The Future is Open

Jeff Tchadjeu
Jeff Tchadjeu
April 27, 2020

The promise of the internet was one of decentralization. But it doesn’t quite look like things worked out that way. When we think about how we spend our time online, whether consuming and producing content, or buying and selling products or services, we’re mostly sticking to a handful of large platforms. You know them all. You probably spend all of your time on them too!

Some people think that this is inevitable. That given rigorous competition and enough time, there is bound to be a small number of winners in the platform wars, and that that’s not such a bad thing. Amazon is, after all, pretty good at what it does.

The Open Application Network (OAN) disagrees. They think that this current state of affairs is neither inevitable nor optimal, and exist to revive that promise of decentralization.

To get them started on that mission, they asked us to build them a new website. August provided UX Research, Design, and Development.

OAN Lead Mockups @2x

Designing within guideline constraints

The OAN brand employs a swiss design style with a focus on content rather than decorative extras. The principles that drive the style are cleanliness, readability and objectivity. It’s known for bold headlines, a minimalist feel as well as a noticeable grid arrangement. The brand guidelines were assembled by our friends at Conflict and provided us with a compass for building the site.

A complex product demands a simple user experience

One of our main goals with this project was to abstract the blockchain aspect of the business from the user experience to keep the OAN vision clear and approachable. 

Developing the site with a minimalist aesthetic provided many advantages. The box-driven style lent itself to responsive design which cut development time significantly. This also simplified the CMS integration process. The strong grid-centered system made it easier to deliver a robust solution that enabled the OAN team to build, create, and modify the theme UI much more freely than we had originally anticipated.

“August handled our website build from end-end and was very adaptive to last-minute change requests”

Calvin Sribniak-Jones, Marketing at The Open Application Network
OAN process graphic layered

Letting the World Know

For their social media marketing campaigns, we drew on our knowledge of design history to produce a set of images referencing some of our favourite mid-century illustrators and designers, including Gerd Arntz, Paul Rand, Saul Bass and Tomi Ungerer. The isometric graphics complimented the established aesthetic visually by reinforcing the period motif and conceptually by communicating ideas with absolute efficiency.

OAN Marketing Graphics
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