NetBramha Studios: An incredible design journey of 13 years and counting…
NetBramha Studios: 2008, where it all began
2008-2012 Phase 1: Survive
The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.
Lehmann Brothers. American mortgage crisis. Global recession.
July 2008, when the world was witnessing peak economic turbulence, NetBramha Studios, a fresh new kid on the block (technically, Jayanagar 4th block) was just opening its eyes to a world full of possibilities. A year that was marked by a monstrous loss of no less than $2 trillion globally, was also the year when Team NB officially embarked on a design journey like none other.
Born during an odd juxtaposition of chaos and hope, NetBramha Studios has always been a torchbearer of valuing depth of craft and passion for design above all else, an element that has time and again helped us not just survive but thrive in uncertain times.
Our story begins on July 19th, 2008.
With our humble beginnings in a co-shared office space replete with overcrowded workstations and inspirational posters all over the walls, we started off as a young and zealous team hopped up on the crazy idea that with our superpower of design, we can change the world.
And we did.
During the 1st phase (2008-2012) of our unstoppable journey, a crucial time for any budding entrepreneurial venture (only a meager 10% of startups survive the 1st 5 years), we were able to accomplish many happy “firsts”. Starting from the very basics of our first design hire and our first product design (www.LetsOlla.com), we were also able to bag our very first Fortune 500 client. Not to mention, our first overseas trip for UX design, always a cherry on top of the cake.
From doing design to thinking design
2012-2016 Phase 2: Sustain
Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision & change
Despite the crumbling global economy and our relative naivety as a design studio, we emerged stronger and successful from our survival phase onto our next exciting phase, where we went on to add more feathers in our cap.
With our very own custom furnished office space, a bigger team, and important lessons learned from our elementary years, we started off phase 2 with some major wins, not just for us or our clients, but also for the entire design community.
DesignDay, a curated platform by and for the designers, was created in 2012 by NetBramha – to inspire and connect designers across the country, empowering them to realize their true potential through diverse meetups, talks, seminars, and workshops.
In its 5 years of existence, this platform ran across 3 major Indian cities (Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi), touching the lives of thousands of designers.
Its main aim, much akin to NetBramha Studios’, was to bolster the idea of design as a rewarding career within the Indian ecosystem, revamping the entire perception of design jobs. Through this venture we wanted the entire country to realize that design inadvertently doesn’t always mean fashion or interior. And that the value of digital design and transformation lies way beyond designing a few apps and websites.
Our sustain phase, which lasted close to 4 years, from 2012-2016, is where we added new dimensions to our services – design thinking & research. Though not an exclusive property of designers, design thinking is an element crucial to all great innovators – be it in business or technology, thus making it a mandate for designers since we all work at the intersection of these two fundamental elements that define our progress.
From a design studio perspective, this meant the beginning of a new era where instead of just being pixel pushers, we as designers dived deeper into the psyche of users, empathizing with them, understanding their pain points, and then crafting digital solutions that alleviate them.
This meant a deliberate and strategic inclusion of rugged user research methods(beyond the usual surveys), ongoing experimentation with different ideas, rapid prototyping techniques, and adoption of agile working practices that drastically improved our outputs, both in terms of quality and quantity.
Design thinking has been and will eternally remain the most focal and significant part of our processes. From hiring to designing workflows to even organizing fun events at the studio, we apply design thinking across all spheres of our professional (& personal) lives.
The biggest advantage of ingraining design thinking in our studio’s DNA is that it has enabled us to unearth a plethora of real-life user problems across varied geographies, ages, genders, and industries. And powered by these unique insights, we were (and continue to) craft digital experiences and solutions that help us tackle unknown (or poorly defined) problems in more human-centric ways that add value to people’s lives.
Design with a purpose: What is our Ikigai?
2012-2020 Phase 3: Growth
Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.
For a very long time, the world thought the job of a designer was to make things beautiful. Then came the age where the utility of a design became equally important. Today, we stand at the cusp where the role of a designer is undergoing a major metamorphosis.
From just being someone who designs logos and websites, a designer today shoulders the responsibility of creating meaningful experiences that solve critical problems faced by users while also targeting systemic issues such as sustainability or inclusivity. This new-age designer instead of just being motivated by money or elite projects, is now inspired more by the true purpose of design.
NetBramha Studios has always served as a platform for purpose-driven designers where the synergy of a strong motive, time-tested design best practices, and state-of-the-art technology creates digital products that elevate not just the business and the life of end-users, but also of the community and society as a whole.
Our evolution from an amateur design venture in 2008-2012 to a fast-growing design studio was marked by many more fundamental changes within the organization.
The growth period from 2016 to 2020 was replete with far-reaching improvements
– Strategic UX partnerships with Hypercollective and McKinsey
– Specialized hires across HR, business, & project management
– Whopping increase in team size (up by 200%)
– Media mentions, awards, industry recognitions
From swanky new office space to new Macbooks for all team members to new software stack (Sketch, Adobe, Basecamp, Tally, & more), and not to mention a fresh new branding, NetBramha Studios was now officially unstoppable. During this period, we also became a part of the Board of Studies for Design Masters in India for STRUT, France.
Most important of all, we were exploring newer horizons of technology with AR/VR, IoT, & omnichannel product designs, crafting never-seen-before digital experiences and products for a wide range of clientele – from startups to enterprises, from indigenous to international brands.
But what makes NetBramha Studios different from the rest?
The answer lies in our ikigai, aka, “a reason to live” or “a reason to jump out of the bed in the morning”.
For the NetBramha Tribe, the ikigai is a purpose-driven design.
Purpose-driven design is the unique combination of conscious capitalism and human-centered designs to serve not just profits & revenues, but the people & the community, in a way that tends to alleviate user pain in an ethical, transparent, and responsible way.
Staying true to the purpose of design: The NetBramha Way
Stay true to yourself. People respond to authenticity
No morning alarm is as effective as a clear vision and purpose.
For every designer at NetBramha, right from the CEO to the newbie intern, the purpose is very clear.
Wake up. Disrupt with Design. Repeat.
The one common thread that runs along our 50+ strong team spread across the entire country is the passion to help people, add value to their lives, remove roadblocks, and empower them to achieve their goals through design.
How do we do it?
Let’s take a look.
Take for example the plight of Indian farmers.
Before Design: Trapped between archaic farming practices & fluctuating seasonal patterns, an average Indian farmer was incapable of leveraging design & tech to make crop production easy & reliable.
After Design: Through our highly personalized, vernacular & gamified end-to-end farmer support app, the 118 million Indian farmers have a digital ally for their specific needs.
Or let us pick up the issue of quality maternal and neonatal care in the country.
Before Design: Millions of Indian women have to face the dredge of scattered information, poor access to quality maternal care, and with the Covid crisis, increased risks and chaos around the entire journey of pregnancy & childbirth.
After Design: A highly intuitive digital platform that handholds parents throughout the beautiful journey of childbirth and care, through easy access to critical healthcare services & information, alleviating the stress & anxiety associated with childbirth.
Or even a major issue which 140 million+ income taxpayers in India face
Before Design: Filing tax returns in a country like India, which has one of the most complicated tax systems in the world, Indian taxpayers often lose out on opportunities of considerable tax savings and have to depend on 3rd party experts.
After Design: A highly simplified & seamless ITR platform that drastically reduced the time for the entire process to just a few minutes, catering to every possible taxpaying persona in India & enabling higher tax savings.
These are just a few stories of how Team NetBramha’s purpose-driven efforts have impacted not just millions, but over a billion happy users worldwide across 20+ domains, 30+ countries, more than 200 businesses.
Our top design projects at a glance
Successful people are not gifted, they just work hard then succeed on purpose
We would have loved to include every design project we have worked on in this list because each holds a special place in our hearts. However, keeping in mind the relative impact that these brands have had on the users, we have picked a few of our top projects, each one of these enabling us to unlock a different dimension of digital design & transformation.
Emaar: Holistics property management app for the real estate behemoth managing properties worth over $1 billion, providing an end-to-end product design with imbibing the offline and online processes such as purchasing, payments, move-in, & more.
Google: YouTube Brandcast through an AR coaching experience which showcased the user playing shots depicted on a video, with the entire design & coding done under a swift 2 weeks.
Microsoft: UX Strategy & Interface for start-ups at Microsoft Accelerator, giving wings to startups, 12 at a time.
Infosys: Storytelling a report using illustrations & animations driven by code, transforming the way report survey on digital disruption is reached out to the CXO & CEOs across the globe, to encourage choosing Infosys as partners.
ACT: Transformed the entire service delivery experience across various verticals delivering a superior customer experience through an enhanced experience for workflow with high usability.
Jigsaw: Unified digital learning experience for different users increasing the cross-sell, up-sell and engagement opportunities with a structured homepage design rendering higher lead generation & conversions.
Health & Glow: Refreshing new website and app with seamless omnichannel experience design integrating H&G’s 7 physical & digital touchpoints including the mobile, desktop website, physical stores, & kiosks, resulting in a unified shopping experience.
NetBramha Studios: Facing the Covid crisis together
2020-2021 Phase 4: Scaling up with remote collaboration
Unity is strength, when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved
Having worked with a multitude of amazing clients, both Indian and international, and tons of challenging yet successful projects under our wing, the beginning of the year 2020 sure looked bright and promising. However, the sudden and massive onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic once again left us dangling on thin strings of uncertainty right from a severe paucity of projects to all our team members locked down and restricted to their homes to zero clues about what the future held for all of us.
An immensely stressful and trying period for all, the Covid crisis, unfolded a series of never-seen-before challenges before us, demanding a swift adaptation to the “new normal”. This marked a time of great transformation for us as a design studio, as members of the design community, and as human beings.
Seamless remote collaboration through various channels such as Skype & Slack became the prime ingredient of our work life. Despite a few hiccups in the initial period, the entire team at NetBramha quickly adapted to this new format, which we later realized opened a multitude of possibilities.
The same courage, dynamism, and our trademark “never-say-die” attitude that helped us create our own unique dent in the digital disruption landscape since our humble beginnings in 2008 empowered us yet again to face every challenge, every uncertainty with great gusto.
Now that we became a well-oiled remote collaborating design machine with team members spread across different states and cities in India, for the first time in the history of NB we have opened doors to remote hiring, not just across India, but across the globe.
It didn’t really matter where you are.
NetBramha Studios is no longer one studio with one location in one city.
It is in fact in as many places as its team members are – Bengaluru, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bhopal, Hyderabad, Kochi, and even Dubai – we are now 100% remote and 100% ready to face whatever challenges the world has to throw on us.
In addition to improved communication, unbreakable team spirit, and personal leadership, the biggest lesson the Covid crisis revealed not just to us but to the entire world was the power of digital transformation. How digital design holds the power to face any unforeseen challenge head-on, further validating our cause of digital disruption for tectonic improvements for mankind.
NetBramha is a teenager now. What does it mean to us?
No rebellious heart is ever at ease with a path established by others.
Teenage marks a time of life-changing transformation in an individual’s life. It officially unlocks the door to adulthood where through a series of adventures and exploration we imbibe the qualities of maturity. And this is very much in sync with how NetBramha Studios is establishing itself on a path of hypergrowth through a team of 50+ passionate designers spread across the map, going all-in with our collective energy and a shared passion for design.
Just as a teenager loves challenging the status quo and traditions, we too are staunch advocates of transforming conventional legacy models into faster and more efficient systems through design. Our love for fast-paced, agile, and flexible ecosystems is much akin to a teenager’s love for everything fast and dynamic.
We never shy away from bringing in new, radical, and courageous ideas to our designs, even if it sometimes means going against what is traditionally asked of us. We love a healthy debate, be it for taking a stand for our designs, our ethos, or our design principles, with the passion of a teenage rebellion.
And most importantly, we pride ourselves on being sensitive & empathetic to the needs of our clients and the end-users.
The road ahead for NetBramha Studios
The best way to predict the future is to create it
The journey that we have embarked on is going to be a long one if we aim to bring meaningful changes from the grassroots in society. For all of us at NetBramha, design is our caffeine. This is what helps us wake up in the morning and charge through the day. What guides us through the ups and downs is the ability to foresee and predict the future.
The impact and the change that we want to bring in the future is to facilitate exciting new breakthroughs in product and service design that have a large-scale ripple effect on the world.
We aim to build a future where parents in India encourage and push their children to take on the job of a designer with the same enthusiasm as they have for the professions of medicine and engineering in the current day and age.
We look forward to a time where design thinking is embraced by the society at large, taught in educational institutions far and wide, and where deep-seated empathy becomes a core and significant element of people’s personal and professional lives.
Finally, we envision a future where ideas of sustainability, community growth, inclusivity, and ethics dominate design and technology instead of profit, growth, expansion, & revenue.
We envision a world where an individual or group of individuals who are crazy enough to believe that they can change or impact the world, just like we did 13 years ago, is empowered, motivated, and resourceful enough to work on their dream.
Because those are the ones who write history.