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Mercari UK’s New Look & Design System

Talking ‘bout my evolution

Anant Bhadreshwara
Jul 12, 2018 · 5 min read

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.

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Started in Japan now we’re here

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

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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

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Colours

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Jungka — our brand typeface

Illustrations

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Applying the new brand on the product

Attempt 1 …and the crowd goes mild

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

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Introducing Meri, our new design system

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.
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Designers contribute to Meri’s continual growth through new components
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Anatomy breakdowns of a component make it quick and easy to build. No guesswork needed.
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Designers can create entire screens in minutes using the component stickersheet
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On the road ahead

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!

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:

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

Mercari UK

Behind the scenes at the feel-good marketplace

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