Mercari UK’s New Look & Design System

Talking ‘bout my evolution

From today, Mercari has a bold, inclusive new look for the UK and a new design system you can see live on iPhone and Android. We think it’s kind of a big deal.

Started in Japan now we’re here

Let’s rewind 12 months. Mercari, the number one marketplace in Japan, lands in London along with the red box that is its iconic logo, eager to be picked up at baggage claim and introduce itself to the UK.

Makes sense — you’re wildly successful in your home country, a big player in the US and fast tracked to becoming the first company in Japan to reach unicorn status, there must be something about the brand that works.

Fast forward 9 months: testing and data reveals our biggest user base in the UK is amongst young females who don’t fully understand the brand we inherited from our parents in Japan.

Partnering with the talented team at Koto, we take on the challenge of creating something unique for the UK that stands out from the crowd.

What users thought of the old brand

Before rebranding you could have mistaken the iOS and Android apps for two entirely different products

With tens of millions of users in Japan using Mercari daily our old brand still clearly connects with the audience in Japan, just not in the UK.

In what could have been mistaken for a Comedy Central Roast, we discovered what our UK audience really thought of our old brand. Some highlights:

Looks like food delivery service
Bland
Tired
Confusing
Similar to Dropbox
Middle-aged

…ouch, right in the feels.

Point taken. It was clear we needed to create a brand that had a stronger emotional connection to a millenial audience.

After months of chin stroking, ‘I think’ing, workshopping, iterating and testing we had our new brand!

Introducing the new Mercari UK

The flowing, script logo is softer, playful and human, whilst our hero red is a nod to our brand in Japan.

Colours

Like our users, our colours are bold and diverse. Alongside the hero red there is an extended secondary palette

Jungka — our brand typeface

Jungka by Jung-Lee is friendly, approachable and is easily legible on screen at small sizes.

Illustrations

Applied at varying touchpoints in the product and marketing, illustrations allow us to keep the brand warm, playful and engaging.

Applying the new brand on the product

Attempt 1 …and the crowd goes mild

Our first attempt at swapping out the old brand, by replacing the logo and colours without any other changes, belly flopped its way into a pool of dissatisfaction amongst the team.

We realised this was due to an overuse of native UI elements on iOS and Android, meaning there was little in the visual language that was distinctly Mercari.

Starting with our DNA

To align to our new brand and create a consistent visual language, the design team defined a DNA (colours, spacing, typography) and applied these rules across all platforms. This quickly evolved into a design system.

Introducing Meri, our new design system

Meri has brought a refreshed look and much needed consistency to our product in an insanely short 1.5 months thanks to our legendary team of engineers — big up yourselves, you know who you are!

Some of the benefits we’ve gained from Meri:

  • Designers spend less time on new components and can focus on solving user problems.
  • Developers create reusable components with inherited styles that can be updated with ease.
  • Users have a consistent experience on our product.
Designers contribute to Meri’s continual growth through new components
Anatomy breakdowns of a component make it quick and easy to build. No guesswork needed.
Designers can create entire screens in minutes using the component stickersheet

On the road ahead

Meri walked into our home, purged it of the many native interface elements we’d been hoarding, and gave our screens space to breathe. I think it’s safe to say the apps are better for it.

That said, a design system isn’t the end goal, but on the road trip to creating an amazing product, Meri will be riding shotgun - providing mad DJ skills, gluten-free snacks and, of course, a solid set of Sketch components.

See Meri in action: Download on iPhone or Android


We’re Hiring Product Designers!

We’re currently on the lookout for Product Designers to join our talented team in London. We have big plans for the future of Mercari so I’d love to hear from you!

About me: I’m Anant, heading the product design team at Mercari UK. I’m here to make something users will love and a product that’s so damn good designers are compelled to share their phone screen with the person stood next to them on the bus.

Get in touch: You can catch me on Linked In, keep it casual over Twitter or just send me a good ol’ email. And here’s a picture of me that isn’t 80% beard:


You made it to the end! Thanks for reading. Here’s a well earned taco 🌮