Brand Design in the World of Fintech
As designers, we are in charge of our brand's first impression and it’s our responsibility to build trust with our users through consistent brand experiences. This is especially important when designing for the Fintech space, given the sensitivity of the data with which we're entrusted. Many of our challenges as designers are common across industries, but I have found that designing for Fintech has its own unique problems to solve. In this post, we'll highlight some of those challenges and share some quick insights into how to best navigate designing for this industry.
Know What Your Brand is Communicating
Whether it's the quality of visual design, consistency in UI/UX, or with a tone of voice that speaks coherently to your audience, knowing your brand inside and out will help you identify the strengths and opportunities in how your brand is presented.
As a B2B Fintech company, Recurly’s brand aims to show our customers that we are both a personable and approachable company that values customer relationships, as well as being trustworthy industry experts who can meet and exceed their business needs. That balance is especially important in the Fintech space, as brands rely on our business to help ensure the success of theirs. With that as our brand narrative, our mission as Recurly's design team is to make sure our tone and visuals line up with that story. To focus on just one side of the message would be an insufficient view of who we are; but by providing a complete narrative, we help instill trust and confidence in our clients who entrust us with their subscription billing and management. This is why knowing what your brand narrative is and ensuring you communicate it consistently is such an important step in the design process. It will help identify and close any gaps that could hurt your brand in the long run.
Don’t Overcomplicate Your Designs
Many Fintech companies offer a digital product instead of a physical one. Recurly offers subscription management via a platform, therefore we don’t have a physical representation of our product. This adds additional complexity to our job as designers. The same goes for the features that we offer. For example, our Gateway Failover feature allows a customer to assign a backup payment gateway to route their payments to in case the primary gateway goes down. This is a complex feature with no well-known visual representation. So, how might we begin to illustrate this in an understandable way?
The key is to not overcomplicate things. Visual representations don’t always need to be as intricate as the concept itself since the visuals are there for support and often do not need to stand on their own. The more you understand your product, the easier it will be to strip concepts down to their core ideas to find the best solution. Take a step back to evaluate what the core message is that you are trying to communicate through a visual and focus on illustrating just those one or two things. A mechanic who knows the ins and outs of a motor will be able to find the best fix in the shortest amount of steps. Similarly, the effectiveness of your design will be enhanced by your knowledge of the product.
Create a Culture of Feedback
One of the best ways to get your team on the same page and to increase the effectiveness of your designs is to dedicate time to creating an environment where feedback is encouraged and expected. At Recurly, we do this via weekly meetings called “workshare” where the design team shares the projects we all have in progress. Since it’s not possible for each of us to work on every product feature launch or new landing page, these workshares not only help us learn to give and take feedback in a productive way but also to stay informed on the many new features and initiatives happening within our company.
Workshares are beneficial for our team and serve many purposes. In Fintech especially, brands release new features and update their product regularly. Therefore, having time for feedback naturally exposes us to more of these updates, keeps us in the loop, and makes sure our team is in sync. Whether your team decides on structured feedback time, or informal check-ins, creating an environment to share your work is key in developing an effective brand.
Make sure you take the time to get familiar with your brand and what you’re trying to communicate. Keeping your tone and visuals consistent helps to build trust among your customers, and it’s much easier to identify gaps in your brand's narrative the more familiar you are with it.
Use that knowledge to simplify your designs when necessary. Having a good understanding of your product allows you to be much more versatile and effective. Remember that supporting imagery is not meant to stand on its own and therefore you can focus on communicating the most important elements rather than the whole story.
Put your projects in front of others more often. This serves as a way to keep your whole team in the loop with new product features or updates that they may not otherwise know about. And lastly, it helps your team to get comfortable with giving and receiving feedback, which builds confidence and boosts productivity.