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Airbank 1 on 1 September 29, 2021

Design at Airbank

What we stand for and how we express it.

Design is not the art of making things beautiful; it’s the science of making them invisible.

Invisibility is the utmost efficiency a service can achieve when it becomes so seamless that users forget it even exists. The problems that originally motivated its creation are not only solved but avoided.

It just works

Think iPhone. After switching from Android to iOS, soon I understood what people meant when they said it just works. It does its job without raising any issues. Apple products aren’t amazing because they constantly wow you, but because they blend into your life so easily.

As our prefix reveals, Airbank draws a lot of inspiration from Apple’s product philosophy. One of the key concepts here is the difference between complex and complicated. Complexity is an unavoidable truth. The complication is a human-made mess.

At Airbank, we are aware that finance is inherently complex. You’ll never chew it down enough to turn an untrained amateur into a CFO in one YouTube video. What we do not accept is all the complication that punishes already stressed-out founders & finance teams.

That’s why the first step toward designing Airbank was mapping out the key finance processes we were going to disrupt. How do SMBs manage their bank accounts? How do they reconcile transactions and keep track of cash flow? How do they organise payables and make transfers? Those questions led to a map of key actions, decisions, and tools, which helped us envision how these processes could be optimised.

I like to think of disruption as a three-level process. On the first, you provide answers. On the second, you provide solutions. On the last, you avoid problems. Most cash flow management solutions in the market today are stuck on the first level, focused on displaying raw information. We wanted to push Airbank deeper. It’s not just about showing your cash flow in real-time. It’s about predicting liquidity, cutting monthly reconciliation time, providing working capital when it is most needed, avoiding negative interest rates, automating data access for accountants, and much more. Airbank is not a new tool, it’s a new way of running a finance team with more efficiency and less risk than before.

Vision → Execution

With values and ambitions aligned, it was time to move Airbank from vision to execution.

In the first weeks after incorporating, Luka Predragović, an award-winning designer from Croatia, and Erick Petrucelli, a well-known front-end expert in Brazil joined aboard. We rolled up the sleeves and started working on brand and UX.

Airbank draws its name from the idea of lightness and simplicity, of giving our users more breathing room. In music, Bach and Handel made the Air a mainstream genre — melodies that still today are known for their harmony, lyric, and flowing rhythms.

Airbank’s combination of rounded shapes with edgy typography represents the intersection of human understanding and technological prowess that we stand for. Our colour palette transmits a combination of peacefulness and efficiency, which are the words we would use to describe a successful finance team.

Airbank’s color palette

Accessibility is a commandment in everything we do. From input interactions to menu items and the high-contrast, yet low eye-burden colour pairings, Airbank follows all the best practices in the field.

We designed our dashboard with the goal of creating organic flows that take the user from information to action in a breeze, striving for invisibility, our most important value. Pages and components were carefully planned to make usage as fast and obvious as possible. After all, the best support is when the user doesn’t need support at all (or hour-long onboarding sessions for that matter).

Once you get to try out Airbank, I encourage you to play around with the charts to see how they organically adapt to the viewport size and desired date range. These details exemplify the overall attitude towards UX that we adopted.

For the coming years, our challenge is maintaining these standards and cascading these values behind our design to a fast-growing organisation, both in terms of team and product. For as long as Design at Airbank remains a core operating principle of us, our hearts will always be synced with the great ambition of becoming invisible.

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