• A design system for a thoughtful travel brand 
  • It is no longer enough for start-ups to rely solely on a great product. They need to create a strong brand that stands for something bigger in order to truly connect with people.

    Away, a newly-launched start-up with a vision to modernize and make travel seamless is part of this select group. Founded by two Warby Parker execs, they understood that people travel to enhance their lives and open their minds to new cultures and experiences. And that there was a big opportunity for a brand to come in and take the stress out of travel and inspire people to get away and explore.

    A year after launching, Away is already a leader among other start-ups in the luggage world by positioning itself as a travel brand, not a luggage company. This has allowed it to deeply connect with people and create thoughtful objects that stay true to its vision of making travel seamless and inspiring people to explore.

    I had the opportunity to consult with Away as design director for the past 3 months. During this time, I worked closely with the founders and other key team members to start the process of translating their vision into a design system that could serve as foundation for their fast-growing business.

    The first step was to define the design principles that could guide everything the brand creates moving forward. The second step was to take a look back at what had been done in the company's short, but fruitful history. Using the brand's vision as our north star, we filtered through what had and hadn't worked.

    These steps informed the way forward: a design system that reflects Away's constant focus on movement and the celebration of in-between moments. From luggage to a thank you note, everything the brand creates needs to be designed to inspire people to go out and explore the world. 

    This approach can be seen across many touch points: from photography that highlights moments in transition, through a graphic system of rich colors, bold typography and angles that carries an innate sense of movement, and through thoughtful content that informs and inspires. All of these elements strive to create strong connections with people and fulfill Away's promise.
  • Photograph by Ben Wagner
  • Photograph by Fabian Öhrn
  • Stop motion by Henry Hargreaves
  • Stop motion by Henry Hargreaves
  • Photographs by Fabian Öhrn
  • Photographs by Nathan Kraxberger
  • Credits

    Creative director and Co-Founder
    Jen Rubio

    Lead Copywriter
    Trace Barnhill

    Lead UX/UI and visual designer

    Nicholas Kriegler