June 22, 2023

Applicate, designing an inspiring app for organizing our inspiration

We accompany entrepreneur Chiara Pastorelli from the first steps to the launch of the ultimate app for iPhone to improve how we save, organize, and share images and screenshots.

Marta Caballero

Marta Caballero

UX Writer and Content Strategist at Z1

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Applicate, designing an inspiring app for organizing our inspiration

Applicate is an app we've helped conceptualize, design and develop, that offers personalized and smart labeling of images through machine learning, URL recognition, and collaborative collections to boost productivity among creatives.

It happens all the time; every second our eyes come across something that excites or inspires us, we want to capture it on our mobile phones, either by taking a photo or a screenshot. However, finding it again for later use is usually complicated and impractical due to the sheer number of images we save every day. Our mobiles have become more than just a treasure box, a mixed bag in which it is difficult to rediscover what we once kept with great interest.

3 iPhone's mockups of Applicate UI Design.

Coming from the world of fashion, entrepreneur Chiara Pastorelli, an Italian native based in Dubai, understood the usefulness of this simple act of capturing and taking photos, especially in professions like hers. She began to envision a digital product that would rely not on another algorithm but on the creativity of professionals to organize their inspiration. She had literally dreamt of a personal journal of ideas that, combined with AI, would be valuable for freelancers or teams. With this dream in mind, she came to Z1.

The founder began to envision a digital product that would rely not on another algorithm but on the creativity of professionals to organize their inspirations.

During the last few years, her desire for a digital product that would allow users to organize everything they love in seconds with a simple swipe only grew stronger. "What moves me in life, besides constant learning, is finding beauty in everyday life. If things around me aren't organized, I can't focus," she explains.

"The photographs and screenshots people take every day are moments, memories, sources of inspiration, and valuable information that must not be forgotten. All of which are so easily lost and misplaced among the thousands of other photos and screenshots. Everyone should be able to organize these images based on what they mean to them. Not algorithmically, but personally. They should be able to organize and share all this content in a private and personalized way," adds the entrepreneur.

A cenital shot of a smartphone with the App Applicate open.

Today, Applicate, one of the most beautiful (and useful for our own team!) products that we have helped launch in our studio, is finally available in the marketplace. From the early days of work, Chiara expressed her intention to help profiles such as buyers, artists, designers, event organizers, wedding planners… all those professionals who need to proceed with eyes wide open and curiosity at full speed. In other words, Applicate is tailored for creatives in industries where visual material is essential. It offers smart categorization, image editing, and the ability to privately share ideas with collaborators in a dedicated cooperation space.

However, it is also designed for people in any profession who simply want to capture ideas, such as renovating their kitchen or finding the perfect suit for a wedding. Or in other words, for all of us!

“Everyone should be able to organize images based on what they mean to them.”
Chiara Pastorelli, Applicate's Founder.

According to the founder, developing this dream with Z1 has been an enriching and stimulating process. "When I was looking for a developer, it was really important to me to find someone who would join me in exploring my vision and creating it. It was imperative that I found a company that truly understood the entire A-Z experience, a company that delivered more than just a user flow, with a real focus on design and user experience," Chiara says.

Bringing creativity to the light

In our studio, we have accompanied her throughout the journey, conducting market studies, naming and claims exercises, branding, product design, and development.

The brand stands on the idea of contrast, on the dichotomy between chaos and order, light versus dark. The circle, divided into two equal parts, represents these two universes. On the one hand, the one where the content that may interest us in the near future resides raw, just waiting for our eyes to catch it. On the other, the world where, once this content is selected, we are going to store and categorize it to make our days easier and more productive.

Applicate's logo designed by Z1.

Two fonts in harmonious balance

To build the logotype, we used Cocomat Pro in its medium weight. Cocomat is a typography designed by Francesco Canovaro and Devora Manetti as a development of the Coco Gothic typeface system created by Cosimo Lorenzo Pancini.

For corporate communication, like the marketing site or the app, we selected HK Grotesk, an open-source sans serif typeface inspired by classic grotesques. Geometry, metrics, punctuation and OpenType features have been updated to support a wide range of projects such as Environmental Signage, text face for books and magazines, and a wide range of interfaces and websites.

Applicate branding design by Z1 Digital Studio.

For the development of the app we relied on the new SwiftUI framework and took advantage of Apple native features such as URLSession for the frontend connection with the backend. Our engineers opted for GraphQL for the backend API, and we managed third-party frameworks with SPM (Swift Package Manager) being the most remarkable Firebase for push notifications, Resolver for dependency injection, and PhotoEditorSDK for image editing.

We are currently running the first marketing campaign. Collaborating with a single partner from start to finish has significant advantages, as Chiara explains: "Working with Z1 from the beginning and turning my vision into reality has been fantastic. Z1 completely understood the concept and the use case. When Z1 completed the initial competitor market research, I felt reassured that the Applicate concept was truly unique and no one else was doing what we set out to do."

“When Z1 completed the initial competitor market research, I was really comforted to have reconfirmed that the Applicate concept was truly unique.”
Chiara Pastorelli, Applicate's Founder.

The founder expresses that the engineering team "was excellent and quickly understood the complexity of the task." Ensuring that something complex appears simple was a key factor in the close collaboration between the engineers and the Design team. "It was very important to me that the design was not compromised, and Z1 delivered on this," she concludes.

We strongly believe that maintaining a close relationship with our partners is essential when creating an app like this. The process is usually extensive, and close collaboration is vital at every stage. "I have always believed that when I find the perfect developer, it will be a long-term relationship, and they will feel invested in being part of the app's journey and future. So, it was only natural for me to choose Z1 for the marketing launch."

The initial feedback on Applicate has been overwhelmingly positive. Currently, Pastorelli is eagerly anticipating how users engage with the app and which other user groups become early adopters. "Exciting times lie ahead! I have a clear vision for the next phase of the app and the features and functionalities we will introduce, and I can't wait to share them."

Features enable users to:

  • Label, save, and find content efficiently and purposefully, thanks to machine learning and smart tags.

  • Recognize the URL where screenshots were taken from to refer back to the original source.

  • Locate and retrieve images instantly based on any of the labels and smart collections.

  • Create smart folders to group images in a dynamic way. These folders can be shared with various levels of collaboration between individuals and groups.

  • Treat the image with different filters.