Creating a Zen Interface for Mono-tasking


Art Direction, Brand Strategy, Branding, UI

Team Members

Ian Brennan, Prayash Thapa, Solomon Hawk



Between meetings, NPR push notifications, and Slack (does work actually get done in there?)… it’s easy to spend an entire day multi-tasking. Before you know it, it’s 3:32pm and you’ve made dismal progress on that task you were supposed to knock out this morning. The fatigue of distraction is real.

Zonodoro is a task-oriented timer app. Derived from the Pomodoro time management technique, Zonodoro determines balanced intervals for optimal productivity. Whether you want to focus in 25 or 52-minute blocks, it eliminates the manual effort of dividing your time throughout the day. There. One less thing for you to multi-task.

The Process

I joined this project about half-way through the sprint. There were already a couple of identity concepts and some UI in place from the engineers, but there was rift in the overall vision.

Design was toggling between ornate lotus flowers, stopwatches, and tomato stems (Pomodoro means “a sauce made from tomatoes”… and if that raises even more questions for you, the connection between tomatoes and productivity is actually quite amusing.) Engineering, on the other hand, was working with a preliminary interface based on three concentric circles as the premise of the timer.

The Solution

Working parallel with the engineering team, I drew inspiration from the concentric circles in the initial UI. They reminded me of a target. When you’re immersed in a single-task, you reach a flow state. Or in other words you’re “in the zone.” The name Zonodoro is a combination of the words Zone and Pomodoro. Utilizing the visual aspect of our target-esque timer was the ideal resolution for brand and interface.

The identity channels productive energy through tertiary shades of greens, blues, and white. For type, ABeeZee had just the right contrast between structure and play. I mean, just look at the tiny curve in that “d”.