A New Approach to Online Flight Booking – MVB and MVP for the Travel Startup flyiin

A Change of Paradigms for Air Travel Booking

flyiin was founded in 2015 by e-travel expert Stephane Pingaud and our Managing Director and think moto co-founder Marco Spies as an innovative online marketplace for air travel. Based on the then brand-new IATA NDC (New Distribution Capability) data transmission standard, service-oriented air travelers should be able to select services at the airport or on the flight directly in the booking process and thus gain significantly more transparency and comparability – something that the usual booking portals still lack today.

Lifting Off With Minimum Viable Branding

The brand design for flyiin was realized by think moto as Minimum Viable Branding (MVB), which went hand in hand with the product design. The focus here was on transferring the brand personality to the visual appearance. With regard to the personality attributes (clear, caring, intriguing) and the requirement to make a complex digital product simple, a pictographic world was developed that could be used in all areas of communication and the user experience. In combination with powerful, robust typography and colors, the pictograms convey the simplicity, transparency and joy-of-use of the product.

The signet deliberately leaves room for interpretation: the wing is obvious in combination with the word mark, but associations such as a cloud, a human head or a speech bubble are also possible and emphasize the approachable brand character. In combination with the photographic imagery, the signet can also be used as a mask that offers insights into the new world of flight booking and has a high recognition value.

Based on feedback from users, partners and potential investors, we further refined the resulting visual identity over the course of a year.

From MVP to Agile Product Development

Based on user research, personas and journey maps, we developed the user experience for the minimum viable product, a first testable version of the marketplace. Over the course of six design sprints, we created the user interface for flyiin with a guided booking process, seat selection and brand-specific airline pages that provided an insight into the respective in-flight experience.

From the first click dummy to the demo version with connection to the airlines’ APIs (Lufthansa Group and IAG Airlines), right through to the private beta test – the agile approach allowed us to design, implement and test new features quickly and easily. This was put to the test by around 500 users in the private beta test in summer 2017.

Success and Publications

While the idea of an NDC-based online marketplace was not a success – the startup was sold to after Marco Spies’ exit and a pivot to an NDC gateway provider – the minimum viable branding for flyiin gained public recognition in the design industry. In 2016, it was presented by Stephane Pingaud and Marco Spies at the CXI Brand Talks conference, followed by a multi-page article in PAGE, as well as a best practice study in a compendium on the design of pictograms by Prof. Holger Ziemann in the AV Edition in 2024.

Our Services for flyiin

Minimum Viable Branding (MVB)
Logo design
Iconography and pictograms
Product film
Design iterations
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Customer journey mapping
User experience strategy
UX/UI design
Design system
User testing
Design support

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