With is a virtual office space for remote teams. As a new startup, the product was in an early stage of development with bare bones. With needed to establish a new visual language for the whole product. Along with UX/UI design, the product needed many graphic assets such as avatars and wallpapers.
I was hired as an illustrator & UX designer to build the With product from the ground up. In addition to the UX and illustration foundation, I also handled many marketing aspects including customer emails, advertisements, product videos, and social media platforms.
First of all, With needed graphic illustrations and a signup page process design immediately. There wasn't much time to sit and think through the visual language. These designs were completed quickly to push an initial design to the audience. As it was a startup, speedy work was important. For a fast and clean illustration, I went for vector illustrations for the first round.
As the vector style illustration looked cold and too generic, we decided to change. Laurent, the co-founder of With, wanted a whimsical look and feel for the product. Inspired by Aesop's fables, Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz, he was looking for something organic, playful, and humane. Mid-century modern design style, such as using abstract geometric shapes, was another huge key word. The first set of style was set by working on various maintenance pages and emails. We decided to go for 2:1 isometric 3D objects matched with flat shapes, colored in a limited color palette. I introduced some cute faces on abstract objects to show some fun!
With was different from other virtual communication tools as it was pushing for audio first meetings instead of turning on videos. In this environment, how to display the avatars was one of the big problems to solve. The existing design seemed to be less interesting and we needed something punchy. In the end, we landed on a new style using transparent PNG illustrations. Later on, we decided to add a talking animation to the avatars when people are talking.
After 3 months of using this style, we once more decided to shake up the visual language again. Using abstract round characters, and 2:1 isometric design style felt limiting. We needed more expressive look of the design. For sure it was a difficult process to create a more expressive design look. This time, we landed on overlapping texture base shapes matching with polished object drawings. I introduced scribbled lines to show the humane expression in the design. The new style was introduced in the emails first, then transferred to the following "Welcome to With" signup page designs.
We were happy to settle on this new textured base style for With. After gathering enough texture assets, other pages needed changes to fit the new theme.
With needed a newly updated landing page with the new visual style. On the landing page, the textured look had to be toned down for legibility. Here, we did numerous user testing via PlaybookUX. After watching people's feedback on our landing page, we iteratively fixed the site to minimize confusion.
After going through two design iterations, we finally settled on the style that bonds well with the brand. It was a long, dark tunnel that I had to go through, but finally came out to the light. The final style was based on stacking ready-made textured shapes, so it was fast and easy to implement new designs. It was the great working style for the new startup.