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  • Swisscom


Swisscom iO, the app that delivers free calls, chats and images, was launched onto the global market in June 2013. Within 24 hours it was the number 1 free app in the Swiss iTunes store. People had embraced iO’s ambitious vision, of providing users with a single place for all their channels of communication, in one secure and easy-to-use place.

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With relentless changes to the way people communicate (text, voice, video, images and alerts, populating a bewildering network of conversations, updates, and shared work and play), Swisscom faces challenges to traditional revenue streams and decreased brand visibility.

Based on our six-year partnership with Swisscom, we were approached by an internal innovation team to support their vision of simplifying and enhancing the way customers communicate, in a streamlined, integrated app. The ambition was to set a benchmark for the industry.

We then defined the service principles: smart, simple and close. These characteristics would support the development and creation of the name, visual identity, interface and communications.

iO is taken from the name of Jupiter’s closest moon. The i represents the individual and the O the individual’s world – and together they suggest the close proximity of the two.

iO is the first offer from Swisscom that sits apart from the master brand. As such, and as Swisscom continue to diversify their offer, we developed a brand architecture model that would support their on-going growth and diversification, positioning iO as a service brand.

The service principles immediately guided the naming process. iO is taken from the name of Jupiter’s closest moon. The i represents the individual and the O the individual’s world – and together they suggest the close proximity of the two.

As with the name, the mark expresses simplicity, with the individual symbolised by the i, and the individual’s world by the O.  The i is taken from the Swisscom wordmark, with the use of the Swisscom serif typeface strengthening the relationship between master brand and service brand. The agile, vibrant character of the O animates intelligently to bring life, motion and vibrancy to the mark.


We built generative design into the heart of the project

Experimenting and sketching in code from the outset. The outcome was bespoke software to generate an endless array of vibrant imagery to be used in applications across the brand. This supporting graphic language utilises crops of the colour gradients found within the O symbol, offering rich visual textures ideal for screen and print platforms.

The fundamental pillars of the UI stretch across all devices and platforms; the layered composition can be seen running through the wireframes and sitemaps to the final website and app. As the UI language was being developed in tandem with the visual identity, they informed and shaped each other. The O of the mark is seen in the circular call screen keys, suggesting that the ‘O’ in ‘iO’ is for touch. The iO tag, which shows which of a user’s contacts are on the iO platform, is derived from the monochrome brandmark. When the user interacts with iO, by calling, messaging, or selecting items, the cyan blue is used to convey an on state, giving vibrancy to people’s interactions with iO.

We led several programmes of work to launch the service onto the market

Swisscom understood that people want a solution that simplifies the overwhelming choices they have in communications. The launch campaign centred on this – showcasing iO as an innovative app that meets people’s needs in a secure, simple and beautiful-to-use way. What sets iO apart from its competitors is the fact it is powered by a national telco, and is seamlessly integrated with Swisscom’s legacy telco systems. This integration provides real value beyond just the smart features of the app – such as using iO abroad to call all telephone numbers back in Switzerland for free.

This relationship between Swisscom and iO was carefully considered, to drive brand loyalty with existing and new customers whilst establishing iO as a unique service offer in its own right.

The messaging we developed for the iO and Swisscom websites, web banners and print campaigns supported iO’s positioning of smart, simple and close. As a messaging app that puts people first, we created a warm, expressive photographic library and guidelines for use.