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A Starling through the post…

The Starling Business Card. Smashing!

Apparently, mobile banking is all the rage at the moment, that is, a bank that doesn’t have a High Street presence with personable ladies sat behind bulletproof glass. 

When I was a freelancer I used ‘a popular High Street bank’ (it rhymes with “hey Jess, by sea”) for my business banking and whilst the experience was similar to that of my current account, i.e. pretty good, I did end up paying a few quid a month for the privilege of having a business account. When I stopped working as a freelancer I kept the account open for a few hosting Direct Debits but largely forgot about it. Over time I ended up getting into the overdraft zone because the minuscule DDs simply didn’t cover the business bank charges. My own fault of course, but I didn’t see why, as a sole trader I had to pay fees when I wasn’t even using the account. Ah, bank profits, yep, gotcha.

I was recommended Starling Bank by a fellow business chap (I originally typed ‘entrepreneur’ there but felt uncomfortable describing myself as such!) and tentatively signed up for an account online through the iPhone app. Required ID was a driving licence or passport, which had me tearing the house apart trying to find my passport only to find that it was in exactly the place I had stored it despite checking that place about a dozen times.

Which reminds me, funny story. A girlfriend and I years ago were going to Paris (Paris is awesome. If you’ve never been, go) and I was hunting for my passport because, well, we were leaving in about three weeks’ time. I will never forget the lines I spoke to her, lovingly, when I did find it: “Would now be a good time to tell you that my passport expired last year??”. I laugh about it now, of courseā€¦

Anyway, send off a snapshot of your passport ID and Robert’s your mother’s brother, you get an account set up within 24 hours and the card through the post a few days afterwards.

And this is the point of this post. Being a designer, I really love it when a company puts thought into product presentation. One of the many reasons I love Apple (I have an iMac, a mothballed Mac Pro that weighs about the same as the moon, an early Macbook Air (broken), an MacBook Pro that I bought by accident, a 30″ cinema Display that is a second monitor for the iMac, an iPad and an iPhone 8+. Oh and an Apple Pencil) is their attention to packaging. Seriously, I still pull out the iPhone box from time to time and let the inner box slide gracefully of out of the outer box. Try it: hold the outer box a few inches above a surface and watch the inner part slide out. Similarly, drop the outer part on to the inner part and watch as gravity slowly pulls it back down. I have kept all my iPhone boxes (3, 4, 6, 8) simply because they are a product in their own right. But, then again, I tend to keep boxes anyway, so the point is probably moot.

Today I got the Starling card and was hugely impressed with the minimalist packaging it came in. A nice thick folded piece of card, with the name of the bank logo embossed on the front cover. Open it and there is the card itself, mounted using cutouts in the card and not glued to the surface. Only the bank and Mastercard logos are on the card face, along with the chip. No 16-digit card number, account number, sort code, expiry date and name, which always rub off after the card has been in your wallet or purse for a few months.

You should always put effort into any materials that your company produces because there will be customers that take a few seconds out of their day to admire the effort that has gone into producing it. It will make you stand out from the competition. People will talk about the flourishes as much as they talk about the service. Great design defines who you are as a company, it reflects your personality.

The Documentalist can help you with all aspects of your design, including packaging, so drop us a line and let’s discuss how you can get the “that’s cool” reaction from your customers!