Zalando

Product Branding

To define Zalando’s product character by making the fashion store a digital representation of the brand.
Scope
Brand Strategy
Product Strategy
Design Principles
Visual Style Guidelines
Product Design
Prototyping
Role
Design Lead / Brand Strategist
Story
As a coherent but rather undifferentiated webshop, Zalando had a need of elevating its user experience by adding an emotional layer to its streamlined product design. I took a challenge to make the fashion store the digital representation of the brand by adding a strong character to the design system. With inward and outward reaching research, I developed a framework that lead to defining a metaphor for the Zalando platform and allowed for its scalable application. Following a customer-centric approach, I led multidisciplinary teams to create a concept the organisation can identify with and implement in their respective fields. Making the brand purpose live with confidence, giving potential for stronger differentiation on the market.
The Brief
As each project, this one started with formulating a brief. Identifying a problem of inconsistent visual language led to posing open thought provoking questions that became a point of departure for the project plan. A design-heavy team of visual and interaction experts was built based on the expected deliverables.
DISCOVERY
Quite an extensive stage of hybrid research, composed of inward and outward contextualisation was needed to bring everyone to the same page. Competitive landscape and industry trend analysis was combined with the synthesis of user needs and their perceptions of the Zalando brand. Along the whole project, I led the team to feed with inspiring theories of fashion and emotional design.
Deep Branding
At this point, I brought together teams whose work was key in expressing the brand values and its purpose. Based on a framework I developed, we could identify core truths to follow. In a series of in-depth workshops, we identified Zalando’s attributes the teams identify with and see both strategic value and customer attractiveness in.
design sprints
Through two design sprints, split by a mid-way steering, I led the core team to create a concept and visualise it on multiple levels. First sprint, of divergent nature resulted in several potential concepts and low fidelity prototypes. Second sprint however aimed at converging the strongest ideas and pivoting towards the final definition of the product character, using the metaphor of Stage and its respective design principles. A specially made scalability matrix helped me to verify its validity.
Prototyping
A set of designs got applied onto a key user journey, creating a consistent image of Stage on the level of digital product - the fashion store. Simultaneously, I led our creative teams through a prototyping exercise on the level of art direction for photography and copywriting. The approach proved beneficial in preparing the final delivery and achieving a stakeholder buy-in.
Outcome
The project led to creating a scalable product character in line with business strategy and marketing goals. Linking UX to company’s purpose, I defined high level brand attributes to guide various creative workstreams: image creation, content strategy, marketing campaigns, UX/UI design, etc. In consequence, I led the teams in translating and applying those to their respective fields, bringing the brand character to life across the organisation. On the level of product design, a set of actionable design principles, visual guidelines and interface prototypes have been proposed and tested. They are now in the process of validation and implementation.