SOW

2020
  • Brand Refresh
  • Website Design & App Redesign
  • Custom Illustrations

The Scope

Akily is an early childhood development app designed to provide customized learning plans for children aged 11 and under. Akily’s learning tracks also create a healthy environment for parents to bond with their children.

Akily has a robust and comprehensive mobile app that had seen an upward spike in downloads due to increased homeschooling, but the quality of the app’s visual design didn’t match the quality or appeal that their target users look for in a digital experience.

This posed a problem for the founders who needed to rectify the disconnect between the visual design and the effectiveness of customized learning. It was time to elevate the look and feel of the app to match the expectations of millennial parents.

The Results

I am very proud of the new website and all of the illustrations I developed for the brand. In the months since its relaunch, Aliky has seen an average monthly increase of 22% in site visitors. I keep in touch with the founders & they are very excited to have a modern & playful visual brand.

Deliverables

  • New Visual Brand
  • New SquareSpace Website
  • New App Design and UI

Moodboards

Basic shapes and primary colors are a simple way to create a childlike environment with shapes like circles, squares, and triangles. Colors like red, blue, and yellow. My goal was to marry these basic shapes with modern sensibilities through texture, patterns, and welcoming characters.

Our collaborative process began with a few conversations which centered around goals, visual and emotional tone, and lots of research. I put together a series of presentation slides for the team and I was able to distill the common themes that the team gravitated towards. This included big’n’bold shapes, rough edges, and a character driven narrative.
  • Fun
  • Bright
  • Simple
  • Friendly
  • Modern
  • Professional

New Website

I began with the redesign of the website because it is much more saturated with bold brand elements as opposed to the restraint I would need in the app’s design.

This meant by the time I moved into the app design, I had a lot of visual standards and asset choices. This also optimized the amount of time that potential new users would interact with the updated brand before, as the app would take much longer to update.

Illustration

Akily's illustrations are the cornerstone of the new visual brand. They appear in nearly every part of the website and heavily throughout the app.

All of the characters are made from a geometric shape that touches on basic shapes children commonly encounter when learning. This gave me a diverse set of "body" types to draw from and allowed me to avoid any potential problematic representations when directly representing real people.

My main objective was to make characters that were relatable but most importantly they needed to be joyous. Like, so much joy. To do this, I designed the characters to have a default wide smile and even wider eyes, which emote tons of excitement.

New Icons

These illustrations pushed the limits of the parameters I had made for characters. These icons needed to convey certain sensory metaphors but the characters up until now, hadn't had extremities, so the new challenge was to include these extra parts in a seamless way that didn't feel shoehorned or inconsistent.

Through all of the challenges, developing these icons was my favorite part of the re-brand and all in all, they went through 2-3 iterations before I had a clear set of standards to build off of.

New App Look

Feedback concerning my design was primarily contained to the button and CTA styles. Tania preferred buttons and containers without a wavy line and wanted to see more depth in certain parts of the design. Together, Tania and I referenced the principles compiled in material design’s resources until we found the best and most accessible options.

I created an emotional connection through the characters that provided a much needed brightness to some the otherwise mundane screens.

Lessons

At every step of the process, I found that “less is more” and a simple approach would result in a positive reaction. For instance, in my second iteration of characters I added too much detail and they no longer resonated with the team. So I went back and refined my V1 of the illustrations which are the final versions we all know and love.

I learned that everything doesn’t have to be wacky for the fun and playful to be effective. When I implemented the wavy line texture throughout the app, it was too much of a distraction and toning it down allowed the content and illustrations to take center stage. Ultimately, the content is the most important feature of this app.