Penny is an Android and iOS app that helps users in the UK find and collate misplaced pensions from their previous jobs and pension pots.
In order to reach and engage older age groups as well as Millennials and Gen X-ers (whose minds could not be further from pensions), London-based app development studio, Skep, concocted an interesting mix of vivid looks and robust usage.
In general, financial solutions go for conventional and conservative looks, with little to no experimentation. Penny app design breaks away from these norms in a very radical and dramatic fashion.
The fun, colorful branding along with an extremely simple user interface introduces the much-needed jovial character into a very stern aspect of living. This approach sets Penny apart from the competitor apps and introduces a whole new visual language for this sector.
The first impression a Penny user gets is how different this app looks from anything they’ve seen before.
The illustrative, geometric approach to design, flat and linear style with a gripping color scheme (involving light yellow and white for the majority of UI) all seem very new and fresh – especially in the context of a personal finance and banking app.
In fact, Penny app design appears to follow the retro craze that has been sweeping all facets of design lately. Even so, it is far from your run-of-the-mill tribute to past decades, although the 1980s do spring to mind once the user gets a sniff of boxy menu items and simple 3D CTA buttons.
As far as retro throwbacks go, the Penny app is among the more well-accomplished ones. It injects a certain element of surprise, given the app’s purpose, while its simplicity resonates with all user age groups.
According to app creators, Penny app’s font is the personality-rich GT Flexa from the Grilly typeface. It “works well with the whole feel of the app which deals with pensions” because it is highly versatile and applicable across a variety of screens.
The same font, albeit in bold, is used on a forward-thinking logotype which consists of a brand name on a rounded 3D button. The same font style also appears on different pages/screens, like Account, Info and others.
Despite showing a bit of personality, the font is easy to read against the app’s white or yellow background.
The user journey begins with providing basic personal info, so the app can search through the UK’s entire pension service system and find the user’s money.
It then transfers all of the user’s pensions and their exact amounts into the Penny account, where the user can access them at any time.
The entire navigation interface relies on three buttons via which the user can access the app’s main functions: Chat, Account and Docs.
Under Docs, the user can find legal documents that – in the app’s witty words - “you will never use, but Boris (Johnson, UK Prime Minister) thinks you should have access to them.”
The chat option lets the users, well, chat with the AI chatbot or the human representative regarding their missing pensions.
Account – quite self-explanatory – lets users adjust their personal account settings.
Skep’s Penny app design removes the dread and horror associated with personal finances and replaces it with glee and, frankly - a hefty amount of magic.
How else to explain and describe a smartphone application that automatically finds the long-forgotten money you have the right to?
The agency – and the people behind the app’s idea – must have conducted massive research to find such a unique market gap comprised of people who hop from employer to employer and lost track of different pension pots.
Since this demographic is very broad and consists of varying age groups, it was vital to develop a brand identity that equally resonates with Boomers and Millennials. This in itself is one challenging task.
As Chris Smyth and Josh Hailes, Skep’s creative directors put it:
“Our approach was to deliver an informal identity that balanced the tricky tension of being ‘playful’ whilst maintaining the necessary ‘sturdiness’ of the pensions industry.”
Clearly, they’ve succeeded. Otherwise, their Penny app design wouldn’t have won DesignRush’s most coveted Best App Design Award.