Analyzing the problem
In America, having acne and being beautiful are seen as mutually exclusive. Beauty is defined as having perfect skin and a flawless complexion. Those who don’t are made to feel embarrassed and ashamed.
Acne sufferers often feel depressed and isolated, and may resort to harmful behaviors such as popping zits (leads to skin scarring) or covering them with makeup (prolongs breakout).
Acne needs time to heal, but outwardly treating it isn’t a socially acceptable option.
Original product and user testing
These spot patches from South Korea are clear and come in circular dots. We gathered some qualitative data on the product as-is. When we spoke with a native South Korean, she mentioned how it was normal for adolescents to walk around with acne spot patches to school and beyond.
It wasn't a big deal. Once puberty hit, it's like "BAM!" Everyone came in with spot patches on - boys and girls.
However, when we patch-tested on a user with a deep skin complexion, she mentioned she wouldn't wear them outside her home.
They're too reflective. People would be able to see I'm wearing them and it's weird.
As testers, we also had difficulty removing the patches from the backing. This resulted in them folding under themselves and made the patches partially or fully unusable.
One of the biggest aspects we had to understand was the difference in beauty and skin standards between the United States and South Korea. We had to understand the culture of cosmetics and skincare in South Korea and figure out how to translate that into the American market.
The Market - East vs. West
America has built a shame culture around acne with expectations to either harmfully pop zits or cover them with makeup. Whereas in South Korea, it's acceptable to publicly treat your skin. There are two trends occurring in the American health and beauty market.
- K-Beauty products
The Korean beauty industry has been growing at a rate of 9.2% even with a global economic recession. By 2020, the South Korean industry is expected to exceed $13 billion (up from $11.6 billion in 2015), predicts Euromonitor International.
- All-natural beauty products
All-natural products are becoming more popular. According to Amy Regan of Skinfix, 73% of millennials say they want natural skincare products.
Furthermore, we noticed the difference in branding and packaging between the U.S. and Asia. While Asia has a tendency for cute and animated, U.S. markets prefer clean and simple. We polled the two styles via Instagram.
While it was close, the preference was clean and simple.
We still wanted to keep true to the acne spot patches’ roots. Thus we created a color palette that’s bright, saturated, and engaging without any frills. The dot on the “i” represents the spot patch as if the user is pulling it from the sheet. Gotham has rounder curvatures subtly reminding audiences of the product, and thus made sense as Daylight’s main typeface.
After understanding the market differences and where the product pitfalls were, we moved forward in establishing the brand.
Functional product requirements
- Improve the product so users of all skin types could feel confident wearing the acne spot patches
- Make the packaging easier for application
- Provide size options
- Build a way to inform users on how to use the product
Our brand direction
Strategy = Self care through skin care
We created the brand, "Daylight". To shift the U.S. market from the traditional shame culture associated with acne, we needed the brand to have a positive aura. We imagined Daylight to be the following:
- Your cheerleaders
- Your advocates
- Your support team
- Your acne squad
Because we were imagining a chatbot to help push education, we outlined a "Brand tone". The voice of the brand needed to push the following characteristics:
To further understand our target audience, we created a persona. Preferably anyone with acne or skin blemish issues would be able to use Daylight Spot Patches. Because the range is so wide, we decided to center our user on which segment we would target first. This person is more willing to try new things. While they aren't a novice, they wouldn't categorize themselves as an expert either.
User journey map
First, we mapped a general high-level view of the current pimple process. From there, we created a more detailed current user journey map that outlined the process of getting a pimple and the potential subsequent actions our users may take to getting rid of a pimple. We identified the pain points and the opportunities of how Daylight Acne Spot Patches could alleviate some issues.
Proposed product changes
The original amount of 12 patches is now doubled to 24 to better compete with existing product lines in America. We further expanded the Daylight's product line to include a cut-your-own-size sheet, for days when you have an asteroid belt on your face.
Build on inclusivity
South Korea is a mostly homogenous population, while America is not. Having only the original clear version wouldn't cut it. Once our users mentioned how they wouldn't wear these out in public unless they blended better, we knew Daylight had to modify the product lineup. While we kept the "Clear" line, we added a "Skin-toned" line.
This resulted in 6 different tones (fair, light, medium, tan, deep, and ebony). The patches are translucent to blend in. The packaging clearly represents each color.
Now make it fun
Daylight wants people to be proud of treating their skin well. To go from fixing yourself to treating yourself, we want you to flaunt your self-care.
This is why we made emoji and festival packs. Wear a poop emoji during your next concert and feel so fresh (and so clean clean) that you're properly treating your acne.
Inside the packaging
Because it was hard to peel the acne spot patch off, we modified inside the packaging.
To keep the patch sterile and easy to apply, we created a 3-layer application process. First, tear at the perforated lines. Then peel the white layer off and adhere the patch directly on the pimple. Once the patch touches skin, the clear adhesive easily comes off, similar to a bandage.
Empower the audience
Introducing a new health and beauty product can raise many questions. When do I use the acne spot patch? How long does the patch stay on? When should I replace the patch?
We want to encourage proper and safe skincare practices, so we decided on creating a chatbot with the sole intention of educating the user on how and when to use our product. Pim Pal is a play on the term “pimple” changed into a friendlier interface and voice. The chatbot will ask users how far along their pimple life cycle is, and will let users know if it's time to use our acne spot patches.
We broke down the crafting of the chatbot into four tenets:
- Objective: Introduce Pim Pal as friendly helper
Pim Pal is the user’s go-to for pimple care advice. While it doesn’t replace a dermatologist, it provides users a quick and private method of learning about proper skincare techniques.
- Objective: Pim Pal diagnoses the stage of user’s pimple
Pim Pal teaches the lifecycle of a pimple to the user and diagnoses the stage at which the user’s pimple is currently at by asking the user a series of questions.
- Objective: Teach proper skincare techniques
Education is Pim Pal’s #1 goal. After pimple assessment, Pim Pal offers ways to take care of the pimple and user’s skin. More importantly, Pim Pal educates the user of Daylight acne spot patches and show proper usage of patches throughout pimple lifecycle.
- Objective: Find a Daylight retailer
Pim Pal offers to find the closest Daylight acne spot patch retailer for the user to immediately get started on taking their of his or her pimple.
Other fun stuff
Our group also made notionals of print ads. Each print will have a sample patch that can be included with purchases at beauty stores or in magazines.
We even chose a list of influencers that would ideally push forward our Daylight brand. It was important we chose influencers that not only represented our brand with their personality, but also looked like us.
As an East Asian minority, this project was very near and dear to my heart. Growing up, I didn't see much representation in the media nor did I see products catered to my skin type. While I'm fortunate to be on the lighter side of the spectrum, many of my peers with darker skin tones were even more alienated from certain products. It's been only recently that makeup has included a wider range of colors for people of all skin colors. Thus, the product testing was a huge part of the project for me. To prototype a product to be fun and inclusive made my heart swell with pride, and I hope beauty brands take note of how their products can evolve to include everyone.
It was also exciting to have the opportunity to design an elementary chatbot flow and to realize that we can't be making a chatbot for the sake of having one. Chatbots need to have a very specific reason to exist, and I think using one as an educational tool is quite valuable.
Lastly, I was recently able to refer back to this project in a pitch for a South Korean brand wanting to break into the North American market. This experience only solidified how important it is to create inclusive products and brands!