BUZZBIZZ is looking to become a vibrant workspace in the heart of the Greek capital’s harbour, Piraeus. Although Athens hosts a dozen co-working spaces, BUZZBIZZ would be the first one to open its doors in this particular location – a port to anchor your business.
The design of a co-working space takes place on multiple levels. It must be welcoming and connect with the audience both in the physical and the digital form. From a branding perspective it is clear that one has its effects on the other, since an impactful logo and branding will help shape the location and vice versa.
Thus, one of the challenges we faced in this project was that we had to keep in mind that all our digital designs are going to be replicated in a physical space, and that imposed a few limitations, mostly regarding colours, fonts and visuals that we could use. In other words, we were designing for a physical space in the digital world.
The Client had contacted us at Pine with the goal to discover the brand that will hallmark the hub where people will be able to co-create great projects and realise ideas. Hand in hand with branding came the design of a responsive website where visitors will be able to get to know BUZZBIZZ’s services, explore its areas and contact management to book a tour, a desk or a conference room straight away – be it a short term lease or a long term membership.
While finding the suitable brand was no easy feat, the Client had a clear vision connected to the way the audience should be spoken to. The communication and, as such, the website too should be clear, simple and spot-on. No unnecessary distracting features, yet not too rigid and cold.
The first picture that might come to the mind when picturing such a hub would be young adults in their early twenties sitting on beanbags, riding around on bicycles and doing everything but working – a satire shown in various movies and series.
However, as a study from 2016 shows that only 20% of the people that are interested in moving their operations to a coworking space are under the age of 30, our target audience became employees and employers with small businesses that are keen on sharing experiences and working in an enriching environment.
We at Pine were tasked to ideate and realise the brand that would be best suitable to carry the message of BUZZBIZZ Workspace Solutions. Throughout a careful process of selection, we reviewed different alterations around 5-6 times until we have reached the final piece. If done well, in retrospect, creating the brand seems so natural. It feels as if it’s always been there. Since the Client wanted to keep the atmosphere professional yet have a touch of young blood, the whole brand has this gravitation around it.
At first sight, the logo might resemble an artisan craft beer, soon after it grabs our attention with its tilted positioning in the shape of a stamp – truly a seal of approval. Different variations were tried regarding the colour scheme but in order to keep it as direct and minimal as possible, the stylish use of black and white was used throughout the webpage which will also come to live in the physical place.
During the discovery phase wherein the main focus was the buildup of the brand, preparations were already in place for creating the wireframe of the website. With careful research of other brands in various locations around the world, we have valued what elements are to be implemented to carry a clear message. Drawing wireframes is similar to building a skeleton, if any bones or joints are not in place the whole system will cease working as expected, thus it’s of utmost importance to get it right. And that’s what we do at Pine: We get it right.
The scope contained a tall main page where the viewers would arrive and two subpages; one for sharing the mission and another for contact purposes. The hero section of the main page, which is the first viewport users will encounter upon landing on the website, has to stand out and capture the audience. Hence the main page is always a more focused part of the project. However, at Pine, we believe that every part of the website should get the same level of attention in order to create a unified composition.
When drafting the HERO section, it is important to have an area that shares a message, a welcome text, an intro or anything similar – something that creates a connection. Just under the HERO section, a so-called USP section would take place – these key points would be the main catch of BUZZBIZZ – Unique Selling Points tailored to its audience.
Another very important area is the services section offering multiple passes and pay plans to the potential customers. We found that there should be an emphasis on the multiple offices available for lease and that the short term and long term plans ought to be on the same level. Another important factor was the compact view allowing the overview of the whole services section at one glance.
Following a quick overview of amenities – since the Client wished to emphasize BUZZBIZZ’s standalone location in the harbor – a section covering the physical destination was created as well with some information on why it’s a favorable spot to establish your business at. The page then would be finished with an integrated map and a tall footer with quick access to links – anchors and various contact info such as the e-mail address and phone number of the company.
From a UI perspective the project was a challenging one but not due to lack of freedom. Branding and UI design were done parallel and, as such, changes done to the branding instantly affected design as well. This project was carried out amidst the pandemic period, and since the space was not operating – we could craft and find better and more polished designs without a strict timeline.
Although having no strict deadline is a blessing, it feels like it can be a curse as well. All designers have experienced the feeling of adding just another detail to their work in order to strife for perfection. And as maximalist as we, designers, are – we too have that desire – just a little extra here, just another there. If left unchecked, however, we could be finding ourselves quick in a spiral where we get overwhelmed by all the small details we are keen to adjust. I believe that this is a challenge many artists, designers and other creative workers have met and overcoming this needs a focused, goal-oriented approach – like the one we set at Pine.
Having frequent reviews with the Client is of utmost importance and helped us to enhance the product with every input. We at Pine believe that we work as partners with our Clients – asking questions, listening, but also giving guidance with our expertise. While it is absolutely possible to build a website or even an application with little input by the client, the users will cherish the ones that have soul. Soul that is a reflection of the Client’s vision and mission.
Another thing to note regarding the UI of BUZZBIZZ: All illustrations were made by us and were set to echo the content. While it is more time consuming to have unique graphics, it does provide exclusiveness for your product, a character that pays off in today’s digital world.
Some illustrations can deem quite challenging such as: “Picture a startup hub in Piraeus” The answer? Something as wild as the image below featuring the Greek capital’s harbour, the Acropolis in the back – the whole scenery staged on a tablet acting as the Mediterranean Sea.
There are a variety of ways to implement a website but none are as intuitive as Webflow. Webflow is a flexible web design device, CMS (Customer Management System) and hosting platform. It consists of a Designer which translates our designs into clean, production-ready code; the CMS interface which allows us to structure content types that’ll be published over and over again (such as blog posts for example) in an easy way, injecting content into a premade template. Also hosting is a real breeze with Webflow as it’s backed by AWS (Amazon Web Services).
Responsiveness of a website is in today’s world a simple must. According to GlobalStats statcounter regarding users’ screen resolutions more than 20% of users worldwide are using a 360×640 resolution to access websites and this is just one of the many mobile screens used for these purposes. Their research shows that less than 35% of online content is accessed from desktop screens and this is a pretty strong reason to have equally well designed content on all breaking points. With the help of Webflow we could achieve exactly this – a smooth interface in any resolution possibly used by future viewers.
When it comes to animations Webflow allows your creativity to flow free whether it be a menu opening animation or a special custom edit with custom code anything is possible. With BUZZBIZZ we wanted to keep the page simple but add just a tiny playful addition in the form of the logo acting like a cog, rolling up and minimizing when scrolling through the website on the mobile version.
During this project I personally feel like I have grown in my communication competence which is just as important in our work as creative and analytical thinking itself. Building any kind of website or application is a journey that is taken together by the Client and the Designer Team. The experience and the outcome of that journey solely depends on the partners’ connection.
The result in our case? A seamless integration of a polished design in the digital space reflective of its counterpart in the physical world. The Client is happy with the end-product and we already have begun ideating about future expansions and their display related to various services and events that will be available at the location.