Design Director at Flodesk

Claudia
Aran

ClaudiaAran (Design Director at Flodesk)

I’m the Design Director at Flodesk, nurturing the design aesthetic and brand. My goal is to help mature design within organisations, highlighting the significant impact of a unified brand presence.

Barcelona, España • December 22, 2023

What led you into design?

My interest in art and design has always been alive. My mother still jokes about the countless times I asked my parents to draw suns and moons for me, long before I even knew how to hold a pencil. According to her, it was a regular request. 

As a kid, I was always drawn to anything artistic. Weekends at home meant getting hands-on with paints, crafts, colours, you name it. My sister and I would spend endless hours cutting and pasting paper cut-outs, creating our own mini-magazines. I wish I still had one of those!

With my dad being an engineer, I was introduced very early to computers and technology. I moved from Lego constructions to immersing myself in softwares like Paint. The process of designing and expressing myself creatively using digital tools became something I really enjoyed, which eventually led me into the wide world of Adobe.

Growing up in a family with many architects and designers, it felt like pursuing design was the natural path. It was a no-brainer, more of a "when" rather than an "if."

What does a typical day look like?

My daily routine has changed a bit since I started working remotely. I’m embracing a slower pace and (still) trying to dedicate more time to myself in the mornings.

I love to wake up early and start with a cup of coffee and a reading session. This "starting slow" ritual became a thing for me during the pandemic, and I've tried to stick with it since then. Post-reading, I always sneak in some exercise, whether it's a spin class, gym, or going for an easy run on Tibidabo’s hill to enjoy the beautiful view of Barcelona.

Since I joined Flodesk, I've adopted a bit of a night owl routine. I often work until late to sync up with my US-based teammates. It's a different schedule that sometimes throws me off the mainstream, but I enjoy the peaceful afternoons and evenings to focus without distractions. Plus, I love the idea of enjoying the daylight and taking the dark ambience to work.

Working at a fully remote company has its perks. We try to prioritise asynchronous communication, respecting everyone's time zones. This means fewer endless meetings and more quality time to dive into design, creation, and actual work. The day usually wraps up with a couple of meetings for reviews, syncs, and alignment—a productive end to a day that starts slow and finishes strong.

What's your workstation setup?

I'm still in the exciting process of creating my dream home office, so I don't have a fixed workspace to share just yet. My work setup over the past couple of years has been diverse and dynamic. I've had the pleasure of working in various inspiring locations—from cozy coworking spaces to cafes, and the comfort of my own home.

The Sircle, Barcelona

One of the aspects I love about my work is the flexibility it offers, so I've been fortunate to incorporate my passion for travel into my profession. Over the last couple of years, I've spent long periods working in inspiring locations such as Biarritz, Bali, and Rio. These experiences have not only enriched my creative process but have also allowed me to draw inspiration from different cultures and environments.

Where do you go to get inspired?

Over time I've come to realise that inspiration doesn't always come from poring over design references. I find more joy in other experiences, and the emotions these evoke fuel my creativity at work. Among these, two main sources consistently inspire me: art and travel.

Many view design as merely meeting needs, but I see it as a space for personal expression, similar to art. It taps into people's emotions, and that's what I love about it. I consistently turn to art for inspiration. It's like this endless pool of ideas that allows me to bring unique solutions into my work later on.

My go-to art spot in Barcelona is Alzueta Gallery, featuring two of my favourite artists: Claudia Valsells and Richard Zinon. I dream of owning one of their artworks someday...

I also appreciate smaller yet well-crafted pieces, like Casa Cubista’s ceramics, which I discovered on a recent trip to Lisbon.

This appreciation for art and craftsmanship was solidified during my travels when I felt an indescribable connection between myself and the local art I discovered. I deeply value the essence of each project and artist—how they infuse graphic ingenuity into each creation and subtly depart from the ordinary.

From this idea, I'm currently working on a personal project named The Jolies Choses, where I pull from my worldly travels to bring people unique interior design pieces, boutiques, and artists from destinations around the globe. The project combines my passion for exploring the world with the design and charm of local craftsmanship. Here's a sneak peek:

@thejolieschoses

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

I have a thing for lamps. My favourite store is Santa & Cole. Here’s a collection of my favourites—it includes pieces from Miguel Milá and Antoni Arola, both designers from Barcelona.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

This year, we launched a full rebrand for Flodesk. Together with DIA and Optimo, we defined a new design strategy, which informed a custom typeface, comprehensive motion system, product art direction, and product integration. We crafted it in a way to captures the flow of Flodesk's creativity and the function of purposeful technology.

My favourite part is to see the system activated across every brand touchpoint—from the marketing site to brand communications, all the way back to where users interact with it the most (the product) creating a thoughtful and resolute brand identity. I always like fostering connections between the brand and the product in order to craft unique and memorable user experiences. Click here for a visual walkthrough

I also work on side projects every now and then during my free time. I treat them as my playground for learning, experimenting, and bringing new ideas to life. When selecting these projects, I put thought into it, aiming for the best possible results and outcomes for all the work I want to tackle in the future.

What design challenges do you face at your company?

I’m passionate about helping mature design within organisations, highlighting the significant impact of a unified brand presence. One of my key challenges at work is simple: how can we implement systematic design to enhance quality, collaboration, consistency, and efficiency?

This year, Flodesk has been transitioning from designing individual things (as one-offs) to developing systematic approaches. Initially, the team designed without having scalability in mind, leading to inconsistencies from how our user interface looked, to the patterns in user experience, brand communications, and even in how we put together the core product—our templates. 

The rebranding project aimed, not only to authentically represent Flodesk, but also to define a structured brand system by creating custom toolkits and templates that would empower our in-house team and maintain consistency in a modern digital brand.

Now, we are extending this strategy to our product templates, reducing one-off work and providing more solutions to all of our members.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Get experience and work for others before starting on your own. Practice, practice and practice. Change, delete, and start over!

Anything you want to promote or plug?

You can find me on instagram under @claudiacaranstudio or visit my website.