While many design agencies are fortunate if they brand one major financial company, we’ve already branded three fin-tech startups. Our latest is Pi Pay, the hottest mobile application in Cambodia, revolutionizing the way that commerce is done. We’ve been part of it from day one.
When Pi Pay approached Mäd, they already had the name and the tagline “Infinite Possibilities,” but no visual identity. That was our task to create. The brief asked us to come up with a brand that would be instantly recognizable and bring a fresh approach to finance. Something that hasn’t been done before and distances Pi Pay from the mega-competitors in the market.
After a short research phase, it was clear that we had to do something really special. Especially when it came to deciding the colour, as several key players and other brands had completely dominated certain colors in the Cambodian market.
So, we started looking at alternative colour palettes to create something that would really stand out. Something Pi Pay would be able to completely conquer, instead of having its brand lost in a sea of green, blue and red. In our client questionnaire we created a rating card for various aspects of the brand, and ended up with the following initial colour options:
Green was already heavily favoured by some of Pi Pay’s direct competitors, and so we moved away from that early to create a stand-out identity.
Next up was the typographical elements, and we had three major directions:
- Simple (Think Paypal)
- Playful, almost handwritten. (Think not Paypal)
- Bold, contain inlines, outlines, etc. (Think Netflix)
A simple font like this is no-nonsense, and plays well for an e-commerce app. They’re simple combinations of half square, half circle shapes, which demonstrate the technical aspects of Pi Pay while still remaining light-hearted, and youthful.
This style is more expressive and emotive, bringing some personality to the hard corporate lines that exist in the market. Unlike other styles, designers can play more with the thickness, angles, and kerning of the font, allowing for broader expression that users could identify with.
Bold is fresh, decorative, and geometric with a hint of art deco. It’s a lovely mix of classic-meets-modernity and allows the brand to play with geometric shapes. This style would translate well to large signs, t-shirts and posters.
With green out, we favoured the playful style that would be anchored into a technical feel with accompanying text. Initially, we felt we could sub-brand Pi Pay’s several services under one fun umbrella. After some thought, we decided to keep the whole brand tight, together, as one all-encompassing solution for a young Cambodian marketplace. We then created this:
But once again, we were brought back to the same initial question: Was this truly a brand that is instantly recognizable and brings a fresh approach to finance? We took a risk, and decided to scrap what was safe, and do something unheard of entirely:
At the end, we combined our favourite elements of the various styles explored. The type features a half square, half circle technical style which is also expressed in the logo. The pink creates a look that is instantly recognizable, everywhere.
The visual language is broader and more nuanced, allowing users to feel like they can identify with an entire lexicon of what it means to be a modern consumer. In our initial photoshoot to create a stockpile of brand images, we used local people and skylines to make Pi Pay more relatable and approachable.
The pink we chose was so strongly linked to the brand identity, even without the logo or type it’s so Pi Pay. Superimposing pink elements with playful photos really highlighted the aspect of “Infinite Possibilities” we were tasked to create. Beyond what you could draw or see, Pi Pay’s visual language pushes the boundaries of your imagination and the limits of commerce in a frontier market.
And the rollout? Pi Pay received a stellar welcome. It was the classic case of people not knowing they needed something until they saw it. Although it’s very fashionable for tech companies to throw around the word “disrupt,” we feel we truly did that with this product. Only by designing a visual language and building the app within the same team could such strong results come through (we even designed their office!) The numbers speak for themselves. A few key statistics of the first sixty days:
- The 7th most downloaded application in Cambodia on the App Store.
- 150,000+ transactions
- $3.5M+ processed.
- Generating a $30M/year payment processing run-rate. ($80,000+/day)
- Over 65,000 active users
When design, business, and technology work in perfect synchronicity, awesome things happen.