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After a hotly contested pitch involving many of the world’s best UX & design agencies, Aer Studios is excited to announce its appointment to the BBC Digital Design Roster. The only agency in the South West region to be appointed, the engagement spans four years. Aer Studios will work in close collaboration with the BBC UX&D team across its entire digital estate, with a focus on young audiences and learning. Aer Studios will be joined by six other industry leading agencies and consultancies, including Moving Brands, Next15 and Epam Continuum.

Aer Studios has previously worked with the BBC, but this represents a significant expansion of its remit. The company also partnered with South West agency, Wreel, to ensure it could offer end to end creative, design and tech services. Wreel will be supporting Aer Studios with creative and brand design capabilities.

Says Tom Harber, MD at Aer Studios “We’re proud to have been working with the BBC for over 12 years now across a range of creative and technology engagements, designing and developing games, apps and digital experiences. Our appointment to the Digital Design Roster marks a significant step change in our partnership allowing us to considerably broaden our strategic and creative contribution. And with a glimpse at the scope or work and the ambitions of the UX & Design team, we couldn’t be more excited to get going. It has also been great to have been able to engage Wreel and together showcase the creative & tech firepower in the South West."

At Aer Studios we are passionate about having a more inclusive workplace, which includes women and mothers, who have often been under-represented in the tech industry. We have been working to address this through several avenues.

Our most recent is joining the Motherboard Charter. An organisation that seeks to champion the advancements of women’s careers in tech, increase the percentage of mothers and women holding leadership positions, close the gender pay gap and improve maternity & paternity policies. We’re very proud to be a part of this and look forward to working with them to continue to support our team. 

Find out more by visiting the motherboard website here.

We are incredibly proud and excited to announce that aer studios is now a Certified B Corp! And what a month to become certified #bcorpmonth

This is an important and significant milestone for our business. We have always held ourselves to very high standards when it comes to environmental and social governance, which is guided by our mission; To create meaningful digital experiences that have a positive impact on people and planet.

We believe strongly that business can be a force for good and should benefit not just shareholders but ALL stakeholders. One of our values is to ‘be considerate’; to our people, our community and our planet and we have actively been seeking ways to hold ourselves to account. After extensive research and consideration, the B Corp movement felt like the most aligned to our goals and values. 


Whilst a milestone indeed, we see this as just the beginning. Sure, certification is recognition of where we are right now. And it is the hard work of our brilliant team that has meant we can confidently claim we are collectively a force for good. But we want to use our B Corp status as a platform for a future roadmap, filled with creativity, ingenuity and our own unique contribution to sustainability. So what does that roadmap look like right now; 


🌿 A sharp focus on sustainable tech including practices and the digital products and platforms we create for our clients 


👨💻 The development of open source software, products or services that can make a meaningful difference environmentally and/or socially


✊ More work in the community, acting as a bastion for sustainability in the South West and positively influencing the creative and tech industries


❤️ Ensuring we continue to invest our profits back into our people with meaningful initiatives that impact wellbeing - starting with our Caer Charter (more on this soon!)


There are over 5.6m registered businesses in the UK. Only 1,900 of those businesses have achieved B Corp status. So we felt this warranted celebration🥂  But now the hard work starts. In 3 years time, we will be reassessed. By which time, we want to be able to prove that B Corp is for us far more than a badge of honour and we can demonstrably evidence environmental and social impact beyond where we are today. 

We’ve done it again! For the second year running we’ve been certified as a Great Place to Work!

According to Great Place To Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great boss at a Certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work, and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits and have a fair chance at promotion.

There's a lot of buzz about how generative AI is streamlining processes and saving time in the creative tech industry. However, the aspect I find most intriguing is considering how creatives will utilise all this extra time afforded by these advancements.

My prediction is that AI will assist with repetitive design and development tasks freeing up UX&D designers to spend more time on design thinking, user research, and art direction. This could lead to a renaissance in design craft, marked by the creation of a truly original, unique, and innovative UCD driven process that's sprinkled with moments of delight.

AI could be our ‘in-betweener’

In Disney's early hand-drawn animation era, keyframe artists crafted essential frames outlining a scene's major actions and poses, setting a blueprint for the animated sequence. These artists focused on pivotal moments of movement and expression. Assistant animators, known as "in-betweeners," filled” in frames between the keyframes, smoothing out the animation. This collaboration was vital in animating characters on screen. Fast forward to today's digital product design landscape, imagine a world where  AI assumes the role of the 'in-betweener' - an assistant who takes the initial designs from UI designers (the Keyframe artists) and fills in the gaps plotting out all responsive layouts or design formats. The same could be seen for developers coding these digital experiences, They build the core skeleton of a page and auto-pilot could fill in the gaps. This taking on the more repetitive tasks could free designers and developers to spend more time crafting original and creative digital products.


Creativity lost to the MVP

During the early stages of design, teams frequently envision creative concepts, such as intricate micro-interactions, unique design embellishments, or innovative features that can make a product stand out and captivate users. However, these elements are often sacrificed in the pursuit of creating a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). In the realm of digital product development, particularly under tight budget constraints, many of these design elements are viewed as luxuries rather than necessities. They are often set aside during the MVP phase, with the intention of incorporating them in later iterations. Unfortunately, more often than not, these creative details are overlooked and never integrated into the final product, which is truly unfortunate. Fast-paced market demands, competitive pressures, and the need for rapid product iterations often prioritise speedy development over true creativity. Will AI help the balance between user experience vs time and budget? The first thing to get cut in a project is user experience. Could AI help get us to MVP quicker giving us time and budget to push beyond MVP and implement some of these more original and creative elements?


Why do all websites seem to look the same?

Modern web technologies offer vast design possibilities, enabling us to realise virtually any concept or layout we can imagine. We now have the tools to craft websites that are bold, unexpected, and deeply engaging. This includes blending cutting-edge typography with generative visuals and interactive elements to create truly captivating online experiences. And yet, Is it me, or does it sometimes feel like all websites look the same with similar layouts and components with interchangeable pages, and an absence of expressive visual language? Where is the originality and design craft, It’s almost like you could switch out a brand logo and not notice the difference. 

Now a lot of this is for very important reasons, such as following usability standards and conforming to UX best practices and user expectations. Maybe it’s because we have reached maturity, where we have established all the best conventions for how things should be. But I also think that the emergence of responsive design and the impact that it had on project timelines, budgets, and how we design digital products has something to do with it. 

For starters, the design process became more complex and time-consuming as UI designers needed to design flexible components to cater to a wide range of devices with different screen sizes and resolutions including the time-consuming task of mocking up designs at key breakpoints such as mobile, tablet, and desktop. Developers had to write more complex code to ensure that websites were fluid and adaptable to various devices. QA testing increased with extensive testing across different browsers and devices to ensure compatibility. 

In order to save time and make it easier to adapt and respond to different screen widths, UI design has evolved and become more simplified in layout and components. We create design systems and design modular components but in this quest for flexibility, have we sacrificed a little creativity. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I wonder if it’s why everything kind of looks the same. Many of the design tools we use today such as Figma have features like auto layout that are helping speed things up, but could AI help give us back time on design and build allowing us to break this Homogeneity in design?


The future

At Aer Studios, we have fully embraced the AI revolution, integrating these tools into our everyday creative and technical workflows. We utilize ChatGPT for brainstorming and analyzing UX research findings, employ Mid-journey and Adobe Firefly for crafting visual assets for concepts and designs, and use GitHub’s Copilot for AI-assisted programming. These tools are enhancing our efficiency, but what truly excites me is the potential of the next wave of AI tools and the ways they will empower us to spend more time on design craft.

I envision a future where you can design a mobile layout for a website and then let AI handle the creation of desktop and tablet versions, allowing you to make tweaks and refinements. Imagine setting up the basic structure of a design system — outlining some foundational components, themes, buttons, colors, fonts, grids, and spacing — and then having AI expand and complete it. Or consider designing a homepage component and, with a single click, AI presents a variety of alternative compositions that haven't yet crossed your mind. I’ve already seen that there are integrations between Figma and Webflow (a design tool that allows users to create responsive websites visually, without needing to write code), but what if in the future designers could design components in Figma and AI could transform them into production-ready robust code, so that front-end developers could concentrate less on mark-up and more on other exciting things?

These use cases could free up time allowing designers and developers to spend that time on crafting truly original and engaging user-centered designs, features, and experiences.

Will we as an industry leverage this opportunity for the good of design, or will we squander it, seduced by the cost savings AI offers, and hastily progress to the next project?


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If you’re looking to create a meaningful digital experience and you think we can help, we’d love to chat.

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