Aion is a digital-first, start-up bank launched in Belgium in 2020. The team behind Aion was a blend of experienced bankers and IT specialists based in Poland, backed by a global private equity firm. Not short of ambition, they were looking to build a fast-growing fintech, delivering a unique banking proposition that would make a difference to the lives of millions of people in Europe.
- Brand Strategy
- Brand Design
- Verbal Identity
- Visual Identity
- Digital Design
- User Experience
- Service Design
A sophisticated start-up
As a start-up entering a competitive European fintech market, Aion had to consider how it could stand-out and what it was offering in the market that was different from established brands. Aion has a unique proposition; an artificial intelligence (AI) virtual assistant that aims to democratise private banking-style services, providing guidance and money management for customers. Also as a subscription-based banking service, it targeted modern mass, affluent and SME users, moving away from the usual early-adopter millennial customers that typical mobile-only banks target.
We had to find a way of creating a brand that portrayed itself as a refreshing challenger in a crowded market, but also had a premium and sophisticated brand appeal for a distinct audience. And all to be created from scratch, from visual identity, to a mobile-first user experience.
A partner for life
To create a distinctive and compelling brand for Aion, we had to look at banking in a different way. We started by drawing parallels between human relationships and the relationships that users have with their bank. Just like in interpersonal relationships, people can go years with one bank provider, without a balanced partnership in which both sides are working for each other’s interests.
By contrast, users seeking a more premium digital financial services would find that Aion was offering a service that anticipated their financial needs, helping them make the right financial decisions. Joining Aion as a customer was choosing a relationship that would improve and secure your financial wellbeing.
We positioned Aion as the partner that was always there, working for users and their finances, giving them a greater sense of control for their present and future financial wellbeing.
Focused on the opportunity
To ensure the brand was aligned with the business strategy, we had to ensure we approached from the top-down at the same time as the bottom-up. We considered how we could build the brand from the kinds of interaction that would come to typify the experience, whilst also looking at how the brand should express itself in accordance with the business strategy.
Through an extensive audit of the user experience (UX) and customer journeys we were able to identify key moments where the brand’s character could shine through. We created a visual identity built around their AI virtual assistant and the way that it would manifest through the UX, being proactive, engaging and ultimately useful for the user without disrupting the overall experience. This was accompanied by a suite of unique and complementary motion-driven behaviours to bring the product to life.
A visual language was defined to live comfortably within the digital environment Aion customers inhabit, ensuring accessibility and consistency. All elements of the user interface (UI) were designed to create a harmonious, progressive and sophisticated brand experience across all touch points, to seamlessly deliver the proposition for a sophisticated user.
In parallel, and built in a series of iterations through sprints, we defined a set of principles and a collection of reusable UI components. These would subsequently inform the design of the overall interface, providing a unified approach, scalability and ease of use.
Bearing in mind Aion provides financial services, we aimed with the interface design for the users to focus on performing the tasks needed, but took the opportunity in the appropriate scenarios to bring Aion’s personality forward, creating a flexible design system for the overall experience. Through this process, we collaborated consistently with the Aion team through Abstract, a version control software, and with regular sharing sessions involving interactive prototypes.
Finally we ensured that the verbal expression of the brand was in keeping with the visual expression. Establishing a tone of voice that felt familiar, caring and contemporary. We worked hand-in-hand with their UX team to translate all of the copy from their wireframes to ensure it shared a consistent tone of voice.
Launched and live
Following rigorous customer testing, Aion was launched in Belgium in 2019, bringing a fresh offer to the Belgian financial services market, democratising premium banking. It has been downloaded by thousands of Europeans who are now enjoying a proactive, premium and personal banking service.