We have been working with A1 (one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Croatia) for some time now. During our cooperation, the app has gone through a few redesigns and changed as the years went by. This time our clients wanted to update the app with some fresh backgrounds.
Full disclosure: The app looks different for the users who are topping up their account (prepaid users) and those who receive a bill at the end of the month (postpaid users). That detail is important because it gave us more room for creativity and more work to be done.
We organized an internal workshop to explore different directions. These themes were our possible directions:
After sending over our proposals, the clients decided to go with the minimalist photo concept but with a slight change - to stick to their brand palette as much as possible.
The idea was there, but now it was time to somehow actually execute it. 😬
Choosing and arranging items is one thing, but we can't forget about the colouristic part of the visual communications. Specific guidelines have to be followed in order for the brand to be recognized. We were provided with a palette we could use, so it was a challenging way to find out how to be creative within color constraints.
To develop the concept further and kickstart our ideas, we had to get a little inspired. We browsed through various Pinterest boards, some personal portfolios of visual artists and eye-catching Instagram profiles to land on something that spoke to us in a way we initially imagined.
This was probably one of the hardest (and most fun!) parts of this journey. We wanted to capture A1's motto "New shape of life" in our photos. To make sure our concepts emit the mood we were aiming for, we had to link system screen statuses with specific items and compositions. The result was a very, very detailed collaborative list of ideas, motifs, photoshoot preparation to-dos and dollar-store item prices.
After getting the final approval from our clients, it was time to get the ball rolling and start prepping materials. Our team has quite a few perfectionists, which means nothing can be left to chance. Pretty much everything we imagined was sketched out in an attempt to make ideas less abstract and to try and foresee possible hiccups.
When you brainstorm concepts like these, it's not that easy to locate all of the necessary items. We needed a lot of our props to be fun-sized, since creating scenery with real-sized items could be quite challenging. We googled unusual terms, dollar-store-hopped all around the town and pinned all our hopes on help from colleagues.
*Pictured - Word-for-word quotes from Slack.
The gathering adventure wasn't easy, but we were victorious in collecting everything we needed. To make it all brand-compliant, we had to intervene chromatically. We wanted to make the photos seem partly surreal as if they were digitally modelled objects rather than real-life items, while also keeping some of the realistic photography elements.
We spray-painted some of the props in colors from our palette in our in the garage of our company's building. The whole event was messy, sticky, colorful and fun.
The process is not always as glamorous as it seems when you look at the final product.
Some of the team members got quite a workout by holding a Christmas ball suspended on a branch, or a donut hanging by a thread, while keeping perfectly still for 20+ minutes. We made glitter cocktails, threw candy on the floor, ate cheesecake after taking photos. All in all, 10/10, would recommend (and do again).
The clients were on board, but some tweaks were needed.
Every color was meticulously planned, but brand colors are a very specific and there was little to no chance in getting everything right to the HEX straight away. Enter: Photoshop magic.
The photos were already looking great in their original state, but their real worth was especially obvious after some digital intervention. Colors had to be adjusted, shadows had to be eliminated, and props had to look picture-perfect. A lot of layers were involved, and pixel by pixel we got there.
Many hours later, everything was in its right place, and it was time to incorporate our shiny new backgrounds into the app's UI design. It was incredible to see it all come to together just as we wanted it to.
We’d like to thank our photographer Luka Travaš for doing a fantastic job, our PM Luka Filipan for providing emotional support and junk food, photo studio Flavorific for a great atmosphere, fellow team members Renato Mandić, Ivana Bugarinović, Vita Vrebac, Luka Reicher, Marina Jukić. Oh, and our clients A1 for giving us a chance to work on the most fun task ever!