How Nintendo designed Switch and Splatoon

Namika Hamasaki
Apr 29, 2018 · 3 min read
Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Corey Motta on Unsplash

UI Crunch is a design community in Japan that hosted its 13th UI Crunch night. The theme was UI for entertainments (娯楽のUI). Designers from Nintendo participated in the event as guest speakers. They talked about how they designed the user interface for the Nintendo Switch console and the game Splatoon.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend it, but the people who participated in the event tweeted with a lot of pictures in #uicrunch.

I tried translating some tweets which I was interested in. If you are a big fan of Nintendo or a designer of the game industry, please check it out👇

Their mind

@komage1007: I took photos in UI Crunch as a photographer. It was great learning even for non-designer such as me from the inside story of Nintendo.

They said, “We always think to make people in the world smile, don’t design for a specific persona.” The story was very awesome.

@yoshiko_pg: They said, “The game development is not for the sake of solving an issue. So we can’t decide target users. We’re going to go all out for fun and fresh things.”
I see. Good point!! These are totally different development style from a service aims at solving an issue.

Nintendo Switch Parental Controls

@gida_gida: They said, “Showing day of the week instead of a date makes it easier for parents and children to have a conversation, so the day of the week is bigger.” The story was fascinating.

@kagi55x: Peace of mind for a family isn’t surveillance or restriction, but to be smiling. The important experience for a family isn’t inside an application, but outside of that.

Rating: AppStore4.4 / GooglePlay 4.5

  • Children have started saving their playtime voluntarily.
  • The app triggered a conversation between parents and children such as “Did you play blah-blah-blah today?”.

How they created the typeface for Splatoon

@yoshiko_pg: No font existed that was suitable for the concept of Splatoon, so they decided to try making a new typeface.Awesome! I love the Splatoon font.

  • Stroke: Sporty and Thick
  • Shape: Liquid and Organic

To start, they imagined keywords that express Splatoon.

  • Squid: Mollusk, Liquid, Sea, Organic, Soft and Non-uniform
  • Sports: Bold, Strong, Lucid, Quickness and Youth

Then, created the shapes based on the image of the words. For you can feel Splatoon without colors.

@etsuko_ichihara: A comparison between the font of Super Mario and Splatoon. The fonts express each of the games.

@yoshiko_pg: Here are the differences between Splatoon1 and Splatoon2 fonts. They actually created the new font for Splatoon2, which is a more thin typeface. So cool!

The color of Splatoon

Let’s try changing the screen to monochrome.
The icons are important, so make them high chroma.
A groundwork such as the modal window, make it low chroma.

@etsuko_ichihara: They considered colors because Splatoon has a lot of informative content. It may be similar to web design.

@OZPA: They picked the colors from the same hue instead of using brightness for shade.


Answer: Fun is hard to quantify. That’s why I choose the way where I would feel envious. A safe idea can’t be the target of envy. An approach that other creators feel envious over is valuable.
by Masaki-san / Nintendo

Answer: I don’t consider 5 years old and 95 years old as adult and child separately. Children must object to being treated like a kid. They have a lot of curiosity and are more flexible than adults. So I make no distinction.
by Masaki-san / Nintendo

Wrap up

As a big fan of Nintendo, I read the reports with glee, so I wanted to translate it to English to share with the world!

If you’re interested in more, you can read at following pages.
(Sorry Japanese only, but there are a lot of the pictures of the event)

Also if you’re interested in Japanese culture, please follow me on Twitter. I always tweet that.


A Japanese duo by a product designer and a software…

Namika Hamasaki

Written by

Senior Designer at All Turtles based in San Francisco / My work at



A Japanese duo by a product designer and a software engineer in San Francisco.

Namika Hamasaki

Written by

Senior Designer at All Turtles based in San Francisco / My work at



A Japanese duo by a product designer and a software engineer in San Francisco.

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