Across the Board

Blog on e-business and online payments.

PayLane for StartUps, a Short Story of Creation

Take a retro rocket, spice it up with a flying superhero, add a pinch of subtle textures, mix together and leave to simmer. If only the process of creation was as simple as a cook-book recipe. In this case we could begin like this: take gallons of black coffee, hours of inspirational soundtrack and an occasional “eureka” moment… But, like with every project, this one begins with a concept.

1. The concept

Everything begins with an idea, and this story was no different. From the very beginning, we wanted something different. Not another landing page within the poetics of an old website. We were searching for something completely different, something that could work outside PayLane. And something connected with startups.

First sketches (now that I look through them) involved light bulbs, jumping brains (those were quickly buried and forgotten, there’s only so much craziness a website can take) and, finally, rockets. For we all know that the concept of a startup involves something quick, new and aspiring, something made out of dreams and sweat that aims to reach the stars… Hence, the rocket prevailed. Plus it went well with words: “it’s not rocket science”, “lift off!” “beam me up, Scotty!”… Ok, maybe not the last one, but still.

When the rocket was decided upon, the rest followed quite naturally… That is, ALMOST naturally, as the first draft was grey and sad, and the only redeeming part of it was the aforementioned rocket…

2. The style

Finding style that would feel “just right” took some time. From the start, we were leaning towards the retro style. Not because it’s the big thing right now (although, let’s face it: it is the big thing right now… Which can be demonstrated, albeit in print, here.)

Vintage style encapsulates many sub-genres, and we went for the less obvious approach: the inspiration was drawn from the old posters of the 1920s, especially those of Polish origin. The palette was at first designed as bright and clear, and desaturated. Several characters were created, with the ocean-haired superhero being the first. As with all designs, a few things didn’t get past the drawing board… But that will be mentioned at the end.

3. Usability

In the spur of the moment, we decided to remodel the concept of navigation. After all, what are the things people want to read about on websites like ours? Let’s think: how many payment methods are there and how much they are going to pay for that.

These were the things we wanted to stress in the design, visible from the get go. Let’s face it, nobody waits for a sliding banner to go through all the states and motions. Instead of making four large banners, we’ve opted for small versions (we called them, rather affably “tiles”) and placed them under the main call to action portion of the site. The tiles are substantially larger than regular links, and thus smartphone and tablet users find it easier to navigate.

The idea of usability was in our minds while designing the price estimator. At first, the sliders were smaller, but we soon realized that what works fine on a regular screen, won’t work well on a smartphone. The sliders were redesigned in order to make the user experience more comfortable.

4. The leftovers

I teased about the things left on the drawing board… And it’s time to show at least one of these things. What would a retro style be without a pin-up girl?…

She didn’t make it to the final cut of the website… But let’s agree she’s drawn on the OTHER side of the rocket. The side you cannot see.

Ania is interested in all things design, as well as popular literature and film. She writes about the pretty side of credit cards and e-business. She's also responsible for some neat infographics and spends her free time writing short fantasy stories. An avid reader of graphic novels, she tries in vain to finish one herself. Has a credit card and is not afraid of using it online. Owner of a rather wicked sense of humor.

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