Unacademy is India’s foremost online test preparation and live learning platform.
Launched in 2015, the platform empowers educators by making it easy for them to create high-quality educational lessons on the Unacademy Educator App, which learners access via the Unacademy Learning App. Following this, in 2019, Unacademy launched Unacademy Plus, the flagship subscription product.
There are more than 60M competitive exam takers every year who prepare both online and offline, fighting for their chance to access better socioeconomic opportunities and livelihoods by proving their academic advantage in regional and national exams. These individuals are largely self-motivated, between the ages of 16–33 years, spanning across towns and cities of India with different incomes and backgrounds, but willing to make every sacrifice required to put their best foot forward and clear the exam, an important milestone in their life.
Our challenge was to disrupt the mental models that—
- Online learning is not sufficiently effective and cannot substitute the current standards of in-person learning at coaching centres;
- The conveniences and cost-effectiveness associated with online learning signal an inferior learning outcome— due to cognitive dissonance that investing inordinate amounts of money and effort will proportionately increase chances of success.
- The Unacademy Plus Subscription has over 700,000 paid active subscribers, learning live, from the convenience of their mobile phones, from all corners of India and all walks of life.
- The Plus Subscription is available for more than 60 exam categories, and growing.
- ~14,000 top educators teach live through the Unacademy Educator app from across the country.
The Unacademy Creative Team
During my time at Unacademy, I led the Creative team— a centralised design team that supported all teams (including brand, marketing, product and business) to strengthen their efforts with design-led solutions. Our approach was in many ways, similar to that of an internal design agency. We closely collaborated with stakeholders of relevant teams to understand the problem statement(s), research and build a brief, define key objectives, ideate, prototype and test solutions, and finally, execute and measure success.
Some of the key projects my team and I worked on include—
The Unacademy Brand
Before the launch of Unacademy’s first brand book in October 2018, there was an abstract sense of the brand, its look and feel; but it lacked consistency and quality. The advent of the brand book established these guidelines to ensure consistency, clarity and effectiveness in the way that the Unacademy brand is communicated. The aim was to create a unified brand identity that generated a high top-of-mind recall among users.
Working closely with the Head of Marketing, we interviewed key stakeholders, studied the brand story and past iterations of the brand to finally write and design the brand book.
We designed an illustration style and system in-house, from scratch. Inspired by the visual identity, which is made out of semi-circles, the illustration style is also geometric. Keeping this constraint in mind, we created a system that allowed for diverse characters, educational elements and unique scenes. The simplicity of the style aided its adoption and extension across product, marketing, brand and beyond. Another challenge was to find the right typeface that had sufficient brand recall while also being consistent across diverse Indian scripts. After months of researching, testing and evaluating, we narrowed in on Oli Grotesk (pre-release at the time), designed by Indian designers for India and the world, and perfect for Unacademy.
Unacademy’s Leadership Principles
One of the brand initiatives was to visualise Unacademy’s leadership principles conceived and written by founder and CEO, Gaurav Munjal as evocative graphical posters. These posters are strategically placed along the entryway of the office, guiding visitors and employees along the mindset and principles of the company.
As a series of nine posters, I wanted each of them to tell their own story and be thought-provoking while being visually cohesive with the Unacademy brand.