Assembling a Central System to Bridge Products
Framing the Problem
Last spring, the team decided to start building Creative Market Pro — a curated design asset subscription built to help creative professionals and teams do great design work fast.
This decision meant that we could potentially have customers accessing two products using the same account. So, we had to create a centralized place that made it easy for users to find and use tools for one or both products. This didn’t come as a surprise to us. Most companies build platforms to integrate and support multiple products. Now it was our turn.
One of our product teams started scoping and building Central System in August 2017 on a parallel track to the team that was building Creative Market Pro. However, before the work began, they evaluated two major dynamics: (a) what user interface would Central System use, and (b) what features should be included.
Using Visuals to Bridge Two Products
Our first question: what would Central System look like? Stylistically, Central System leans closer to Creative Market Pro than Creative Market. It uses white for the page background and our cool grey color system for type and UI elements.
This was intentional. It gave these functional tools a modern, intuitive feeling and bridged both products closer together from a UX perspective. Here’s a light overview of the visual nuances of our three products:
Shifting Features into Central System
Next we had to answer our second big question — what features should we move into Central System? We came up with the following initial list. Many of the account and cross-product tools focus on shop owners who are Pro-enabled.
- Brand Resources
- Pro (Opt-In, Earnings)
- Payouts & Taxes
- Global Footer
- Global Nav
- Single Product Editor
- Bulk Product Uploader
- Help Center*
* = more work required
Show & Tell
Ok, now let’s look at some pixels. Here’s what some of the freshly designed core features that we pulled into Central System look like. For each feature listed below, I added a little bit about functionality, style, and user experience for context.
Account / Settings / Email Notifications
We added the Central System styles to the entire account area. In addition, we rebuilt the display and functionality of email notifications so that customers of both products can control notifications per each product using opt-in and opt-out toggles.
Shop Profile / Product Editor
For our shops (e.g. users who create assets for sale), we rolled the product editor experience into Central System styles.
Shops that only sell on Creative Market received new visual updates. Shops that sell on both Creative Market and Creative Market Pro got additional functionality such as:
- a way to tab between two versions of their asset between each product
- the option to sync the details between both product listings
- a fast way to opt the product into or out of Creative Market Pro
- a simple approach to setting each product as draft or live (if all details are filled in)
- the ability to save global changes at any stage of editing for both listings
Account / Pro / Opt-In
Months before launch, we built a dedicated tool to help Pro-enabled shops decide which products to opt into Creative Market Pro. They could choose between the following options: all of their products, products by category, or pick individual products from their catalog.
We rebuilt the Creative Market footer so that it could be product-specific. Now, each footer reflects the product’s neutral color system (cool grays vs. warm grays) and serves up company-level details and product-specific links depending on the context.
Company Section / Careers
We rebuilt our Careers page with strong brand elements that bridge both products. Visuals such as gradients, color bars, spot illustrations, and Lyons don’t show up in the Central System product features displayed earlier in this article, but still technically live in Central System. They help us bridge the brand-side of Creative Market and Creative Market Pro in the company section.
Because Central System is at the heart of our company and in the middle of our products, we expect things to change as we continue to evolve our products and brand.
The projects listed above were no easy effort or done by a single individual. Special thanks to the many folks across the team who supported this work that helped us launch Creative Market Pro: Josh Johnson, Kelley Johnson, Bronwyn Gruet, Daniella Valerio, Laura Busche, Gaby Izarra, Adam Vera, Josh Carroll, Kyle Arch, Chris Madrigal, Steven Rathbauer, Emily Winslow, Priya Kothari, Matt Borchert, among others.
Does this resonate with you? If so, we’d love to know how your team builds, brands, and bridges multiple products targeting different customer groups together.
We’re always looking for amazing people to join the Creative Market team. We value our culture as much as we value our mission, so if helping creators turn passion into opportunity sounds like something you’d love to do with a group of folks who feel the same way, then check out our job openings and apply today!