Kawaii Tarot

Product Design Case Study

How Kawaii Tarot started.

From practicing tarot & illustration to Etsy sales.

I created Kawaii Tarot as a way to practice both tarot and illustration, skills I was immersing myself in at the time.

I remember getting the idea one night and racing to my notebook to sketch out the first 22 cards, called the “major arcana,” “trump cards,” or “Fools journey.”

I listed the cards I got printed online on Etsy, and it kind of blew up. Considering the idea “validated”, I thought to create an app, to practice with Ionic, a hybrid app framework I had been hearing about.

Our place in the grand scheme of things.

Who are the users?

Kawaii Tarot was picked up by a publisher called Sterling Ethos who thought it would be a great “crossover” for people who thought tarot images were scary but were still attracted to the idea of divination, children (I sometimes hear of children who watch their mom read tarot wanting their own cards—but many decks have nudity, gore, etc), and teens.

Although this isn’t how I originally envisioned the app, I fully adopted that segment of people as Kawaii Tarot’s “audience” and I use them as a basis while designing.

How the app works.

Ask a question, get an answer.

The app has one, simple flow: ask a question, pick a spread, get a reading, and take notes on any insights.

How I designed the app.

The app was designed, and continues to be refined, in 3 steps:

Step 1.

Come up with a theory.

Step 2.

Check in users to see how much of an interest there is through UX methodologies like surveys. Below is a snippet of a Typeform survey, sent to “very active” readers of my newsletter. (Some rounds I send things like stickers or coupon codes as a thank you.)

Step 3.

Build, launch, and watch.


A beloved product with hard-earned lessons.

Designing the Kawaii Tarot app has been a wonderful learning opportunity. Because I developed the app as an entrepreneur, I was mindful of resources, whether that was my time or funds. I made sure there was an audience for what I wanted to build before I built it. Some things I thought would be cool weren’t at all, and some ideas were so cool I have to learn to build them. The app is lean but loveable.