Hi Olivia, thank you for taking the time to consider my comment. I will be looking forward to seeing the rationale from the designers with their current choices. For now, this is my initial opinion in regards to brand image. I feel like there is not a strong direction for the colour scheme, which results in a weak brand image. There are no links between visual elements and the chosen colours, for example, the yellow hue seems out of place amongst all the other pale blue hues. To achieve a stronger connection with the brand image you could reference the yellow to a rising sun which can be associated with the phonology of “rise” in the word Memrise, as well as it ties into the theme of planting a seed and the sun will tie into the plant theme (I hope this makes sense). Duolingo has a strong brand image because it associates a particular green hue with its mascot and the same hue can be found throughout different elements. When I think of Duolingo I think of the green hue, when I think of Memrise I have no colour associations. The only association I have is with the colour purple, which ties into the space theme. However, in the new design it appears this concept has been averted.
In regards to the overall style, it appears that the flat design has been utilised, the major drawback with this style is it feels lifeless and can be a little boring, perhaps utilising the style of material design would work a little better especially in creating contrast for clickable elements. Current icons just feel to unrefined and could benefit from more detail. The icons in the review section being the same hue contributes to a lack of contrast.
For the design direction, I would like to see the plant theme develop more because it makes sense with the learning progress. Planting a seed and then working to learn words resulting in the growth of the plant is a great visual for metaphorically measuring the progress of that particular word. Then watering it references making the plant/word in the memory stronger. This concept makes more sense, that is why I was not too fond of the space theme as the ideologies crashed together.
I am also not too fond of the main middle section which displays the levels that contain all those circular shapes, it takes up too much space and is visually confusing. The design all makes it harder for the user to browse the level as they have to scroll a lot. This layout worked ok with the space theme because it tied in with the whole planet look and the feeling that the rocket was ascending into space. However, for the new look it does not make sense.
I hope my feedback is helpful and not too confusing. I am sure some of my points would be corrected once I see the rationale.