From jr. designer in an environment that: lacked design, with no budget, and with big dreams. To leading a team of 5 people, a professional Branding, User Experience, and User Interface. When I came in they basically told me: "We're aiming for funding in the coming year so we have to shape up." And that is exactly what I helped them with. They gave me 6 months to do a rebranding, while simultaneously working on redesigning their UX and UI. And in the end, get 6 million in funding. After that first project, I got the task of creating an environment where a design team can thrive and create quality designs.
Create the fundamentals of a strong brand in short period / Create the fundamentals of a strong User Interface and User Experience / Grew from a Junior to Lead designer in 2.5 years / Guided 3 interns into becoming working professionals / Lead a team of 5 designers in both branding and product / Always worked with a small budget and small amount of time / Worked with a balance between numbers and people. (Hotjar, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, User Research) / Worked in an environment where design decisions always had to be well balanced with business goals / Help raise 6 million euros
Money and time were scarce. I could outsource only very little, so I knew I had to be able to create everything that I came up with. There were a lot of stakeholders and investors involved, so I knew I had to guide this process well. The biggest requirements were. Orange had to stay involved. The logo had to stay similar. There was no money for fonts. The redesign of the branding had to be done within 6 months.
So where to start right? To me, good design starts with a good understanding of the problem. I started researching the company itself. Why do they exist? And who are the people who create it? I studied its history and collected inspiration that captured the essence of HousingAnywhere. Then I studied its users. What are their problems, and are we solving them? How do they see our brand and products?
After all the research I knew where I could improve what went lost in translation. There was an overlap in how we wanted to be, and how our users saw us. Our target group and our employees were mostly young people so we wanted to capture this vibrancy and playfulness. Our target group were using our platform to get housing for either ex-pat or study experiences. So trust, reliability, and professionalism were big factors. And it should feel easy. Because moving abroad can seem so difficult. We concluded our core values. Easy, Fun, and Reliable. And we started working from there.
During our branding, we learned so much. And it created a great basis for me to work from when working on our UX and UI. We didn't have the resources to do a full re-design of the platform in one go. So we knew we had to work more agile and in cycles. We decided that we would do a redesign in 2 steps. First, we improve our current pages, to prepare for redesigning them in a later phase. And in the meantime start working on our design system. This way our redesign would be way more efficient. Our most visited pages we fully redesigned within the possibilities of our code legacy, lack of resources, lack of time, SEO goals, and business goals. And so the feeling of our branding also reached the touchpoints in our product and services.