We recently helped the start-up Relax America with their consumer-facing web site. Here is what Relax America does:
At Relax America, we have a PLAN to help you get the services you need, while helping local communities to grow and thrive. The PLAN (Professional Local Affiliate Network) is a professional services network that gives you one convenient place to find all the services you need for each of your life events. Our Client Matching System finds the best professionals for you, right in your local community.
When we were hired by Relax America, they had a good plan for the technology behind the service. Their goal was to be the one place a consumer could search for all the professionals they need in their life (tax preparers, tutors, lawyers, caterers, photographers and more). They are like the e-Harmony of matching service providers with clients.
They had been focused on developing their Client Matching System, and were ready to seek out additional funding. But they needed to change their internal brand to a brand identity that would attract consumers.
Their demographic research that suggested that their ideal audience would be as great as 80% women, The web site, and key identity elements needed to appeal to an internet-savvy woman.
The honeycomb brand element
Relax America had already organized all of the vast types of services professionals they would be connecting to into 7 “life events”. They had started to use a honeycomb graphic to show how these events worked together and were also modular in how they connected.
They provided us with these two graphics to show what they had been using internally as placeholders for the brand identity.
The client knew these graphics didn’t have the right feeling, but they relied on us to give alternatives that would appeal to their demographic audience.
My first reaction when I saw the originals were that the colors were just too bold and harsh. The idea of the colors representing different areas of service was kept in tact, but we needed to soften them. So I tried different color values and also introduced transparency. I felt the transparency showed the inter-relationship between the different service areas. Here are some different options we tried.
Our design ended up using the option in the bottom left, although we did some further refinements of the colors as the web design progressed.
Web site design
You can see the home page and the Find Solutions pages above, and I encourage you to visit the site to explore it more. In addition to the honeycomb key brand element, we designed many different graphic elements that are now part of the Relax America visual brand.
- The folder tabs. Using the same angles of the hexagonal shapes, the tabs at the top suggest a digital file folder. Users of the Relax America system will be able to securely store all of their information and have it organized and ready every time they search for a new service provider.
- Photography. The photos have a light and ethereal feel that complements the honeycomb element. They focus heavily on women because of their target audience.
- The honeycomb is modular and interconnected. On both the home page and the Find Solutions page, we show how the groups of service offerings is multi-faceted and grows to cover the consumer’s needs.
- Additional use of the colors and transparency. We repeated the colors and the transparency throughout the site, especially as a divider element to separate the main content from the body content on each page.
You can clearly see how we were able to take the concepts behind the internally developed graphics and translate them into a consumer brand. By adjusting the colors and tweaking the design and then complementing the main brand element with a more complete graphic system, we’ve created a compelling brand identity for this next big player in the online world.