Out of Stealth Mode
After a decade of secrecy, Indigo wasn’t used to boasting about itself. It’s not really their style, anyway. Through a series of workshops, we got to know the team and helped them develop a visual voice that matched their humble, hard-working personality.
Most importantly, we needed to explain the technology simply enough that anyone could understand — while including enough details for potential partners and investors to trust Indigo.
There are a lot of pretenders out there, but Indigo is the real deal. Look no further than Dr. Ian Hunter, the company’s prolific, mustachioed founder who has hundreds of patents to his name.
To showcase the technology, we partnered with INK, a 3D animation studio out of London. We storyboarded how to show the interplay between wheel and engine. INK worked closely with Indigo to develop a scientifically accurate animated rendering, which you can see below.
What Makes Indigo Special
Removing the heavy motor from a car creates a world of possibilities — and some gnarly problems, too.
On the positive side, driving is much more efficient. Less weight means it takes less energy to get from point A to point B. That’s great news for the environment. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Indigo’s technology could help save the planet — that’s why Indigo prioritizes efficiency in every design decision.
Also good: When wheels are your motor, you get way more space. Conventional motors take up a lot of room. Ditch them, and the chassis of every vehicle becomes a skateboard — you can put anything on top of it. Tons of seating. Your own personal office suite. A hot tub. A time machine. Seriously. Anything.
With great progress come great challenges. Have you ever heard of the unsprung mass problem? Neither had we. But it’s a big deal in the automotive world.
Without all that weight surrounding the passenger, the ride can get bumpy and motion sickness is a real concern. To be commercially viable, Indigo has to ensure a safe and smooth ride — and with some groundbreaking engineering, they have.
We wanted to inspire car manufacturers with the opportunities and show the technical crowd that Indigo had solved unprecedented challenges. To do it, we employed a combination of visual storytelling techniques: animation, video, photography, typography, and more.
It’s Gotta Be Fast
In our early technical conversations, we kept hearing something that probably sounds cliché coming from a car company: “It’s gotta be fast.”
That’s one reason we chose Gatsby, a speedy static site generator for React. Coupled with WordPress’s REST API, we were able to easily serve data to Gatsby while still providing editors with a familiar, user-friendly content management system.
We faced an even bigger speed challenge when it came to the video we commissioned to showcase the technology. The animation is embedded in the page and the user controls the video as they scroll. Loading an entire video would have been a nightmare for speed and performance. After lots of iteration, we ended up swapping the video for a frame-by-frame image animation. Think of it like a flip book. This allowed us to remove lots of unnecessary information and optimize image loading, which resulted in a smooth, snappy experience.
provides a rich editor experience
declaratively queries data from WordPress
generates an optimized static site built on React
automatically deploys updated static site assets
That’s a Wrap
It’s not every day someone asks you to show them the future. It was inspiring to work with the brilliant minds at Indigo. They really care about inventing a better world, and challenged us to tell that story in an adventurous way. We couldn’t have asked for better partners.
Indigo’s technology represents a major leap forward in transportation. If just a small amount of their ambition comes to pass, our world will look a lot safer, cleaner, and greener in the coming years. Let’s roll.