Brand design system for travel audience
As lead designer, my mission in the travel ad-tech startup is to evolve the visual language in all marketing and comms materials. To implement it in a B2B sales oriented operation, we've been building an organized and consistent platform-agnostic design system... PowerPoint first.
travel audience is a Berlin based startup providing data-driven solutions for travel advertising, working with leading destinations, advertising agencies, travel brands, airlines, and major industry players to connect them with potential travelers.As lead designer, my role in the team was to optimize the visual language in all marketing, sales and communication materials. To achieve this goal, we worked on enhancing the existing visual design in a scalable way, establishing a flexible, future-proof design system.
An Amadeus Company
Founded in Cologne in 2011, travel audience was quickly acquired by Amadeus in 2013, due to the innovative in-house ad tech, the strength of partnerships with major players and the air-tight strategy on brining visitors to destinations. Although being part of the Amadeus group for more than seven years, travel audience remained an independent brand from a marketing perspective. To better leverage the gigantic presence and reputation of Amadeus in the travel industry, one of the goals of the design system was to reflect the main Amadeus brand soul, without fading out the travel audience voice and value proposition.
Design for non-designers
Providing data-driven tailored solutions to clients, the main touchpoint of the brand happens in meetings with clients, niched reports, and specialized events. During the initial research and mapping of challenges of the design production, the most prominent takeaway was that most of our brand reach was covered not only by the marketing, but from sales and client relationship teams. The parameters set for all material developed within this new framework were:
- Modularity, providing a vast selection of ready-made assets to providing a vast selection of ready-to-use assets, equipping and empowering business teams to work in independent manner.
- Easy, so the anyone could quickly adapt to different use cases.
- Simple, so it could be reproduced in different platforms and software, from Office to Figma.
In order to truly build something that brings value to the business teams, we started designing on the platform they use – and love – the most: Microsoft PowerPoint. Through agile cycles of iterations on real materials business teams were working, we were able to quickly listen and involve different client-facing squads not only for feedback, but also in stress-test usages and co-creation for specific scenarios.
To make both the transition easy for existing teammates and to quickly onboard new people, we developed a series of video-trainings, hosted Q&A sessions and masterclasses to give teams independence to create and combine materials for events, sales meetings, propositions and presentations in an agile way.
Cyclic modularity for scale
Working together with different stakeholders, success-proven materials are quickly turned into templates and components accessible for anyone using the design system. Besides our pre-assembled core business decks, we collect customizations and fresh materials built by our business team to identify what and how these materials can be improved and made available as templates and components for future usage, without bringing extra complication to business agility. Using Microsoft SharePoint to sync local versions, we make sure users are always up to date with the latest libraries and template sets, walking side-by-side with the company business needs and changes.
Simplicity as a springboard
One of the perks of working with travel and destinations is that we never fall short of stunning inspirational imagery. In order to avoid visual convolution or add noise on top of the incredible places we attract visitors to, the elements from travel audience visual language remain simple, with a versatile nature-based color pallet adapted from the main Amadeus brand, light geometric typography optimized for screens and layouts based on the richness of contrast and smart use of white space. Those visual decisions ensure that even the simplest compositions remain on brand, as well as more complex layouts built by advanced teams.
Everything made available in our Office templates serves as a ground base framework for the design team to develop more complex and engaging deliverables without shifting from our core visual language. Our website and overall web presence, infographics, special reports, communications, video and animation are created by using an equivalent set of templates and assets based on Adobe Creative Cloud and Figma, so we can follow the same agile, productization approach to the design system, enabling marketing and design people to reach impactful visuals that push marketing to the next level.