To say we’re excited about this announcement is something of an understatement – but today we can finally reveal that we’ve completely redesigned our debit cards across all our products. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the new look, but in the meantime, Starling’s Art Director Mark Day is here on the blog to explain how and why he went about leading this big change...
Update 26 March: Our debit cards are now made mostly from recycled plastic. Read more.
Good design is about more than the way things look. It’s about challenging old methods and responding to cultural shifts. Adapting the outdated to meet new ways of living.
We built a new kind of bank from scratch because it was clear that traditional banking didn’t really fit into the way we live anymore, and that it only still existed because no-one had got round to changing it yet.
And it’s that spirit – questioning old logic, then finding a way that works better – that we’ve brought to the redesign of our new debit card. We decided that we wanted to do everything in-house rather than outsource it, and then once we started the process, we realised that we first needed to understand why bank cards look the way they do.
Old shapes, old systems
Design usually evolves to solve something or to meet new needs, and bank cards don’t look the way they do by accident. They were designed landscape because of the way old card machines worked, and they’re embossed with raised numbers so they could be printed onto a sales voucher.
But we don’t use those machines anymore, so when you think about it, a landscape card is just a solution to a ‘problem’ that no longer exists. At Starling, we think it’s important that we can justify every decision we make – and we just couldn’t find a reason good enough to carry on using a design based on antiquated needs.
Turning a corner
So we studied consumer behaviour. If people don’t interact with their bank cards in that way anymore, then how do they use them? The answer seemed obvious: in portrait.
From how you slot your card into an ATM or a card machine to how you tap it for contactless, our lives are largely lived in portrait now, even down to how we use our phones. A portrait bank card reflects how we actually use our cards today; it’s intuitive, instinctive, and in short: it’s just common sense.