Apio

Branding a next generation integration platform for modern commerce operations.

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Project Overview

Apio was conceptualised and built by core members of the team at GPMD. Many of their client projects require a way to connect, transfer and monitor data within their commerce ecosystems (website backend, warehouses, ERP, CRM, ESP, POS and so on). However, most solutions on the market tend to not be flexible enough, and/or are overly complex and expensive. And so Apio was born, with a focus on ease-of-use, scalability, speed and affordability.

I led the design of the branding, marketing assets, and business website, including building the website in Webflow. The UI/UX design of the app itself was undertaken by another internal team.

The Process

Although this was an internal project, we approached it as if Apio were a paying client. To this end, we set up a small, core team of stakeholders, who's job it was to take responsibility for the requirements and for signing things off. We kept the design feedback loops short, collaborating and iterating regularly.

1. Branding Conceptualisation and Development

A simple brief was devised, a checklist essentially, of the desired outcomes. This contained elements such as Apio's core values, goals and audience. I also made sure I researched the industry, in particular Apio's direct competitors.

Taking the information I had gathered, I started to ideate and sketch logo ideas. It was an obvious choice, but I wanted to create a logomark that reflected the letter 'a' and the concept of 'connections'. I then presented high-fidelity versions of a selection of the strongest ideas to the team, from which two were chosen for further development. I then explored additional colour and type options, before the team finally settled on the logo they felt best conveyed what they were looking for - a strong sense of 'connections' through the use of geometric building blocks, and a modern and technical, yet still playful, feel.

Some early logo sketches
One of the shortlisted logo alternatives (my personal favourite)
Exploring the brand style
The final logo

2. Design Language and System

Once the logo, core brand colours and font were chosen, I created a simple Design System and Style Guide for both offline and online use. This was to prove useful for both internal and external use, i.e. for the Apio marketing team, and for both freelancers and contractors brought on to the project. I also created a suite of background patterns using the geometric shapes and patterns found in the logomark.

Apio online style guide

3. Business Website Design and Build

An large part of the project was the design and build (in Webflow) of the business website - the customer-facing side of Apio. This was greatly aided by the strong foundations laid when establishing the brand logo and design language. Other than a few structural/layout sketches, I decided to design directly in-browser as Webflow makes the process extremely easy and efficient; one can design and iterate on ideas rapidly. The site had only a small set of MVP requirements and, as this was essentially an internal project, we could allow ourselves to make mistakes because the feedback loop was short.

An early wireframe/mockup on the left, alongside the final design on the right
Graphic illustrations for the business website

4. Stationery, Marketing and Exhibition Assets

In addition to the main design requirements, I also produced various marketing banners, stationery, and an exhibition stand design for the IRX Internet Retailing Expo.

Apio business card

Summary

Although still in the early days of its roadmap, I was able to establish a strong visual foundation for Apio, one which can be easily built on over the coming months and years. The project was a unique opportunity to draw on many different skills across a broad selection of media, and I am very proud of what was achieved.