Ask DN: Examples of design to communicate luxury/high-end app positioning?

5 years ago from , Incubating Products @ Glocal Partners

We are currently building an app that we want to market as a premium in a certain vertical. Looking for inspiration for the apps that are doing a great job communicating their luxury/premium/high-end positioning via design.

I've looked at premium fashion brands websites. Now looking for mobile/web apps examples, like "Watchville": https://itunes.apple.com/app/watchville/id932598030 , but not in fashion. How would a premium productivity app look like?

If you can point me to the relevant articles about designing for the premium segment that would be helpful too.


  • Nathan KontnyNathan Kontny, 5 years ago

    As I was thinking about your question I was reminded of this book: Trade Off.


    The book's argument is that: - things that catch on make a trade off between Utility and Luxury, or in his language (Convenience and Fidelity). - Convenience is how easy or cheap you can make something for people. - Fidelity is luxury or level of experience. Its the difference between listening to a MP3 and going to a concert. Or watching a movie or being on set of the movie and having lunch with the actors. - If you try and do both at a high degree, you'll lose.

    I won't argue the books points, but it is a very interesting lens. My inclinations then if I were building something like you're talking about that was going to be the "premium/luxury" app and thinking about Trade Off:

    • I'd probably try to design without paying much attention to the utility of the product. I'd focus on things like telling stories of the workmanship. Who are the exact people who built the thing, their stories, what tools were used to build it.
    • I'd also see how Support could be amped up. Luxury brands usually carry with it the idea that I can always get a friendly human to help me with my product choices. Maybe there should be a phone number to call to get someone to talk to about any buying choices or support they'd need. Or meetups pre-planned to get hands on training.

    Again, I'm not saying Trade Off is right or wrong, but it is a very interesting way to look at things. I do think too many apps aren't making this choice and they fail to capture customers' attention. There are apps that do pack a lot of utility and that's what customers want, but they don't communicate that to customers because they spend too much time trying to communicate something else. And vice versa. It's been a huge help in crafting and marketing my own site: Draft http://draftin.com/ It packs a lot of utility so I didn't spend much time trying to communicate something else: no logo, no deep time spent on the marketing site, no beautiful product pics. I focused on communicating utility. I picked one side of the Trade Off and it worked well.

    3 points
  • Kristjan Gomboc, 5 years ago

    as pointed out by others premium is all about the brand, the story, the experience. You really have to think what's the brand all about, what experience it offers the customer. then you try to translate that into UI.

    when translating a premium brand to into mobile UI it's all about the details. you are a premium brand, so every pixel has to reflect that. people don't pay big bucks for average/standard experience. for example don't use system fonts and icons. have yours, unique one. etc. same in animations... your work just hast be perfect in every detail. no excuse here.

    then based on the use case of the app I believe one has two ways to go regarding the experience.

    1. if the app is more about promotion/marketing... then create your own experience. Forget about the OS style guideline, be more like a game, where the user explores the story.

    2. if the app is to get a job done... e.g. shopping or scheduling an appointment... then stick to the best UX practice. stick to the system guidelines. especial regarding navigation. but still master the details in the design of your UI components.

    pls note that this is just my personal opinion and I don't have now some articles, research or examples to back up my view. but I do work in a company where we sell premium products and are now undergoing a digital transformation... means digital interfaces are getting more and more important and a core competence. so I have a lot of talks with our branding department, product designers etc... and this is just the opinion I made for myself regarding this topic based on those talks and my experience as a designer.

    1 point
  • Devin FountainDevin Fountain, 5 years ago

    I've been working on a high end product with Collective Ray and we've spent months trying to figure out what luxury looks like in application form. Initially we were looking to other apps and websites for inspiration but we've found that compared to physical real-world objects, digital software is still very much in it's infancy and rapidly changing it's identity. We took a step back from anything digital and researched objects that have been around for quite some time with high end materials and hand crafted intricacies, such as a watch or a pen. With those types of pieces, the appeal comes from the attention to detail in every single piece of the watch rather than the piece as a whole.

    1 point