Tenor
More Than Words


Creative expression for the next generation of words – whatever they may be.
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GIFs have emerged as a vibrant mode of expression in a time of rapidly expanding vocabularies. Tenor, a startup with an early position as the leading GIF keyboard, saw an opportunity to strengthen their product position in this evolving landscape with a bold new identity and strategy. Our work with Tenor spanned research, strategy, a design system for the platform, and a new brand identity.

The brand needed an identity open to the possibilities of broader communication features.

Tenor, the new name, suggests the nuance of expression through voice and tone. The scribble logo form represents the moment an idea crystallizes in your mind. It’s gestural, expressive, looping -- as abstract as the idea it represents.

Contextual experience



Expression is always evolving, and GIFs are just the latest in a line of modes and memes.

So we developed a strategy to ensure Tenor’s place as the platform for GIFs today, and for how we express ourselves tomorrow — via haptic responses, chatbots, virtual reality, and beyond. We designed an experience that gives context to GIFs with a broad range of content features, evolving their product into a full-featured platform that encompasses personalization, content creation, and a community of users.



Escaping the confines of the app



We started with two key solutions for opening up the app. First was unlimited vertical scrolling, an elegant UI solution that opens up significant screen real estate to extend the amount of content Tenor can offer. We found another opportunity to expand usage by pairing the keyboard to the native app in a nested construction. Now the native app is where users browse, save, and create new content. Then they deploy the content on the keyboard while texting.



What is it? A GIF keyboard is a third-party keyboard added to your smartphone that lets you easily find and share GIFs in your favorite apps. It's a handy way to send an animated GIF in any of your everyday conversation channels.

Personal touch



With personalized search and customizable categories, each user’s keyboard is unique. Search learns from the user’s expressed preferences and from implied preferences gleaned through usage – preference for animated GIFs over movie GIFs, for example.

We also added fun new ways to search for GIFs, like the Mood Slider that lets the user filter through different emotions to find a GIF with the right tone.



Mood slider
Do you want a sincere Happy Birthday or a snarky GIF?

Freedom of expression



The GIF Editor opens a whole new world of creative expression, allowing users to create and customize their own content in the native app – draw freehand, add stickers, type messages, even embed GIFs inside emoticons. Creation tools give the user more freedom to convey emotions and build a personal lexicon, and cultivate deeper engagement in the experience. The camera-first tools reside in the destination app, for a seamless experience.



Creation tools
Add a mustache to a GIF

Community of creativity



Building community around the platform is key to Tenor’s new strategy. By adding meaningful touch points beyond the keyboard, the native app cultivates engagement with a community of users who create, curate, and share unique expressions. We put faces and names to the GIF artists with attributions, and devised social networks that allow a creator or curator to build a personal following. All of which promotes the content, the artists, and the community around the Tenor platform.



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