In 2016, Studio Flolab was started keeping one motive in mind - to provide our customers with good Quality design. Quality over quantity was Flolab’s foundation 5 years back and has remained so till this day. Having said that, growth and scale is important for any company to keep their feet firm on the ground and we’ve been working hard towards growing slowly but steadily in the last few years.
2022 marks Flolab’s sixth year. In the last few years, we’ve expanded our wings by adding diversity to our piles of project. When we started off, our focus was solely on the booming startup industry of Indonesia. Today, we have transitioned into providing simple and accessible design for all, whether it’s a rapidly growing startup or a large established corporation.
This transition pushed us to re-brand ourselves, which is something we have been discreetly working on in the last year. Just like how design iterations lie at the core of keeping design and technology up to date with changing times, we believe it’s time to hit refresh on Flolab as a brand too in order to keep it up to date with our design services and clientele.
In the last few years, the one thing that has changed for us as a design team is our perspective, particularly on how we should deliver high quality design to our clients. Although we understand the value aesthetics plays in order to make a lasting impression on users, we were no longer committed to designing based on just the look and feel of a product. Instead, we aimed to innovate the business by tackling existing problems through extensive research and building a strong UX foundation. Parallelly, we also started educating our clients on the importance of a UX-first mindset.
Speaking of clients, it’s undeniable that the pandemic has played a large part in our decision to rebrand. During the last couple of years, we noticed a shift in the tech industry which brought about changes in our clientele. Large corporations were starting to embrace the huge potential in digital transformation. This opened up new opportunities for us as we collaborated with more established corporations that were ready to take their digital businesses up a notch.
As design and development teams continue to grow in large organisations, there was a growing need for more in-depth user research. A complete end-to-end design process became necessary to help companies get used to a rapid and iterative design approach, starting from product discovery, design audits, user research, interface design to developer handoff. We started working collaboratively with our client’s internal teams to set up a design process that could be followed by the company in the long run.
Step 1 – Shared Understanding
Our first step was to look inwards and ask our own team on what they thought Flolab represented. We asked them what Flolab’s branding philosophy ideally should be in order to address our growing clientele. Talking to our own team was important for us, because they’re the ones working day in and day out closely with our clients; and who best to understand our client’s needs if not all the designers themselves?
We ran a small survey amongst our team members and asked them how Flolab was perceived as a brand based on a few personality traits listed below.
The survey was followed by an intensive discussion among all team members. Newer team members had opinions based on first impressions, while the older team members formed theirs based on the years of experience working with Flolab. The personality traits discussion that surrounded the new brand, was not only focused around the logo or visual design, but also on Flolab’s culture, work ethics and the newly embraced remote work style.
Based on the insights gathered, we decided to continue the rebranding process with a modern, innovative and friendly approach, whilst preserving our brand’s professionalism.
At the core, Flolab’s values have not changed over the years. Our commitment to be reliable, trustworthy and deliver digital product excellence has set us up for a singular goal: Innovating business solutions with high quality Product & UX Design. We started our design process by mapping out this core Value Proposition. It helped us keep our team, design and brand aligned at all times during the design process.
Next, we worked with the good ol’ google spreadsheet to outline a list of Flolab’s products that needed a refresh. Chronologically, we decided to start with tweaking our logo, eventually moving on to a brand new website. Once an estimated schedule had been outlined, we proceeded to the fun and messy part of the design process: brainstorming.
Like any designer, we value the magic in collecting visual references consisting of images, patterns, visuals, fonts and more. This allows us to observe and learn from universally proven designs that have been tried and tested by other brands or companies. Moodboarding is a key step in the process that helps define our overall look and set the visual direction of the product before we deep dive into creating all design collaterals.
• Information Architecture
We started by listing down all the content that needed to be included in the website. Once we knew what that was, we began organising the site hierarchy and navigation accordingly, starting from the home page, client showcase, case studies, and so on.
• Content Design via Storytelling
We wanted our website to tell our story - the story of our journey over the last 6 years in this industry. Therefore, we crafted our content individually for each page of the website explaining our design process, our services, our projects, our clients and everything in between with a carefully constructed narrative.
• Design explorations
Design = Iteration. The most exciting phase of any design project is to work on designs and continue iterating till you’ve finally arrived at one that just works! This back and forth process was done internally, with feedback and suggestions from all the key members of our team. Right from wireflows to interactive mockups, we did it all.
• Finding the right tools
For designing prototypes, Figma has always been our best friend. It’s a no brainer that we also relied quite a bit on Adobe Creative Suite for assets like our logo, custom illustrations and icons. The tool we had to choose carefully though, was the website builder. After weighing all our options, we decided to go ahead with Webflow to build our website. Webflow being super designer-friendly gave us the liberty to design and build a very high quality mobile responsive website without any code, at the same time it also provided an easy to use CMS.
Once the Webflow prototype was developed, we all ran a quick audit of all the pages - on both, desktop and mobile platforms to spot any bugs, inconsistencies or errors. This “cleaning up” process is to ensure the launched product runs smoothly and as per our initial set expectations during the prototyping phase.
When we started with the design refresh, the first thing we touched upon was the logo. The old gradient and outline format of the old logo didn’t quite make the cut for our new brand personality which should represent a company that is mature, modern and assertive. Having said that, we wanted to maintain the familiarity that came with the casual and friendly look and feel that the initial ‘F’ provided.
Making just a few minor tweaks, we worked on an improvised version with sharper edges and a sturdier frame that’s meant to look like a pillar. With this in mind, we believe the new logo not only emphasises Flolab’s boldness, but also portrays our confidence and the mark we’ve made in this industry in the last few years.
After sticking with gradient tones all this while, we decided to replace it with one solid color. Purple is our primary color and we wanted to keep it that way, in fact, we want to let that color shine in all its glory because it mixes the calming and reliable energy that comes from blue and the exciting and fierce energy that comes from red. Just like the color purple, we wanted our design to stand at the intersection of the two opposing forces of energy.
For our typeface we decided to go with +Jakarta Sans - a versatile modern type family designed initially for +Jakarta City’s branding by Tokotype; that we happened to stumble upon during our hunt for a font that would become unique to Flolab. It provides the right amount of stability and beauty combined in one font family, which was exactly what we were looking for to build on the Flolab brand’s charm.
The face of our company and the meat of our design work — our website went through a complete redesign, focusing primarily on narrative-driven content. Our goal is to showcase our toiled design process through our project case studies. We want our visitors to skim through our process and understand how we work on different kinds of design projects; whether it’s a UI Redesign or a UX Workshop. Each story is weaved attentively in order to engage the reader into the content, creating an inviting experience across the website.
Each case study elaborates the project scope, our challenges, solutions and engagement models. We crafted the design of every page individually to tell each project’s own unique story, showcasing our work right from raw userflows to finished prototypes. We go on to talk about what worked through the design process and what didn’t, providing pointers to educate future clients about the challenges that are just as much a part of the design process as beautifully finished mockups.
When a client comes to us with tech-related constraints and pain points, we try our best to propose a solution via design built on usability and thorough research. We don’t tell clients what’s trending in the UI realm; instead, we tell them how research-based deliverables are more dependable and long lasting. We recommend adopting methods such as usability testing, user interviews and/or competitive study, so that we can avoid making decisions based on hunches alone.
At Flolab, we detest working in a design bubble. We strive to support our clients by working collaboratively with their engineering, product, marketing teams. Whether it’s a discussion regarding the product roadmap or direct user feedback, our streamlined workflow helps maintain close interactions with stakeholders and their teams on a day to day basis.
Designing a brand from scratch is not an easy feat, and the same could be said when a business undergoes a re-brand. Though it may seem tedious at first, rebranding can be an option for businesses to hit reset – which is exactly what we decided to do. Regardless of the cause, a brand design funnels down to one goal, and that is improvement.
Of course, having gone through such a long process ourselves, we cannot ignore the lessons gained here. We believe, for every completed project, there will always be some takeaways – or advice – to refer back to. Having said that, allow us to share ours!
1. Include your entire team in the journey
Generally speaking, design is a collaborative process. Gathering internal feedback and opinions, encouraging contribution in any small way, can help every team member feel like they’re all a part of this journey together. This can also strengthen the sense of ownership within each team member, making them feel like they’re working on their very own brand.
2. Create long-lasting design based on usability
As trends fades over time, ease of use is something that sticks around and makes a design usable in the long run. By identifying how easy (or difficult) it is for a user to reach from point A to point B, it allows businesses to decode what is or is not functional within the product. Good user experience reduces cognitive load on the user’s mind, and we understand that good UX is a constant iterative process. We’ve only just gotten started.
3. Break down the rebranding process into phases
Depending on the circumstances, rebranding might as well be considered as re-doing nearly everything from scratch. In some cases, a business may even revamp their entire vision, mission and goals. Whatever the milestones are, it’s guaranteed to be a long journey. Which is why it’s always best to break up the rebranding process into smaller bite-sized chunks that can be completed gradually over time.
4. Rebranding = Evolving
One misconception about rebranding is that a business only rebrands because it’s failing in one way or the other. In reality, a rebrand may be necessary for businesses to stay relevant in the game as markets continue to evolve. The key is to rebrand effectively, not to fear it. When done right, a rebrand can actually benefit a company’s sales or service.
5. Design around your core identities
Think of your business’ core values as circles forming a venn diagram; and then think about your business as the pivot standing at the intersection – this is where your identity should stand. Your branding should closely reflect on your business’ personality, core values and the message you want future clients to receive.
Thank you for taking the time to read through our journey! It’s been a fun ride for all of us to be working on this rebrand exercise and we look forward to witnessing how the new Flolab will help us grow in the new year!
If you’re looking to build a mobile app or website, or just want to talk about design, reach out to us to have a chat.