Exploratory Brand Mood Boards

Conceptual Brand Mood Boards

Citrix Mobility Apps
New Product Identity Mood Boards
The Challenge 

Having conversations about aesthetic design with product management and engineering teams can be challenging. And yet, the necessity of optimizing for the 'user experience' of a product is no longer seen as a nice to have. But design sits at a crossroads of functionality, desirability and familiarity, and having a functional discourse across these domains is especially challenging when a product is still very much in the conceptual stages. How best to have a stakeholder conversation around the subtle potentialities of brand identity when a product is still very much in the planning and prototyping stages?
The Innovation 
Dissociate the Brand Identity conversation from the product development conversation, and enable stakeholders to focus on how high-level strategy ideally connects to high-level brand and UX expression.

Strategy was intensely fluid for this particular product. Key features were added or dropped on an almost-weekly basis. The product team had a general sense of what they were shooting for, but the details for what represented true product benefit and differentiation were in an extended state of iteration. So rather than try and force the team to deliver a level of product specificity that they reasonably couldn't, I worked with key stakeholders to develop a set of key brand traits that were aligned with what could be locked-down about key product strategy: Simplicity, which was at the core of the high-level problem to be solved b the product; A Natural quality, which was seen as a critical differentiator relative to existing competing solutions, and which could help drive downstream product design conversations; and Reliability, which was seen as the connecting tissue between this new intrapreneurial product initiative and the larger Citrix brand under which it would exist.

I then developed a series of high-level aesthetic mood boards to help illustrate how the core aesthetic expression  of the product might change based on a subtle alteration of brand focus across these key traits. 

Natural Systems places a positional influence on approachability and familiarity, with a sense of reliability conveyed by tactile, tangible textures and materials.

Human Touch exists at the interplay of Simplicity and Natural, shifting attention to ease of use and a focus on intuitive usability and innate familiarity.

Simple Choices focuses primarily on Simplicity a s key differentiator, relying on strong but simple use of primary color to create a brand identity that stands out but also provides a meaningful jumping-off point for UX designers to build-out a simple but bold visual language within the product. 

Type-Centric shifts the focus to simplicity and reliability, relying on type as a key design element. The focus is on the users content, and the UI expresses itself boldly but succinctly using strong, clear typography as a key identity element.

The Transformation 
Collaborative conversations around high-level brand traits and identity options helps drive alignment around product definition.

Freeing teams to think about the new brand they are creating beyond features and functionality helps foster a discussion about the conceptual impact brand can have across product design choices, and helps the entire tiger team think about the strategic connections between this new product, and how it can benefit from an alignment with key Citrix brand strengths, while also forging a new path in an entirely new market. It also helps teams think more creatively about how they might solve certain user problems in a way that drives consistency and purpose within the design of this nascent product. Ultimately, tools like defining brand traits early, and working across design disciplines to align on core identity earlier in the product design process become part of newly-defined Citrix best practices.

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