Sunbed Icon Suite

We designed an icon suite for an iPad application that makes sunbed reservation a breeze.

We've all been there, inflatable rubber ring in one hand, Sangria in the other, wading through a sea of holidaymakers as we hopelessly try to find an empty sunbed.

Fortunately MediaBase Direct, a digital agency who create and develop data compliant digital apps, are a step ahead and have thought of a way to resolve this. BookMySunbed is an app designed for Resorts to help manage sunbed reservations. Removing the need for paper, daily printouts and forgotten reservations. In turn holidaymakers can beat the early morning rush and reserve their perfect sunbed without the need of a towel.

Following a year of intense BETA testing and feedback from hotel resorts in Marbella and Dubai, MediaBase contacted us about updating their existing and out-dated icon suite. They required us to design a coherent set of icons, consisting of various sunbeds, tables, chair, stools, trees, bushes, shrubs, umbrellas, buildings and facilities, the sea, swimming pools, accessories and of course the beach itself.

Design

The icons needed to be functional and visually striking. The two working together to create a clear and simple interface that allowed the organisation of sunbeds within the app by hotel management to be intuitive and graphically impactful enough to entices resorts and customers into using the app.

As the existing icons felt very flat we used different tones of colours to create highlights and shadows to give them more depth. This in turn added a sense of realism which helped bring the icons to life giving them character and personality.

The majority of icons would have different status depending on whether they are available, reserved or booked. We suggested adding different coloured towels to each sunbed to clearly differentiate each state. Playfully echoing how sunbeds are typically reserved.

Resorts would have the flexibility to create their own layouts using a WYSWIG editor. We produced different iterations of each icon to ensure resorts have an extensive choice to select from, enabling them to create bespoke and unique layouts personal to them.

Ascender created an incredible icon set for BookMySunbed. They listened to our requirements, deconstructed the brief, challenged our ideas and delivered over and above our expectations.

Daniel Jain, Head of Product, Media Base Direct

Lights, Camera, Suncream

Illustrating such a broad range of icons (170 icons and still counting!) is a complicated task, so we delivered initial concepts once a style had been established. This style would act as the foundation for the rest of the design, allowing us to maintain consistency within the suite whilst allowing individual icons to develop their own character and personality.

Once approved we then designed and sent the rest of the icons in sets which allowed time for feedback and refinements between instalments.

A major challenge we had to consider was the environment the app would be used in. Primarily used outside in bright sunlight by hotel staff and holidaymakers, poor screen visibility due to glare would be a constant issue without sufficient contrast.

To find a solution, we internally proposed a trip to Marbella to replicate similar lighting conditions. However, our accounts department did not agree, suggesting an afternoon in Bognor instead!

So instead we bought the sun to us and created our very own Marbella lighting simulation without the cast of TOWIE. Using photography studio lights directed at a dimly lit screen we were able to simulate similar lighting conditions and select a colour palette that gave us greater contrast between the icons and background ensuring maximum visibility for the users.

At least we got a bit of a tan from the photography lights in the process.