Thinking differently.

Apple is a globally renowned technology company that has created some of the most innovative products over the past few decades. I led art direction and visual design for their 2021 Back to School (BTS) campaign on the Apple website.

art direction
ui/ux design
digital design

The Apple BTS campaign and its promotion have largely remained unchanged over the past few years: buy an Apple product, get a peripheral device for free. For 2021, this peripheral device was AirPods.

The nuances of the campaign lied in its conceptual narrative and visual output. While most visitors to the campaign site generally have a good idea of what to expect and what they’re searching for, there are specific features or attributes about Apple products that casual or new Apple users may not be familiar with.

This campaign sought to educate and delight all of its audiences with those insights through vibrant and concise storytelling.

Before any formal visual or UX design process began, my team and I explored some preliminary visual concepts around how cards and modular shopping tiles could be leveraged in a compelling and dynamic manner.
These explorations ranged from expressive and vibrant to subdued and linear. Peripherally, we also took into consideration how these could loosely fit into a narrative framework, given the nature of the campaign.
Some explorations focused on Apple Experts as a means of providing educational insight and tips on product features. Either through illustration or photography/ video, these helped convey a more humanized tonality.
Further explorations were eclectic and numerous. Some experiences were designed to emulate a sort of “randomized roulette” interactivity, which would allow users to select a variety of pairings and see different insights.

Other directions explored more linear narratives, in favor of concisely telling the products’ story and features.
Some explorations even explored how dynamic interactions could shape the site’s narrative. In the examples above, a “Rubik’s cube” module was explored. Like the roulette option, this would show a randomized array of pairings and their corresponding features.
Above are alternative explorations to the “Rubik’s cube” direction. These interactive explorations were ultimately shelved due to a variety of logistical and technological constraints that — upon discussing with our development team — would have hindered the project’s timeline and scope.
These were some additional explorations of how a modular grid could employ more subtle interactivity, such as a card expanding to reveal more information or shift organically based on its content / the user’s preference.
When the design process officially kicked off and the UX team was introduced, our wireframe and structural discussions had a wealth of foundational content to pull from, which streamlined the UX process considerably.
My team and I were able to collaborate with the UX team with a strategic and tactical advantage, building out various component blocks and modules, then determining their hierarchy and appropriate placements within the context of a discrete page.
This also helped us define the narrative and storytelling approach we wanted to take more adequately. Was it more dynamic and interactive? Expressive and loose? Conservative and restrained? Numerous explorations were made based on these questions.
The final outcome of this design process resulted in a fusion of various explorations and iterations my team and I made.

Its ultimate output was relatively concise, linear, and simple. This enabled a harmonious matrimony of clever copywriting and detailed illustrations to communicate an energetic and visually lush story.

Simultaneously, it provided users with the knowledge and assurances they needed to make an informed decision at this critical juncture in their educational trajectory.
Created at AKQA / apple
Client: apple
group creative director: jamie roberts
creative director: una walsh
associate creative director (visual): sara golding
associate creative director (ux): wes michaels
associate creative director (copy): joe moon
art director: james edward bonilla
copywriter: alex bravo west
visual designers: eastman garcia, stephanie gigante, john jaber, ashley legiadre, Xingtong Liu, kaitlyn peterson, victoria williams
ux designer: stephanie lenorovitz
project manager / producer: tayra quinones
© Sombra 2024