AFC, Inc. Partners with Sanrio Co., Ltd. to Create
a Hello Kitty Marketing Campaign


Project Type

My Role



Advanced Fresh Concepts, Inc.

UI Design - Visual & Interactive 

Lead Visual Designer


Illustrator, Photoshop, Sketch, InVision

Hello Kitty Fans REJOICE with access to 'Limited Edition'Hello Kitty collectables!  


Starting in early 2017, these two industry giants created a brand partnership to increase marketing revenue, and exposure for Sushi Lovers and fans of the iconic, pop-art Hello Kitty.  The campaign would drive traffic to locations offering AFC sushi products and Hello Kitty collectables. The project's Digital/Marketing touch points were: In-Store, Social, Mobile and Website exposure.

There were also very strict Brand Guidelines/requirements (Colors, Typography & Style) that our team needed to follow to ensure Brand validity. In my role, I would create a 'Living-Breathing' Mockup and final art deliveries. 

UX Design Process



From Hello Kitty Cafes all around the globe to HK CON, and a massive Facebook following; what I learned from my research was pretty spectacular. Hello Kitty Brand has over 13 Million Facebook followers and growing. The fans are very loyal to the products and want authentic, personal experiences with this Brand. If we were looking for a successful project, we needed to get to know this ideal fan group.


By interviewing a few Hello Kitty fans, I gained empathy with their desire to connect with this Iconic brand. I researched motivates for their purchases, behaviors and how the products made them feel. By better understanding the fans, it would help me understand their motivations and goals, and help us on track with the project goals.


Since I didn't personally know enough about Hello Kitty products or their fans, but knew friends and colleagues who are really into the Hello Kitty Brand, I started interviewing these people first. My research consisted of a questionnaire and
in-person interviews where I recording actual quotes and observations from these participants.


Persona & Empath Map

From these Lean interviews and research, I used my findings to influence my Persona. Due to our limited time and budget, I began to quickly flush out details from the Persona and Empathy Map to influence our design process. (Pareto's 80/20).


This provisional persona helped to communicate the Hello Kitty Fan's motivations, goals and behaviors. The research helped me understand what type of features and tasks the users would want to see, learn, experience and accomplish with our products. Let's meet Anna-Marie* ...She LOVES Sanrio, Hello Kitty Products and Sushi!  

Interview notes.jpg

Above: Win State - Interview Observations & Quotes

Right: Empathy Map

Empathy Map.jpg

Customer Journey Map - Marketing Touch Points

Our team discussed key features that would help our target group achieve their needs and goals. To help us visualize the users initial interactions with the Campaign, I created a User Journey Flow, highlighting touch points based on the marketing goals. Banner Ads>Website>Mobile>Social


User Journey Flow and Initial Wireframe Sketches

Requirement Analysis

From gathered these user data and discoveries, I was able to plan the Business/Client

features and requirements while meeting the users needs.  Listed are the items for our MVP:

  • Menus for finding products

  • Store Locator, Products & Promotions Search

  • Way to track Inventory-Products, Sales, Locations

  • Customer finds promotions via Website & Social Media

  • History and details regarding AFC Sushi products & Sanrio Partnership


Product Design

With a limited timeframe, I needed to produce quick 'Wins' for the initial designs, the form and function of the product. I created a series of sketches, Low-Fi Wireframes and quick Mockups to show the Management teams. For these artifacts, I used pen-paper, Illustrator, Photoshop and Sketch: From Low-Tech to Lo-Fidelity Mockups & InVision, as well as, creating a Lo-Fi. workable prototype.

Wireframes / Mockups for Web & Mobile

Interactive Design Decision

As part of my role, I helped to create a Interactive System for customers to find store locations near them, as well as, locate available Hello Kitty Collectables. e.g. HK Plush Doll, HK Chop Sticks, HK Green Tea, HK Bento Box


I worked closely with the Dev. team to design a system where users could search a location; using a filters system by distance, and sorting by HK Collectables.

As a bonus, AFC was then able to track this data via real-time updates and Store Tablet Interfaces.  e.g. Product Inventory, Locations, Sales

The system's back-end CMS and assets our our team produced were a success. The user were able to quick locate their collectables and locations, and AFC had a CMS system to track them.

A rough system concept for the Store & Product Locator 

Final Designs

After the design stages were approved, I created the High-Fidelity artwork in Photoshop and delivered the hand-offs to the Developers for final production.


The entire Promotions Campaign was a big hit with Hello Kitty fans. The reviews were positive and the fans gave the events and products great praise. Since the beginning of this campaign, Hello Kitty fans wrote positive Blog-posts, Tweets,  and in return, produced a ton of excitement at the store promotions.

Process Insights

  • The developers got close to my mockups and somewhat within reaching distance. But the iterations weren't always matching.  I learned that being able to easily see and ask questions about what we are each working on together, saved the team valuable time and reduced confusion.

  • Talking about and showing functions and interactions are both needed to effectively communicate with the team; the result is continual productivity and collaboration.

  • Working with developers on this project was a great experience on how to collaborate as a team and get closer to a 1:1 product.

  • Detailed and developed user personas helped me focus on user-centric design solutions, and help inform my creative decisions throughout the project.

Website / Social Media Banner Ads

Additional designs for this Campaign: Photoshop and Illustrator

Bonus: Add'l Marketing Collateral

Packaging designs for this Campaign Project
Photoshop and Illustrator


Green Tea Can Packaging LineArt (CPG)

AFC-Hello Kitty Green Tea Can


Copyright © 2020 Rick Makoul All Rights Reserved