Naked is insurance, but not as you know it. Their revolutionary business model breaks the age-old cycle of distrust between insurers and their customers. The brand embodies the 4iR and the new face of insurance through the use of cool colours, delicate shapes, and friendly fonts.

Naked aims to shake things up by providing a transparent model, a chance to give back and a mobile app that takes all the aches out of dealing with insurance.  

Goal for the project:

Our engagement with the Naked team started during a design sprint in Johannesburg to workshop their landing page. During this time, I could really get my head around the concept, product and type of brand they wanted to create. It was all about changing the insurance game for good!

We were excited to work on the logo design and brand guide for this award-winning company. Because the brand name was extremely edgy we didn’t find it necessary to push that concept further visually. Instead we focused on pairing that edginess with concepts of  professionalism, trustworthiness and competence. 

The use of transparency in the shapes and elements reflect the honest and reliable ethics of the brand. The simplicity in the logo is also a hint at the great client experience that the brand offers. Simple, elegant, effective… Naked. 

Naked has gone on to win numerous awards and is making huge waves in the South African insurance industry. 

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At Pepperplane we run a 100% remote team which allows us to work from home safely while we work with clients globally. Over the past three years we’ve learned a lot about working from coffee shops, shared office spaces, and of course, home. With COVID-19 spreading at an alarming rate, working away from an office has become the new normal for many. We’ve got a few tips to make the transition smoother and make remote working work for you.

#1 CREATE YOUR WORKSPACE

It can be difficult to concentrate in an environment that you normally relax in after a busy day of work and traffic. You might also be sharing your home space with family or roommates and this could get tricky if none of you are used to working from home.

The first thing to do is to designate a space as your “work space.” It can be a desk in your room, your dinner table or your closet (if things get really distracting, although not recommended). This means that you can “go to work” and keep similar business hours as much as possible.

This designated space will also warn those you share a home with that you’re in work mode and probably not available for a quick coffee or chat.

#2 Get the right tools

We make use of a bagful of tools in order to stay connected and communicate effectively. Here are some of them:

Slack
We use Slack for real-time chat between all our team members. We do our daily updates, group discussions, and all private chats on Slack.

Invision
InVisionApp calls itself a digital product design platform. It’s an amazing tool for prototyping, project presentation, collaboration, and asset handovers.

Google Hangouts
We use Hangouts for all video calls. It’s free, works really well, and it makes it really easy to share calendar invites or links in chats.

Monday
We use monday.com for all our business and project management, tracking, and reporting. It keeps everyone in the loop no matter where they are.

#3 Beat the feeling of isolation

 If you’re used to being in a bustling office or studio environment, sitting at home alone can be very uninspiring. These are our tips to combat the creative cabin fever

Video chats with colleagues

  • You might be someone who draws their creativity from being around co-workers, clients and/or users. Lockdown makes that impossible so you’ll need to find ways to work around it. One way is to have video chats with clients or colleagues to get the interaction you need to fuel creativity.
  • Listen to podcasts to hear some human voices while you work.
  • Join online design communities and contribute as much as possible. Dribbble is a great place to do that! It’s very interactive and a great way to get feedback when you need it.

#4 Stay active

Get up and move around whenever you can. Working on the couch or in bed might be a bit too comfortable and before you know it, it’s 4p.m. and you haven’t moved a muscle.

If you don’t have a lot of space, check out some YouTube videos on stretches, yoga, and home exercise to keep the juices flowing.

Maintain a work/life balance

Relax, take regular breaks, and make sure you get enough sleep. Working from home might mean that you actually have fewer distractions than at the office. This might send you into productivity overdrive, which sounds like a good thing but that can have negative effects over a long period of time. Remember to look up from your screen every now and then, get up and take some deep breaths. Wake up and go to sleep at your regular times, keep office hours, and stick to your normal routine to help assist with this.

Remember to eat! At the office, lunchtime might’ve been a definite break in your day – a chance to socialise with co-workers and just step away from your desk for a while. When working at home you might find that you eat too little or way too much (just because the fridge is right there!). Be cognisant of these changes and find a healthy way to manage them. Maybe try plan a weekly menu full of healthy food (and the occasional treat), set reminders on your phone for meal times, and always have fresh fruit and veg available for quick, healthy snacks.

IN CLOSING

Working from home might be a big adjustment for most people but it’s for a good reason and doing your part will help the world get through this pandemic much faster.

We hope these tips will help you make the most of remote working!

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Name of client, what they do & their location:

Inkumbulo is a local approach to quick and easy, data-free backup services for all digital memories. Their goal is to have the Inkumbulo devices at shops or schools where users can connect to store their data through the app to the cloud for free.

This was a great challenge as we got the chance to work on a product from the branding phase, right through to the software and later the physical product. 

Goal for the project:

Inkumbulo means “memory” or “remembrance” in the Zulu language. It is from this cultural reference that we found our starting point. We researched the Zulu traditions and culture to find an object or concept to serve as a vessel for the service. 

We came across Zulu baskets which are traditionally used to house and protect objects of value such as food or clothes. This seemed like the perfect object to use as a symbol for Inkumbulo where users’ valuable data like photos and music would be stored. The aim became to create a high-tech, modern logo that has it’s roots in a real, sentimental practice. A brand that is vibrantly South African and innovative. 

After completing the branding phase we got started on the interface for the mobile app. Big, bold and confident were some of the characteristics we wanted to convey with the solid colours and large typography. We used clean, crisp layouts and brought in colourful  highlights to accentuate the information in certain places. 

The team also created presentation and education material with beautiful illustrations to accompany it. We also created some preliminary designs for the casing of the physical device that would be placed on site.

Our Role

  • Branding
  • UX and UI Design
  • Illustration

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Taking business online has never been easier, nor more important. We thought we’d share a few of our favourite tools that have helped us create amazing work and keep our teams connected.

Sketch

95% of our designs for digital platforms are done on Sketch. It’s a quick, zippy tool geared for UI and UX that covers everything from the rough first draft to the final product. It can be used as a replacement for Photoshop to streamline the design process.

FEATURES we love:

  • Very affordable
  • Asset exports
  • Symbols
  • Amazing pre-sets
  • 100% geared towards UI/UX design

InvisionApp

This is a great digital product design platform. InVisionApp is amazing for prototyping, project presentation, collaboration, and asset handovers. 

We mainly make use of their Prototype, Boards, and Freehand tools. We have also recently started using their DSM (Design System Manager) which we think will become invaluable in future.  

Craft (part of InVision) acts as a plugin for Sketch and Photoshop that can be used to sync your InVision prototype directly from other files. At the same time, the assets are exported and available for developers to use. 

We’ve been using InVision for more than five years and the product is constantly growing and improving. They have a great free trial package if you want to give it a try before investing.    

Features we love:

  • Powerful prototyping functionality.
  • Live updates to prototypes through Craft.
  • Boards for great project presentation, especially for branding. 
  • Amazing feedback functionality (best way to communicate feedback with clients that we’ve found).

Monday

monday.com is a project management and workflow tool that ticks all the boxes and keeps us connected and productive. It enables us to combine at least 4-6 tools in one space and is extremely customisable. It has amazing reporting capabilities that give us great insights into our business and clients. 

Features we love:

  • Time tracking
  • Automations
  • Dashboards
  • Multiple views (Tables, Calendar, Kanban etc.)

Slack

We use Slack for real-time chats between our team members. We do our daily updates, group discussions, and private chats on Slack. It has great integration with apps like monday.com and Calendar. 

Features we love:

  • File uploads
  • Pinning messages to channels
  • Private and public channels

Adobe Suite

For all our print, motion, and audio needs we use the Adobe Suite of apps. Illustrator is used mainly for vector graphics and illustrations. Premier and After Effects is used for all things video. Audacity is used for any audio edits we need to make. The Adobe apps have always been very feature-rich and powerful. They have become very “digital design” friendly over the past few years. 

Features we love:

  • Extensive range of apps and services
  • Creative cloud libraries
  • Adobe fonts
  • Loads of cloud storage

Google Hangouts

We use Hangouts for all of our video calls. It’s free, gets the job done and it’s easy to share calendar invites and links in the chat function. As a Google product, it seamlessly integrates with everything else Google.

Features we love:

  • Instant messaging
  • HD video calls
  • Intelligent muting
  • Easy screen sharing
  • Custom control for admins

Atom

Atom is a great smart code editor that we use on all of our coding projects. It’s range of features and functions take away a lot of the drudge associated with coding. You’re able to install packages to customise the editor and find the best fit for your coding practice.  

Features we love:

  • Collaborative coding
  • Autocomplete
  • Multiple panes
  • File system browser

IN CLOSING

Tools and apps are meant to support the creative process and take as much frustration out of work admin and chores as possible. We hope that this list helps you pick the tools to boost your productivity and make work more fun!

Get in touch with your creative wing

AURA is a revolutionary approach to security and armed response in South Africa. AURA’s strategy focuses on a dynamic response organism providing clients with direct access to a rapid response network in times of emergency.

Goal for the project:

Our goal was to develop a brand identity which could be used across AURA’s digital and print material. We wanted to create a brand that was bold and memorable but that also reflected the sophistication of the service and their technology. 

The next step was to create the UX and interface for the AURA Responder and Client app. We had to do a lot of research in the field of mobile accessibility and target audience tech capability. Basically we had to find the most intuitive, quickest way for someone to use their phone as a panic button as it could mean life or death. It was a great challenge!

After the app design we also designed the Control Room interface where controllers administered the incoming panics and responders. Once again the interface had to support controllers that might operate under great pressure. 

We went on to develop marketing and educational material to teach users and potential partners about the service. 

AURA has since gone on to become a prominent player in the security landscape of South Africa.

Our experience:

It was truly great to work on a project that would have a direct impact on the users safety and peace of mind. We realised that we could make a real difference and embraced the responsibility of designing a system that is intuitive and potentially life-saving. 

Our Role

Branding

UX and UI Design

Get in touch with your creative wing

The dreaded creative block! We’ve all been there.

Designers and illustrators experience moments where it seems like there’s no new, fresh way to solve a design problem.

At Pepperplane we’ve discovered a few effective tips and tricks to help get through a creative dry spell.

Let’s look at a few common “creativity killer” topics and how to overcome them:

  1. Pressure
  2. Tunnel vision
  3. Research
  4. Inspiration

1. Overcoming creative pressure

We all know the sinking feeling of a looming deadline and a blank page, when all you can think about is that dreaded date moving closer and closer.

Multiple causes can contribute to creative pressure, such as:

  • Procrastination
  • Tight deadlines
  • Overwhelming workload
  • Intimidating project or client

The power lies with you to be prepared, plan ahead, do your research, and tackle the project with full force. Follow that old adage “eat the elephant one bite at a time.”

Our tips:

  • Schedule time to think. Book out your diary so you can calmly consider, and reflect on, the work at hand. 
  • Plan ahead. Each project needs your full and undivided attention. If the project is flexible, discuss the deadline with your client. We’re sure they’d appreciate your honesty and openness. 
  • Divide and conquer. Try not to have too much on your plate at the start. Give yourself time to break the workload into manageable chunks so you can tackle each task in a productive manner.
  • Write it down. Lists sound old-fashioned but they’re definitely effective. Plot it out in order of priority so you can build the solution one block at a time.
  • Get started asap. The sooner you start activating those creative juices, the better. 
  • Communicate and update. Keep your clients in the know and track your progress with them. This will help you set goals and meet expectations while building more trust.

2. Solving those tunnel-vision moments

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut if all your attention is focused on one constant. Creatives need to spread their wings, explore different design alleys, escape their comfort zones and look beyond the task in front of them. It’s also easy to fall into the tunnel-vision trap if your work tends to centre around repetitively completing the same type of tasks.

At Pepperplane we work on a lot of branding and website design. It’s an ongoing practice to consciously make every project and every design piece 100% unique. Avoid becoming a cookie-cutter designer that defaults to applying the latest trends to every design. Create your own trends!

Our tips:

  • Spread your wings. Look beyond the problem at hand as much as you can. Turn the page around and create other paths to solve the problem. There are loads of different streets and routes to get to the candy shop. 
  • Find your design edge. Avoid getting stuck on generic solutions, dig a bit deeper to find that unique design edge. Creating your own solutions will ensure your project is one-of-a-kind.
  • Carve your own design path. Create your own style and trends. That’s the fun part!

3. Doing thorough research

Taking the next step can be risky and frightening if you have no idea what you’re about to step into. Getting started on a project without knowing where the end is or how to achieve the goal can lead to an instant creativity block. Research and planning are the best ways to side-step this predicament. The more you know the more ammunition you have to fight the problem and find the solution. Knowledge is key. 

Our tips:

  • Get searching. Investigate what and whom you are designing for. Gather as much information on the subject, client, and problem as possible. 
  • Get exploring. Try different research methods:
    • Have interviews and discussions with the target audience.
    • Set up questionnaires.
    • Create product mockups and test them with the end users. 
  • Facts and figures. Collect and showcase the data to support your work. There’s nothing as valuable and solid as numbers and statistics. 
  • Plot the way forward. Make connections between your gathered information to start building and planning the best route towards the design solution.  

Finding creative inspiration

The internet is a wonderful platform with endless possibilities and magical probabilities, the key is to make use of it wisely. The outcome of a quick Google image search usually showcases the most clichéd and overused results. It’s easy to simply imitate a style or layout when under pressure. Don’t be caught in the copy/paste trap, maintain the practice to make each design piece 100% unique. 

Our tips:

  • Look around. Find an alternative source of inspiration. Grab that pen and paper and head out to a new environment. New surroundings can do wonders to spark fresh design ideas.
  • Sketch away. Step away from the screen for a while and draw hundreds of small, quick sketches or layouts. Once you think you have a winner, make 50 more sketches.
  • Sleep on it. It’s the best way to give your thinking some space and switch your brain into that creative gear the next day.

In closing

Creative blocks can be overcome. Try not to get too bogged down and stressed about them as that tends to make them last longer. Take a break, come back to the problem with a fresh mindset and you’ll soon find your flow.

Get in touch with your creative wing