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Aeon Studio: using Sketch to delight clients through design

Meet Aeon Studio, an award-winning design studio in Croatia. Discover what their creative process looks like, and how Sketch helps them achieve high quality in every project.

Profile photo of Ale Cubero

We sat down with the team at Aeon Studio, a Croatian design studio, to find out the ins and outs of a design agency, the challenges in their design process, and how to manage client expectations. They talk us through how they use Sketch to deliver high-quality designs to their clients and how it supports them throughout their creative process, from start to finish.

Can you tell us a little about Aeon Studio?

We’re a team of five people working together for over five years but collaborate with over 20 talented professionals worldwide. Our CEO, Dejan Ilić, began his career at 19 and within a year, he crafted an award-winning design for one of Croatia’s largest bus companies. We’ve deliberately kept our in-house team small, maintaining modest offices and investing in top-notch creative talent — this choice ensures that we can deliver high-quality work to our clients.

What do you think makes clients choose Aeon Studio over other design studios?

Most of our clients come to Aeon Studio through recommendations from people who have already worked with us. When we work with clients, they become our world, our everything. There’s no nonsense, just hard work and results. We engage in meaningful conversations, ask questions and try to understand their needs thoroughly, so we can do our job as well as we can.

Some clients have a very clear idea of what design, product or change in their business they want to see. However, our best results come from challenging projects that allow us to work hand in hand with a client that’s usually lost or unsure. Witnessing their transformation and seeing how our work brings smiles to their faces is the most rewarding achievement for us.

What does your design process look like?

Our design process revolves around the needs of each project and relies on the team’s diverse expertise to brainstorm, conceptualize, and create refined designs. When approaching a new project, we first conduct in-depth research and focus on understanding the core values and aspirations of our clients, their brand identity, target audience, and market positioning. This groundwork is the foundation of our creative strategy.

What does great design mean to you?

In our view, great design is a combination of aesthetics, functionality, and emotional resonance. It’s not just about creating visually appealing artwork but also about solving problems, enhancing user experiences, and creating emotional connections. Of course, we also believe that whatever we’re designing, especially if we’re talking interfaces, should be intuitive and user-friendly, and deliver an enjoyable experience.

An image showing an illustration, created by Aeon Studio

The International Design Awards recently awarded gold in the Print/Packaging category to Aeon’s Premium Truffles design.

What are some of the most frequent challenges you encounter throughout the design process and how do you overcome them?

One common challenge is finding a balance between creativity and practicality. Clients often come to us with ambitious creative visions but these don’t work when put into practice or don’t respond to market demands. We solve this with lots of collaborative sessions with them where we try to find the balance between creativity and feasibility in the solutions that we come up with.

Managing client expectations and feedback can also be tricky. To navigate this, we set realistic expectations from the outset, outlining project timelines, deliverables, and potential revisions. We schedule regular client check-ins and feedback sessions to resolve problems as soon as possible and make adjustments.

Staying up-to-date with design trends and technologies is another big challenge for us — things are happening fast. That’s why we set some time aside to participate in conferences and engage in forums within the industry.

How does Sketch help you bring these projects to life and achieve such quality in them?

Sketch has been key to the quality of our projects from start to finish, helping us make our creative visions tangible and real. Because Sketch is so versatile, we’ve been able to work on a wide range of projects, from intricate branding concepts to app interfaces.

We integrate Sketch right from the beginning. As soon as we conceptualize a project, we jump into Sketch to draft out our ideas, create wireframes, and develop the initial design concepts. Sketch gives us tools that help us explore and iterate quickly, as well as others to help us craft intricate designs to ensure every element is pixel-perfect (we love vector editing 💖). Whether we’re refining logos, creating detailed illustrations, or designing user interfaces, Sketch gives us everything we need to achieve a level of quality that truly stands out.

An image showing a label design, created by Aeon Studio

You mentioned you’ve been encouraged to use other tools like Figma but what keeps you coming back to Sketch?

Yes, we’ve explored other design tools in the market, including Figma. However, there are a few things about Sketch that keep us coming back. To start with, its user interface and workflow are incredibly intuitive and user-friendly. We love how its simple UI helps us focus on the creative aspects of our projects rather than getting bogged down by complex menus and features.

We’re also big fans of working offline — uninterrupted productivity is something we truly value. While cloud-based collaboration is great, having the option to work seamlessly without an Internet connection gives us the flexibility to work from anywhere. Being able to do this in Sketch fits right with the way we work.

Last but not least, having worked with Sketch for so many years, we’ve developed a deep understanding of the tool and learnt how to take it to its full potential to make us more efficient and precise in our daily work. At this point, Sketch is not just a design software for us, it’s a creative partner that helps us bring our visions to life.

Sketch is not just a design software for us, it’s a creative partner that helps us bring our visions to life.

Could you run us through one of your favorite projects so far?

That’s a hard question — they’re all special. But here’s one that stands out.

A small family-owned winery and distillery asked us to design their labels. The labels began as detailed hand-drawn illustrations that captured the essence of the family’s heritage and the unique character of their wines and liquors. We then refined them in Sketch, which helped us experiment with different label shapes, sizes, and textures, ensuring that each bottle became a storytelling canvas. The labels, transformed from hand-drawn sketches to digital illustrations with Sketch, not only reflected the family’s legacy but also wine and liquor enthusiasts loved it, turning their products into collector’s items.

An image showing wine labels in Sketch by Aeon Studio

From explorations to detailed designs, the team at Aeon Studio did it all in Sketch

Are there any specific Sketch features that designers at Aeon Studio enjoy using or are particularly helpful?

Each designer in the team has their favorites, but there are a few popular ones across the whole team. If we had to choose, it’d be Components. They’re especially helpful when working on complex projects with hundreds of layers, as they help us stay organized and ensure a structured and consistent approach to our designs. We also love the ability to copy and paste Styles — it has stood the test of time and remains an essential part of our toolkit that helps us keep consistent styling across various elements without the need for manual adjustments.

Overall, what do you enjoy the most about working at Aeon Studio? And, could you share with us what’s next for you?

Without a doubt, how passionate we all feel about the work we do. The energy in the studio is contagious and makes every project feel like an adventure. As for what’s next, we’re currently excited to be working on a project with a big client (can’t say much just yet, sorry 🤫) and we’re also participating in different design competitions.

An image showing wine labels in Sketch by Aeon Studio

We love seeing how people and teams are using Sketch to create amazing products. If you have something you want to share with us, let us know in our community forum!

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