donorflex self. This was the result:

IMAGE 2 - Self donorflex - Creative blog

Again, the goals of this project were for donorflex to increase the visibility of their company and product, and to extend their market reach. They also wanted to freshen up the look and feel of their corporate identity, to match the new donorflex era.

As Mark Higgitt said ‘An evolution in our thinking and a revolution in our use of media to do justice to the quality and potential of our new product.

To convey this self of donorflex, we worked on the following:

  • Typography
  • Use of colors
  • Corporate identity
  • Website
  • Motion graphics
  • Video DIY (Do It Yourself)

Typography

With every message we spread about a company or product, text is a key element. You want people to read the story about your company, a news article or a blog. So even if you don’t always recognize it, the typography on a website determines how you experience the website. The choices of font, font size and used columns is important.

Roughly there are three font types: sans-serif, serif and handwritten. And they convey a different message. Sans-serif is more youthful and clean, serif is more traditional and handwritten is playful, but doesn’t read that easily.

IMAGE 3 - Fonts - Creative blog

Because donorflex wanted to emphasize that they are moving forward to a new era we chosen a sans-serif font. It supports the youthful and no-nonsense appearance of donorflex.

Use of colors

Just like typography colors have a significant impact on the way a product or brand is perceived by the users. Colors have an impact on human behavior and emotions, most of the time even without the observer realizing it. For donorflex we have chosen two colors:

IMAGE 4 - Colors  donorflex - Creative blog

Corporate identity

The typography and the use of colors are the foundation for the corporate identity. The only thing missing is a logo. When creating a logo we always search for something significant that, once again, supports the self of the company or product.

For donorflex we have used the circle as a shape in the corporate identity. Basically there are two kind of shapes ‘realistic’ and ‘geometric’ shapes. The circle of donorflex is a realistic shape.

  • Realistic shapes: soft, nature, human, authority, consistency
  • Geometric shapes: angular, simple, direct, individual

IMAGE 5 - Logo donorflex - Creative blog

Website

On the donorflex website all the style elements come together: typography, colors and corporate identity. An important aspect of the website is the use of images. The use of images can support your self and make the end-user relate to the company or product.

IMAGE 6 - Website donorflex - Creative blog

On the site we have used photos from fundraising events combined with abstract images. This creates a combination between the ‘low profile’ and the ‘human’ self of donorflex and their ‘authority’ and ‘professionalism’.

Motion graphic

Videos are a great way to express a brand or product. There are several kind of videos, and they all have their own purpose:

  • Motion graphic: a short animation video that can explain your company or product in less than 2 minutes.
  • Reference video: let others tell how they experience working with you or your product. Hearing this story from someone outside your company makes it more reliable and trustworthy.
  • Tutorial video: with a tutorial you can easily explain difficult subjects. Tutorials are a great way to explain how software works.
  • Company video: with a company video you can give a ‘behind the scenes’ look of your company.

End-users software may be difficult to understand because it is so technical. That’s why we made a motion graphic for donorflex. With a motion graphic we can explain in less than 2 minutes what donorflex is about. We have used the main character called ‘Bob’. Bob supports several fundraising events, but meets several systems on his way. donorflex is the outcome that puts everything in one place.

The motion graphic is styled following the guidelines we set up earlier, and again it shows the self of donorflex.IMAGE 7 - GIF logo animation - Creative blog

Video DIY

The core product of donorflex is their software, also called donorflex. They develop the software and want to spread the word about this software and how to use it. For that goal we created technical tutorials that explain the software. Though separated by 550 miles, we collaborated with donorflex to help them build their own in-house recording studio for the videos.

They recorded their videos on-site, and sent us the raw video material to be edited here in Hengelo. These videos are on a private section of the donorflex website, because they are purely meant for existing customers. We also created a logo animation for the beginning and the end of every video. 

IMAGE 7 - GIF logo animation - Creative blog

Conclusion

A conclusion about design is always a difficult thing, because what is a good design? What I think is the most important is that with everything we create these four things need to line up:

  • Aesthetics
  • Technology
  • End-user experience
  • The brand

If those things work together in a perfect harmony the unique qualities (self) of a product or brand show in everything you do and create.

For more work from our Creative team, take a look at the Creative pages of our Data Access Europe website!