Creating Cashless.

In an economy where 70% of the currency is in cash, logistics remain a hurdle, and just 48% of Cambodians have access to smartphones, many would think building an e-commerce
app like Pi Pay would be crazy.

Enter Mäd.



Backed by one of the largest conglomerates in Cambodia, Pi Pay would become one of the breakthrough apps to elevate Cambodia up the digital chain. Surprise! Their intentions are simple, yet ambitious:

To replace cash transactions with digital transactions, by offering a mobile application that can act as a secure digital wallet.

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.


Initial Directions.

After a short research phase, it was clear that we had to do something really special. Especially when it came to deciding the color, as several key players and other brands had completely dominated certain colors in the Cambodian market.

So, we started looking at alternative color 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 color options, and eventually settled on the now-icon Pi Pay Pink.


The #1 Telco in Cambodia, and also has a payment app.

ABA Bank

The most progressive bank in Cambodia, also having ABA Pay, a merchant payment solution.

True Money

The second largest market competitor, also having a large presence in Thailand.


The #1 payment/remittance application in the country, with over 150,000 active users.




Next up, was the choice of typography, again with the aim to stand out from a mile away. We had three major directions that we could choose from.

1. Simple.

The key expressive point is security, reliability, simplicity, and easy of use.

Think PayPal.

2. Simple, Handwritten.

The idea here is that it is more than payments, it's a lifestyle.

Think Not PayPal.

3. Bold, Inline and Outlines.

Going all out on being different, almost crazy bold.

Think Netflix.

1. Simple

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.

2. Simple, Handwritten.

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.

3. Bold, Inlines and Outline.

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.


The Brand.

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.

final brand


Visual Language

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.

Pi Pay then commissioned Mäd to design and build their mobile payment application, working with Wirecard AG, one of the world’s largest and most renowned payment processors.

The key to success lies in thinking differently throughout the user interface design and the build process. A unique approach ensured that this business was going to be a breakaway success.

The Challenges

• Working with a fast-growing startup like Pi Pay, that scaled from a handful of employees to over a 150 during the project timeframe.
• Working on a project with over half a dozen teams spread across three time zones.Building with scale in mind.
• Pi Pay was never going to have a quiet market entry (and it didn’t, reaching a processing run-rate of over $30M/year in the first month of beta!)

Mäd had to build and design the Pi Pay app with an initial user base that would quickly end up in the 100,000+ range. Obviously, this presented its own set of challenges.

The initial UI had to be done at breakneck speed so that all parties had a shared UI library to start working on their individual modules (such as the Point of Sale system.) We had four weeks to complete the initial UI phase of the project.

Pi Pay’s interface design needed to find a compromise which pleased all parties, in addition to keeping in mind that the end user is paramount.

The key challenge in building Pi Pay was deciding between a traditional application or do something that would really stand out in the market.As we shall see, making the correct decision ended up paying off in a really big way.



Our Approach.

The question we asked ourselves that really made up everyone’s mind:

"When is the last time you checked your banking application prior to going out to eat, shop, or have some drinks?"

The answer: Never.

These are some of the ideas, mood boards, and concepts that we presented to the Pi Pay executive team.

In the end, a simple, fun look was settled on that would leverage illustrations and iconography. This makes it easy for anyone in any language to understand how to use Pi Pay. The app also used digital design as a differentiator to all the other financial applications in the market.

We designed custom emoticons, specifically designed for the Cambodian market. We also included a tie-in with Phnom Penh Crown Football Club (another of Mäd’s clients), and their Lion Mascot in Pi Pay.


The Results.

The final result is an entry into a crowded market space with a truly disruptive product.

A few key statistics:


Most downloaded app in Cambodia in the first thirty days.


Processing volume in the Beta launch.


Active users during the Beta Launch, and 15%+ monthly growth rate.


Request a Proposal.

Mäd services start from $10,000. 🤑💰

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