Alation's Brand Design Challenge
July 23, 2023
As part of the recruiting process, Alation provided me with a design challenge: Create a datasheet that is to be shown to technical and C-level people at an enterprise organization. CPMeet is a fictitious video conferencing brand I had to design for. To be efficient while also preserving quality, I sourced imagery and icons from third-party sites.
Establishing some branding
CPMeet had a branding identity and some visual identity already established.
Their branding identity can be pulled from the brief as "CPMeet is a premium brand that strives to balance being bold and fun with being an expensive, enterprise grade tool." I thought that the visual color palette the brand currently had aged it quite a bit. It was dark-color-heavy, and there weren't secondary colors that I could use to break up that heaviness. To address being bold and fun, I thought that gradients with the purple and its different opacities had to be made.
Their branding also emphasized photography being essential to their collateral. I sourced vibrant imagery with personal human elements from iStock. They provided me a picture of Lisa Marie, a client. I thought the image seemed too dull, so I edited the saturation, curves, and brightness.
A main shape I will be using throughout the design is a quadrilateral shape where two of the angles on the rectangle are rounded out at 32px. While looking at images and designs of video cameras, I noticed that this shape was prominent. Thus, I decided to use the shape to supplement my design.
Setting up rules and guides
In order to help CPMeet maintain consistency with any future deliverables, I quickly developed typography rules, padding sizes, and guides. Here are some other rules I established based on the brief and copy provided to me:
Titles are sentence-cased
Text is always left-aligned
Icons are outlines only filled by one color or a purple gradient; must have rounded strokes
Establishing the flow
Based on the amount of copy, I knew this will have to be a 2-paged datasheet. Below is a sketch of how I decided to sort the copy into digestible sections. Despite the customer quote (validation point) being at the top in the content document provided, I preferred having it at the end as a nice circle back to all of the product information in the beginning. I decided to keep LightningConnection on the second page as it is considered a new feature.
Making the first page
I opted for a simple hero banner with copy on the left and imagery on the right. Clients usually scan through these datasheets fast, so I try to have as few distractions as possible while still maintaining the visual brand and facilitating the visual flow.
I put the product information in its own box with a drop shadow to highlight its importance. They are the services that CPMeets provides for the client after all.
Adding to the second page
I separated LightningConnection from the other products because it seems to be a new feature that CPMeet is promoting. I included imagery with an icon on the right with copy on the left.
For the quote, I filled the quadrilateral shape with the imagery and content. Since the NewCorp logo had to be in green, I had to use a white background to get good contrast. Quotes are usually seen in italics, so I pulled that trend over.
Since my designs need to have some kind of strategic action in place, I decided to write more content to convince technical and C-level people to engage with CPMeet. I wrote my own call-to-action blurb with a button link and a section that talks about the company to tie the whole datasheet together. Since this datasheet would be distributed online mainly, then the buttons and links would be linked to certain parts of their website.
When creating designs for startup or younger companies, I always need to check my biases as a designer. As a designer, I can't be creating incredibly complex graphics that are completely different from what the company has been producing so far. It would be unfair to their internal design team who has to start integrating extremely new elements to their existing elements. It would be unfair to the consistency that they have established in their brand so far. That's why I didn't experiment too much with the visual identity. I just elevated where I can and established rules for the future. If for the first rounds they wanted more visual elements, then I would rework it in the second round.
I always enjoy adding a part of myself to a design piece whenever I can. I think I was able to elevate the purpose of the datasheet by adding the CTA and About section to the end to the sheet. I need my designs to serve a strategic purpose, and having that CTA at the end is key to add more credibility and leadership in the brand's tone.