Responses by Christian Himmelspach, founder and creative director; Leonie Onas, art director; Josh Unger, head of development; and Jessica Wegelin, senior experience designer, Smith Berlin.
Background: Emma Apfel is a newly opened daycare center in the heart of Berlin. Its pedagogical approach based on Montessori gives children plenty of room for their personal development. This also reflects in the interior design of the facility: spacious, light-flooded rooms, modern furniture and access to a park right outside the door—all perfect for kids to roam and play. In addition to the 400 sq. m. (about 4,000 sq. ft.) indoor space, Emma Apfel also includes a large school garden with apple trees and raised beds through which kids can connect with nature.
We developed the brand, corporate design, website and business cards for Emma Apfel. Our goal was to create a clear yet playful design that inspires in every single detail.
Design core: We wanted to create the webpage as a “digital business card,” combining easy-to-grasp content with a vivid design. The airy layout reflects the daycare center’s pedagogical approach that focuses on individual learning, self-determination and personal development—instead of a rigid curriculum. Furthermore, it references the spacious architecture and interior design of the facility.
Challenges: We paid special attention to the transitions and made sure they worked both ways—scrolling down and up—to create a constant flow. We also added animated typography to give the page a playful and surprising twist. The detailed animations were our biggest challenge. The fact that the entire page is linked to a CMS makes it even more complex because the contents can change at any time.
Navigation structure: Since the website is essentially a one-pager, the navigation is very simple and guides users through the page.
Technology: For this website, we used our own CMS System Cat, which is specifically geared towards comfortable editing and speedy page loading times. We adjust our CMS for every project to perfectly fit the client’s needs.