A belief we have at TwoLips is the idea that design should be fun. We believe this so much so that it’s one of our core design principles as well as a business philosophy. Part of this focus on fun is because running a business is really hard. So if we’re not actively trying to do things differently, what’s the point? But that’s for another day.
The other reason we hold tightly onto this idea that design should be fun is that it’s practical. Fun design is engaging design. Engaging design means your audience is paying attention and thus your message is more likely to land.
This weekend I was on the receiving end of fun design and it absolutely did its job.
We recently upgraded our bed from a full (no comment) to a king and that meant needing an all-new mattress frame. Let me be the one to break it to you that the difference in cost between a full and a king is drastic. So we were on the hunt for a bargain. Enter The Yona Bed.
I’m going to be straight with you, it is a cardboard bedframe and my partner was hesitant, to say the least. But the reviews were stellar, the price was a dream, and shockingly, it was more in line with our style than most beds we had seen.
Now, being a cardboard bedframe company, you have a few different ways you could position yourself to your customers.
You could lean heavily into being far more affordable than your competitors. The issue here is if you’re targeting young professionals, and you want your brand to still feel more premium, focusing on the low price might not be the right move. Why remind your customers that they are going with the cheap option if you’re not trying to position yourself as “cheap”. You also might lose out on more word of mouth because folks, like my partner, don’t want to admit they ordered a cardboard bed.
Another option is to lean into the sustainability side of your product. Lean into the fact that the option your customer is choosing is actually better for the earth and therefore a better product all around. A benefit here is that this is a value your customers are more likely to share with their network. This is one of the positions that Yona has embraced with its branding. It is all over their website, their social media, as well as on the box itself.
But what is the tone this sustainability brand takes? It could take itself more seriously, it is trying to save the planet for peat's sake. But it’s also a brand that makes, well, cardboard bedframes.
Instead, Yona leaned into the slightly ridiculousness of its product.
On their website, they tackle the obvious and well, direct question of the sturdiness of their product.
This continues to their packaging with their 3 core value props proudly stated in large and in charge text:
And finally, the blurb that sparked this entire blog, their product warning.
I have put together my fair share of Ikea furniture to know that I should read the instructions before I get started with furniture. I said I should because I also am the person who if they think something looks simple enough, I’ll give it a go until I’m too frustrated.
Yona knows that I am not in the minority when it comes to putting together furniture. In MASSIVE text, on multiple sides of the box, they have put a warning to customers with a QR code. It’s impossible to miss.
“WARNING! Don’t continue without instructions.
We know who you are. You’re the one that can open the pickle jar, you can put together new flat-pack furniture while watching B-grade crime dramas. You ignore instructions all the time and the worst thing that has happened is an argument about why you don’t read them. Not all products are created equal and sometimes intuition can lead you down the wrong path. The Yona bed is minimalist and simple, but it’s not like anything you’ve ever seen before, so take a look through the instructions before you give it ago. Don’t worry, we all need a little help sometimes, and if you want, it can be our little secret. Go on, give them a try, and if you’re still craving a challenge - there’s a riddle on the instructions page, for “brainiacs” like you!”
Not only did I read the entire paragraph, but I followed the QR code to see if I actually needed to follow the instructions. After a quick scroll through the instructional videos, I was convinced. I did in fact need the instructions.
So when the time came to put the bed together, I pulled out my phone, scanned the QR code, and followed the simple instructions. They were right. It was easy. And there is no way my intuition would have had me putting it together correctly. Which could have easily meant accidentally ripping the bed because it is just cardboard, and creating an entirely different relationship with the brand and product.
The whole experience with Yona has been surprisingly delightful. Sure the price drew us in, but their branding and user experience has me writing this blog and telling folks all about them. Fun design for the win.
Interested in chatting about design, branding, or even just cool shit?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About The Author
Olivia Wisden is the Founder + CEO of TwoLips Creative. She has worked with dozens of brands over the years ranging from city initiatives to product launches and beyond. When she’s not fan-girling over the design team’s illustrations she can probably be found reading a novel or attending a boxing class.