Teake Kastelein
53.2194° N, 6.5665° E —— NL
Identity, Product Design, UX Design

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  • Role

    Design lead & production
  • Agency

  • Project type

Meet Ethnico, the food and beverages purchase group.

What started as an ambitious idea to take hold of the food & beverages industry turned into a mission to redesign the pipeline for small business orders. The goal was to translate a business idea into a clear strategy, an identity and a user centred product by leveraging technology and speed in an otherwise “stale” industry. Together with the founder we tackled the creation of what has now been dubbed, Ethnico. A startup with confidence & personality. The product? A new online platform that is designed to make restocking products quick, easy and painless. Currently in development.

Ethnico - brand animation
Kickstarting the project

Ethnico as a concept still required a product strategy. A strategy that would focus on solving pain points with modern solutions. 

I honed in on our potential user base and competitors. By analyzing competitors and mapping out the customer journey, we were able to identify opportunities and build a foundation from which I could kickstart our challenge.

Ethnico - project timeline
Understanding objectives

The food and beverages industry is massive. However, according to insider knowledge, there is still plenty of room for modernization and optimization. Particularly in the B2B space. For Ethnico, that would mean finding which puzzle pieces appear to be misplaced and which puzzle pieces were missing. Building upon our foundation, we took an audit of potential issues, opportunities, and standard use patterns. Speed, last mile, and connection were reoccurring topics.

Product principles

After understanding our objectives, the next step was to define our product principles. Principles that act as my baseline for designing Ethnico brand and product. I worked with the founder to match business objectives with design and brand opportunities. To be quick, simple, and approachable would become leading.

Ethnico - persona
Designing the product

As my client already had a list of requirements, they still had to match the user's needs. I compared the product requirements with our potential users. Building upon prior research, I created user personas as points of reference. References from which I could generate new functionalities that could optimize the app.

I started the design process by analyzing the product context and usage. Having gathered sufficient data, I began designing flows that would align with the product principles.

Ethnico - wireframe / testing

To validate the user flows, I created rapid paper prototypes. Creating such prototypes allowed me to eliminate unnecessary steps in the user flow. Working through an iterative process of prototyping and testing, I set up navigational patterns as a framework by which I could iterate.

Building on the baseline user flows, I designed lo-fi wireframes. As speed and simplicity were our leading principles, I looked for opportunities and patterns that I could utilize to optimize the product for quick interactions. I worked with several respondents to gather feedback which led to necessary iterations.

Ethnico - prototype, testing mockup
Ethnico - product mockup
Ethnico - product screens
Defining the brand 

To continue the product design process, I first had to find the tone of voice for Ethnico. Ethnico's tone of voice would act as the baseline by which I can design the identity, brand personality, and expression. Relating to our product principles, we found that the brand of Ethnico had to express the following tone:

For Ethnico, we wanted to contrast the current landscape. In the current market, various competing companies present themselves as corporate entities. Our goal was to create a human experience that would lower the barrier of communication for small businesses.

Ethnico has to be simple. Simple in communication, simple in design, and most importantly, simple to use.

Ethnico has to express speed in its brand, identity, and product. As its core product pillar, every facet of its service has to be quick, efficient, and painless.

In a competitive market with loads of players, Ethnico is looking to do things differently. The brand has to express confidence to solidify its spot in the space. Confidence going both ways, Its clients should be confident in using Ethnico as their service.

Ethnico - final logo
Ethnico - brand impression
The visual identity

Because I had a clear baseline to work from, I started the identity design process by linking the tone of voice to keywords related to the project. As its name suggests, Ethnico links to ethnic-themed foods. Ethnic being the theme led me to research ethnic designs, color schemes, and patterns. By making a stylescape, I quickly distilled various styles that could work for Ethnico.

Ethnico - preview, brand identity guidelines

To best represent the name and the tone of voice, I opted for bright red and simple geometrical shapes, using illustrations to give the brand a friendly and personal touch. After multiple iterations, the Ethnico identity was born.

Ethnico - illustration style
Ethnico - email template
Ethnico - website design
Ethnico - onboarding, contextual shot
Ethnico - app icon