Designing with Omotenashi

One of our fundamental values at Button is omotenashi, the word that defines the Japanese spirit of hospitality. Omotenashi encapsulates a warm and welcoming ethos, understanding, and respect for each individual. When emulated authentically, omotenashi makes a guest, customer, or individual feel as though the service they’re receiving is more exceptional than any they’ve experienced before. Simply put, omotenashi is the ability to anticipate the needs of a guest or consumer before they realize the need themselves.

Our design team set out to apply the spirit of omotenashi to our work and to consider how to create a better experience for our users by predicting their wants and needs. Similar to user-centric or humanistic design, when trying to reflect omotenashi we want to consider all the environmental, political, social, and technological factors influencing our users.

###Omotenashi as a Core Value

At Button, we define a value to be the principle that can influence and guide the decisions made at the company. The values elected to represent Button allow for team members to self-evaluate themselves and their work. Omotenashi represents the cumulative desire to create an environment that is welcoming and hospitable to all. It evolved from our CEO, Michael Jaconi’s experiences at Rakuten. There Michael saw that everyone in the company went out of their way to create the friendliest and most amicable environment. This directly translated into the experience of those who encounter the product, company, and office. At Rakuten, the company’s mission to empower all users through their marketplace clearly reflects omotenashi. When establishing Button, Michael and the co-founders knew that this value was a requirement for Button. In order for our product to grow from an idea into a platform that will shape the future of mobile commerce, we must reflect omotenashi in everything we do.


Omotenashi guides everything that we do at Button. Such as our meticulously customized Launch Day gifts to partners or through our welcoming efforts for new team members. For the design team, this means that we need to predict the needs and the mindset of our newest employees from the first introduction email and throughout their career at Button.

###The Button Welcome Book

We exhibit omotenashi from our first interaction with candidates in the recruiting process to onboarding them as members of the Button family. On the first day, new team members receive a copy of the Button Welcome Book with a personalized illustration on the cover. For each employee, we include a short bio and a fun fact about them. The books are meant to be a snapshot of the moment in time when a new team member joined the Button family. Providing a personalized experience for each new employee not only introduces them to one of our core values but adds comfort to what can be a stressful week.

The Button Welcome Book Spread The Button Welcome Book cover and team member spread.

The Button Welcome Book acts as a historic record of our growth while documenting the uniqueness of the team and approach to building a company. The book introduces the culture here at Button, from our monthly retrospectives, smoothie Fridays, and $100 monthly bonus credit for trying on-demand services. Our book is just one of the ways in which we try to share omotenashi with each new team member.

###The Evolution of the Idea

The Button Welcome Book evolved from a conversation between team members about how to share information such as benefits, routines, and distinctive events that take place at the company. We determined from this conversation that there needed to be a flexible yet systematic way to educate new team members. We observed that this tool could be an opportunity to make new employees feel more welcomed on their first day. From our shared past experiences, we knew that the transition from one job to another could be difficult and anxiety-inducing. This information would be a catalyst for new team members to connect with others during their onboarding process.

Culture Spread The Button Welcome Book culture section.

###The Creation Process

The most complex constraint on the Button Welcome Book is our consistently growing company. In order to accommodate this, our design team established a team member illustration system, file management process, and great relationships with two very reliable printers.


The illustration system allows for us to rapidly create a base structure for a new team member’s illustration, enabling us to focus on customizing each illustration to reflect the characteristics of the person. Similar to Button’s illustrations on our website, our team illustrations attempt to both simplify the general features of an idea while exemplifying the precise unique qualities that define said idea.

Illustration System Button’s Face Illustration System.

In regards to our team illustrations, we are attempting to respectfully uphold the characteristics of the individual’s personality by highlighting their key features. Through noting what makes a new employee extraordinary with fun-facts, we hope to communicate that we understand who they are as an individual and welcome them to our team.

Stephaine's Photos Stephanie Mardell, Head of Recruiting.


At Button, we have a diverse team from different backgrounds, countries, and experiences. We connect based upon our belief in the company and our mission to change mobile commerce forever. The fun facts inside the Button Welcome Book intend to express our individual personalities and experiences while bringing an air of delight to the book. Some are hilarious while others speak to momentous events in a team member’s life. But all allow the new employee to better understand the amazing group of individuals who believe in Button.

"Challenged and defeated Chris Pratt at beer pong," –Mike Wakerly's fun fact.

####Production As the system is developing with each new employee, the InDesign file contains layout templates for the cover and employee pages making it simple to drag and drop images and text into existing fields. Once we finish prepping the book there are two options for printing depending on the lead time. If the new team member is scheduled to start in a week our local printer will ensure the book will be ready by that day, otherwise we will source our more cost-efficient long-term printer.

Through creating an organized and systematic process for adding additional employees to the book, the production time has greatly shortened making the process scalable. By treating the Button Welcome Book as a necessity for the new employee’s onboarding process, we can guarantee that omotenashi is reflected during their experience.

Like our company, The Button Welcome Book is evolving and growing. With each new team member, we add a memory of the moment they began and look forward to the limitlessness of what they can do for our team and our company. Want to receive a copy of the Button Welcome Book? Check out our available positions on our team page here.