In the midst of all the language work that we are doing for the website, we've recently pondered upon the term 'Design Language' and what it means for Aquí. We all know what language is - to put it simply, it could be a set of words, symbols, or rules that are used for communicating with others (a person or computer). After lurking around long enough on Google search, we've found an array of existing definitions of design language which varies depending on function (UX, Branding, etc.). Instead of introducing them to you, we'll tell you how we defined 'Design Language' for the discussion that we are having today. Keep reading to find out more!
Our Design Language: A system of communication consisting of values and rules we abide by that serve to maintain consistency in our design.
Note: The main application of the design language in this article is focused on designs that we make for Aquí Design – our website, social media content, and so on.
Every designer has a set of standards that they prioritise in their design process, that goes without saying. We often ask ourselves: What do we care most about when creating designs for Aquí?
There is a way to be creative and consistent at the same time - they are not mutually exclusive. Consistency in design brings about familiarity which in return reflects personality. We want people to recognise Aquí through the attributes that our designs display. Over time, our audience can get to know Aquí better, in a way that a good friend does; forming a telepathic connection that contextualises our designs.
is a no-brainer. Quality to us means getting the bare minimum right while thinking of ways to take our designs one step further. To err is human, to forgive divine - we have to catch ourselves when we make mistakes that we shouldn't, even if it is a seemingly unnoticeable detail. As Evelyn - the most meticulous amongst us - often puts it: “It's the little things that makes a difference." The quality of what we produce determines how highly we regard ourselves. Instead of striving for perfection, we want to create works that we know we would be proud of.
In any kind of communication, it's always about getting to the point. But as an average person has an attention span of eight seconds, our designs have to get straight to the point. At Aquí, we try our best to make things clear for our audience. “Don't overcomplicate it" is the mantra that has led us to the clean and minimalist style you see on our website or social media channels. If you don't already know, one of our greatest fears is the occurrence of a communication breakdown. Analysing the flow and tonality is crucial in order for the right message to be brought across.
In order for our design approach to be user-centered, it is important to consider what kind of experience we would like to create. “They have to feel at home," Evelyn raised a good analogy. It has to be intuitive - being able to find things you need; uncomplicated - being able to navigate with ease; welcoming - made for everyone.
Beyond the emotional aspects of the brand, what did the choice of typography and colours mean? There was an unexpected turn of events while we were having this discussion on a Zoom call. María, our founder, ran us through the thought process behind the branding of Aquí Design. Yu Ting and Evelyn also got the chance to share their first impressions of Aquí, giving us a good comparison of the intention versus perception of the branding. All of us were being brought back in time to witness the magic that created the brand that we are now a part of.
The typeface that we all adore dearly - that is, Grumpy - was to our surprise not the first few typefaces that made it to María's art boards. It was close to the third iteration of the branding process that the current face of Aquí then became part of the picture. Oh, where do we begin to talk about our love for Grumpy? This eye-catching serif typeface never fails to steal the show. Unlike what its name suggests, Grumpy appears to be playful and bold; always bringing life to our designs. Tell us that isn't the most gorgeous looking letter 'A' you've ever seen?
Did you know: our design motif (also known as our pattern) seen in many of Aquí's branded collaterals are made with parts of the typeface. The design system brings consistency to the range of designs that we make for Aquí, building a more holistic brand experience.
“We're a design studio, the focus will always be about our work. My rationale for the monochromatic colour scheme was to have a strong branding that lets the work speak for itself." — María
Aquí's iconic black and white identity was developed to place focus on the things that matter most – our works. As a design studio that produces visuals on a daily basis, it is important that the branding helps elevate and sharpen the look of our designs. At the same time, as our trophy typeface Grumpy is loud by nature, the brand needed the other design elements to balance out its personality. The look and feel that this colour scheme has achieved is one that is minimalist, crisp and chic (as many of you have told us - thank you).
“When people are inspired by what we do. It always feels like we got it right when people reach out and tell us we've made an impression." — María
María will never forget the day she showed the Aquí website to her grandfather. “You're an artist! This is art!" he exclaimed. For Yu Ting and Evelyn, they will never forget the first time they landed on the website, thinking to themselves: “Wow, this is so cool." On having this conversation, the team had also realised how each of us are similar in our thoughts and approach, which means that the design language we have developed has a huge influence on the way we work, successfully translating our values into our works. “We are aligned with one another, that is why we are able to produce designs that are consistent and purposeful," Evelyn said. Our current design system allows us to explore new grounds yet remain authentic and true to the brand. “There is something about our style that is non-conforming and ever evolving," Yu Ting commented.
If you haven't had enough of our language talk, click here to check out our newly translated Chinese website.
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