AccuWeather recently underwent a design update with loyalkaspar to create a system that both communicates the company's strong brand identity and enhances the effectiveness of its information design. The update was made in conjunction with AccuWeather's newly designed app, launched in July of 2020, that incorporated new and significant enhancements to current features based on user feedback.
One of the top weather brands in terms of awareness and trust, AccuWeather had the challenge of balancing ownable, recognizable brand assets with clarity of weather information, especially given that weather conventions such as storm maps have pre-existing meaning assigned to certain colors and shapes. AccuWeather is also a brand that shows up primarily on small screens, through its app and web traffic, adding a dimension where the brand needs to communicate concisely on the scarce real estate of a smartphone screen. Loyalkaspar introduced a new custom typeface called Solis, as well as a unique color palette and a variety of unique weather background designs, icons, and animations.
"We have come to understand and read weather data in a way that is consistent and universal-just think red for hot and blue for cold-so it's clear that you can't just create a new color palette," commented Daniel Dörnemann, Executive Creative Director at loyalkaspar. "You can't jeopardize clarity for design sake. A big challenge in terms of branding is that you have to find a way to create something ownable while honoring established conventions.
"A good example for this are our 'non-generic backgrounds.' The challenge there was how do we communicate the current weather in a clear and intuitive way, without using the realistic photographic approach that we see so often. Weather is important, sometimes life-saving information. I often say 'brand Identities have to work harder at identifying brands.' That of course sounds obvious, but it often is not. Anything that informs the experience and/or shapes the perception of a brand is branding, so, especially in the case of AccuWeather, its brand identity is manifested through its information design.
"While the logo is certainly still the most recognizable and arguably most important piece of branding, its presence is often reduced to the 'entrance' in digital experiences. Typography, however, is ever-present in virtually any experience. We love creating custom typography and for AccuWeather we created a typeface 'engineered for clarity' where we really considered not just the character, but the way it had to function and perform across all touchpoints, especially the small vertical screen that is our go-to for almost anything these days."