Mercari UK’s New Look & Design System
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
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
Similar to Dropbox
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You made it to the end! Thanks for reading. Here’s a well earned taco 🌮