Becoming the design partner for small businesses
VistaPrint pioneered the web-to-print category 20+ years ago; since then, they have continually broadened their product and service offerings for consumers and small businesses. In 2019, they came to us as they undertook a key stage in their long-term strategic transformation. Their goal? Become the design and marketing partner for small businesses. We co-created a product roadmap and set in motion a collaborative working relationship for design, development, and product strategy to bring this vision to life.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit and the need to pivot product strategy became urgent, our value as their digital partner became even more clear. We worked directly with VistaPrint's C-suite to launch a new revenue stream from scratch: one that both helps keep people safe and keep businesses running. In a matter of just two weeks, we rolled out VistaPrint Masks’ digital platform.
This extended VistaPrint's offerings into customizable and comfortable masks as a protective measure. The brand leapt to the forefront of helping people in a pandemic that lingered longer than anyone expected. That platform raised the bar for Vista as a company. We took the award-winning Masks experience and extended its principles to their core shopping experiences —identifying opportunities for the brand to reestablish market offerings and provide small businesses with products to help them flourish. Through iterative concepting and testing, we established: a new intuitive design and purchase flow for both B2B and B2C customers; a design system we refined, enabling Vista to integrate, scale, and deliver new experiences quickly and efficiently; and new customer journeys that would define Vista, the new parent company of VistaPrint.
We’re helping them imagine a new future, integrating acquisitions that unlock a whole new array of services they can offer their customers. With each new experience and upgrade, Vista provides more value to businesses, and is redefining its relationships with its customers.
What we did
- Future vision definition
- Visual and conceptual branding
- Discovery & user research
- Site & app concepting
- Responsive-web experience design
- Acquisition integration
- Web application development
- Data definition and API integration
- Content modeling and CMS integration
- A/B testing and telemetry
“(A) brilliant example of a fast and agile decision-making and implementation process. It's remarkable how, within the space of two weeks, the company managed to adapt their digital channel to a new product, set up the entire process behind it, and start providing well-designed face masks in the midst of a pandemic. The great success confirms the decision and proves that it was the right product at the right time.”
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3 Big Takeaways
Pivoting for immediate needs
Launch of Masks
The brand originally engaged Work & Co to define and deliver a long-term digital vision for the company, but plans and efforts shifted to address more urgent needs when faced with the unexpected COVID-19 crisis in 2020. We helped VistaPrint launch an entirely new product—stylish, colorful face masks for kids and adults—by rapidly designing and developing a new digital platform on which the products could be customized and sold. The Masks site was crucial to helping people and businesses through technology, a core tenant of the VistaPrint brand.
“We knew that a lot of people were going to be sitting on the couch during the pandemic, browsing on their phone. So we had to create a great mobile-centric experience, which we didn’t have.” - Ricky Engelberg, VistaPrint EVP and CMO
At a time when the world over was in need of protective gear, time was of the essence for getting Masks off the ground. We needed to move quickly, while also learning to work 100% remotely. Our strategy, design, and engineering teams collaborated daily with VistaPrint's C-suite using real-time tools like Figma, Slack, and Dropbox. Using React and Gatsby accelerated our delivery of a highly-interactive and performant frontend, and VistaPrint's sophisticated services ecosystem made it possible to swiftly set up a new line of business. From concept to launch, the project was completed in just two weeks.
“Throughout the pandemic, days have been more like weeks, and speed-to-market has never been more critical because of it. Within weeks, we were able to bring a first-of-its-kind product for VistaPrint to market by partnering with Work & Co in an agile and responsive way." - Ricky Engelberg, VistaPrint EVP and CMO
Fulfilling the mission
The site’s architecture leverages a microservices, API-first, cloud-native, and headless approach to deliver a fluid, customer-centric experience. Sales took off within 24 hours of launch without any paid media. It would go on to serve as a key source of revenue for the brand—a significant portion of which was donated to support struggling small businesses— and later win several high-profile UX and e-commerce industry awards. Years in, it’s helped to keep businesses open, children in school, and vulnerable populations protected.
Redefining the core experience
Modernizing the experience
Among the updates we led is a new design-forward shopping journey—leveraging inspiration from out-of-category experiences users are already familiar with—optimized to be mobile-first. Our engineering team helped bring this vision to life, building net-new experiences for specific product categories and enhancing key steps in the core commerce and customization journey. The result is a cohesive flow for businesses and consumers, both of whom have come to expect a delightful, user-centric experience.
A new design system helped to create a shared design language across VistaPrint. The system offered a library of predefined, reusable components that meant designers and developers spent less time building from scratch. The design system accelerated the pace of their work and enhanced consistency platform-wide, meaning new products and features could be more easily added and adjusted throughout the company’s evolution.
The design system also provided a foundation for the expansion into design services, complementing the core print business. Expanding on existing technical infrastructure, we implemented new flows to help customers easily get professional design help, first for masks, and then rolling them out to other high-touch product categories. These new services connect users to professional designers who assist in everything from small adjustments to full-spectrum production services.
Evolving digital for scale
Long-term strategic roadmap
These new products and features aren’t simply about reacting to market needs—they’re key steps that prepare the company for the future. We partnered with leadership to help envision a multi-year product roadmap that included a global migration to an entirely new tech stack, and several major acquisitions, such as 99Designs and Crello, as well as a partnership with Wix.
Transformation in action
Following this radical expansion of services, 2021 saw a major milestone in the company's roadmap with the unveiling of Vista, a new branded entity and positioning as a holistic marketing and design partner for small businesses. We led the visual branding for Vista and even helped onboard executive leadership to ensure the organization is aligned for success through this evolution.
Growing as Vista
Our partnership is ongoing as we continue to play a key role in bringing to life the strategy across both VistaPrint and the full suite of Vista services—pushing both conceptual and executional work in the direction where the brand is headed.