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Someone sharpens Glasses Direct's vision

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Glasses Direct, a UK retailer that sells prescription glasses online, has been working with the London-based design agency SomeOne and its digital sister agency SomeOne/Else on an “Elegant” rebrand. The idea is to make the process of buying glasses online a “More enjoyable” experience. Glasses Direct has grown by over 50% in the last five years, and raised £16 million from investors recently to invest in building the brand. This looks to be their first serious shot across the bow after that investment.

Glasses Direct has been working with SomeOne and its digital sister agency SomeOne/Else on an “Elegant” rebrand

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A new identity has been applied to the site itself and the company's packaging, with SomeOne and its sister agency developing an integrated strategy that looks at “The entire customer journey.” The online experience has been tweaked in order to make buying online feel like a “Curated experience that reflects the quality and service of the brand,” and includes a mobile site for smartphone and tablet users. Both the main site and its mobile off-shoot have been designed with usability in mind, so that choosing the right frames is quick, easy, responsive and enjoyable.

A new identity has been applied to the site itself and the company's packaging

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According to SomeOne/Else creative director Dave Dunlop, “So many e-commerce sites slump into the merely transactional,” but he feels that here “The experience is one of welcome surprise as shoppers find what they want and are inspired to try previously unconsidered options.” User experience director Gavin Edwards, adds that “There is nothing like trying on a pair of glasses,” as he believes “It’s a personal and physical experience.” As such, their task was to “Remove any barriers to users getting these glasses in their hands,” which resulted in a site that is as easy to navigate as it is elegantly designed. Options (from frame colour to shape and from brand to gender) are all selected by a simple box ticking system, and there is now a strangely addictive “Find your Style” option, which takes customers through their needs and preferences step-by-step and leaves them with (in theory at least) their perfect pair of glasses, ready to be purchased in just a few clicks.

There is nothing like trying on a pair of glasses” Gavin Edwards – SomeOne/Else

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On the design side, filmmaker Simon Warren was commissioned to create a series of animated GIF files that are “Visually calm,” but also “Visibly alive.” Whilst this might read as irritatingly cryptic, one glance at the site and you'll find it difficult to argue with that description. Warren said “Just as the brand is mixing up the best of retail and home service,” they have “Fused the worlds of film, stills and animation,” by taking still images and inserting a subtle animated effect. This includes a still image of a man with animated eyes and a still image of a woman with animated hair. It's at once both intriguing and a little creepy (in a good way).

Filmmaker Simon Warren was commissioned to create a series of animated GIF files

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SomeOne co-founder David law, adds that they wanted to “Inspire the shopper to make choices they may not consider in traditional optician environments,” and believes their effective rebranding is “Stamping on the old glasses of the establishment and replacing them with a far more elegant solution.” Lead project designer Thomas Dabner, meanwhile, says that the idea behind keeping it simple, and not bombarding customers with logos and flashy images, was that different design cues tend to “Gently remind people where they are,” in this case, in an opticians, only from the comfort of their own homes.

The identity has not only been applied digitally, but will also cover “Customer touch-points”

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The identity has not only been applied digitally, but will also cover “Customer touch-points “such as the Home Trial service, which lets customers select four frames to try at home for free, as many times as they want. This is where the site hopes to differentiate itself from other online optician services, as it provides users with the chance to live with their new glasses and get opinions from friends and family members before making a commitment. The foundations of the new Glasses Direct site are live as we speak, but the fully responsive version (with all the trimmings) will be debuting early next year.

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