NetApp is a Fortune 500 corporation, with more than 12,000 employees globally, that offers data management and storage solutions. Being a huge company with many different offerings and a variety of target sectors, NetApp was struggling to maintain clarity and coherence on its cloud services offerings.

The Challenge

Our work with NetApp included a variety of projects, all revolving around two major goals:
The first, exploring new ways to visualize and express technical and abstract concepts, in a compelling, playful and attractive manner.
Second, Repackaging and telling the story of 17 different products in one website, being the outward face of the new platform called NetApp BlueXP.

Outcome

Visual language, website, infographics, publications

 

A Useful Design System

When we started working with NetApp they had a brand book dealing with basic brand elements and marketing-related use cases. Quickly, this resource turned out to be lacking. In order to tell a complex story, involving many products and led by many teams scattered around the world, we developed a comprehensive design system.

The abundance of technical data and lingo, inherent to NetApp’s offerings, pushed us to develop a design system that is subtle and minimal, yet modular and lively.

System Architecture

A special chapter within our design system for NetApp is dedicated solely to the creation of system architecture diagrams. These diagrams are an important tool used by engineers to explain the flow of data between systems, and all the operations involved in these processes.

In a long process involving NetApp’s technical writers and engineers, we were able to define a wide set of visual elements, used to systematically describe the company’s breadth of tools. The final visual language incorporates elements that are common within the industry and adds new, NetApp-specific, layers to them.

Making Complex Concepts More Accessible

Beyond the conventional system diagrams, in a series of projects completed with NetApp, we set out to explore additional ways to present technical and abstract stories in a visual way.
With a minimalist approach in mind, we limited ourselves to a strict set of colors and shapes, and used those to represent system features and capabilities. The results proved to be intriguing for viewers, who were compelled to dive deeper and understand how these features work.

Using 3D, we have been able to introduce new ways of expressing technical terms like ‘copy’, ‘clone’, ‘lock’, ‘access’, etc. Adding depth, lighting, and texture, to what was previously strictly flat, opened the gates to a new world of possibilities in terms of technical storytelling.
Borrowing ideas from the world of illustration and picture books, we started using metaphors, humor, and lightness, to discuss complex and tiresome topics.

NetApp
Year 2023
Industry Tech
Services UI/UX, Web Design
Creative Director Gilad Fried
Designer Meshi Sanker
Content & Production NetApp team
Development Penguin Strategies