Back in February we had a great discussion on credit card designs. I shared your thoughts with our design team and asked how we can integrate the community into the design process for a new Barclaycard Ring plastic. I also kept in mind that many of you like the current design and want to keep it the way it is; more on that later. In this blog I am going to walk through a process that shows how we can design the next Barclaycard Ring plastic together. I am really excited about this. I can’t think of another time when cardmembers had an opportunity to be part of the card design process. So, onto new ground...
Before I begin, how about some ground rules. As I mentioned in the earlier blog, we are beholden to our brand guidelines so, any options or features that we discuss must live within that framework. Also, there are costs associated with many of these decisions. I am not going to lay them out in this blog, but as we go through the process it will be clear what the cost of various options are. As you can imagine, a design that looks fantastic, is pretty much always more expensive. So we’ll need to keep that in mind as we go through the process. But that’s pretty much it. Cost control and brand guidelines are the ground rules we need to live by.
Here’s how we see this working:
Step 1 - Colors: There are 6 colors we will be able to choose from: White, Cyan, Black, Grey, Purple and Dark Purple. We’ll put a vote out in the community and we’ll pick the top 2 choices.
Step 2 – The Supergraphic: Barclaycard uses an image called a “supergraphic” on all of its credit card plastics. We will need to pick a section of the supergraphic for our designers to use as a background. So, we will select a number of swaths from the primary graphic and have you vote on them. After that vote, the design team will generate a series of potential designs.
Step 3 – Putting it together: We’ll come back to you with our two colors and potential ways to use the selected swath. From here we’ll vote for the final plastic.
Step 4 – Other cool features: This is where I’m supposed to say “But wait, there’s more!” There are a few other features we need to talk about that you will need to vote on. Let’s walk through them.
The RFID chip – Is it worth the $1 per card? It seems to me like the community is pretty split over this one. Will mobile payments surpass RFID chip technology and make it obsolete, or will more merchants start accepting RFID making it a nice feature?
Translucent Cards – The community seemed very interested in a translucent plastic. It’s going to be hard to help fully visualize, online, how the plastic would really look. But we will try. A translucent plastic might also look strange with an RFID chip as the skeleton of the chip will be seen. Or maybe we’ll like that look.
Color core – We didn’t talk about this in the last blog but I like this option. This colors the core of the plastic so that the side of the plastic has a specific color. Some of the plastics in your wallet might have this feature.
EMV – The EMV is something that is being discussed broadly within the organization. Whether or not Barclaycard Ring has an EMV chip on the next card will likely be determined by other forces. There seemed to be strong interest in an EMV chip and I passed that feedback along. I’m reticent to vote on this option just because we may not be able to implement the result, but we may vote on this just to get a real sense of interest.
Silk Lamentation – This will also be hard to translate visually to the community, but many good looking plastics have a silky sheen to them (my term J) that provide an interesting effect.
Inks - Believe it or not, which inks we use can have an effect on how the card looks and how long the color stays bold on the plastic. We’ll do our best to come up with options for you with inks as well.
My goal is that once we have designed the final plastic we will keep two in production. New Barclaycard Ring cardmembers will have the opportunity to select the “classic” orange plastic or the new one designed by all of you.
I guess you can tell by the steps I’ve outlined that this is going to take some time. But it is going to be a fun, groundbreaking (because that’s what we do process. I’m glad we can all be a part of it and am looking forward to kicking this off! Keep on the lookout for our monthly product blog for more information and voting.