DateCoin Product Director talks about design development of Denim app for Japanese market

Dmitry Starostin, Product Director

Japanese market is absolutely unique and requires special approach. It is a mixture of history, culture and technology. In order to better adapt our service for the local market, we regularly test various solutions, survey the audience, do research on Japanese psychology and behavioral patterns, study various trends.

The more we work on it, the more we discover in cultural, psychological, and perceptual aspects as well as in approaches to graphic and information design.

Colors in graphic design

It is typical for western color formation approach to use 2–3 basic colors that are carefully selected via color theory or certain given palette. In contrast to that, Japanese graphic designers can combine colors that are absolutely not compatible for Europeans as it looks florid due to large information blocks. Japanese graphic design also features bright and intense colors, color gradients that are not typical for modern Western graphics (we do use them, but for other applications such as web design).

It is however worth noting the similarities in Japanese and Western graphic design approaches. Both aim to transfer the mood or matter. Although, there exist unwritten rules on proper color usage.

The comparative analysis of several tens of dating services has revealed that light pink and blue colors, pastel shades are preferable, although with some unexpected combinations of those.

Typographics

The mixture of latin and hieroglyphic symbols is quite noticeable in Japanese typographics. As the Japanese alphabet is quite complex, it is sometimes easier to draw several hieroglyphs, rather than create a new font containing hundreds of symbols. That’s why Japanese design features multiple unique calligraphic solutions.

Shapes and color fills

Circles are the most favourite symbols of harmony and balance. Various shapes and lines fit the circle harmonically and match its axial and rotational symmetries.

Color patterns and symmetries are often used for color fills.

Pretty characters actively used in branding and graphic design are also worth noting. It is for sure they create unforgettable Japanese style!

Information design and markup

Information design is something closer to us, but not unambiguous for western culture.

For many Japanese projects (especially those focused on web design) the page is usually overloaded due to high information density and incompatible colors. It is important for the Japanese to expose the subject completely, thus the usability common for Europeans is not always presented.

At the same time I would like to mention that for some product projects, interfaces and web design the quality requirements match global trends. Technologies and platform specifics affect the culture patterns leading to design unification. Some Japanese designs are now similar to European ones, but still follow local traditions.

To sum up, I would like to emphasize: we have clear understanding that there is no way to enter Japanese market with a typical dating project. It is highly doubtful for such project to be useful and successful. That’s why we consider the results of market research, cultural differences, and audience preferences. At the same time it is important to realize the unification to be the major trend in design. That is what we are going to focus on and introduce considering the best design and usability practices, international standards, and our team expertise.