The rice-growing region in Japan’s Niigata Prefecture is renowned for its excellent sake (made from fermented rice) and its colorful ornamental carp fish, called Nishikigoi, or koi for short. Tokyo-based design agency, Bullet, was inspired by this regional icon when developing the packaging for a recently released sake product produced by Imayotsukasa Sake Brewery, based in Niigata. The sake brand named Nishikigoi features the distinctive bright red and white mottled patterns of the carp on its bottle and a white box cut-out in the simple silhouette of a carp. Stunning and stylish, the packaging displayed together in a retail setting look like a school of swimming Nishikigoi fish.
The ornamental carp originated in Niigata around AD 1500 when rice farmers began using the common carp as fish food, raising them in the reservoirs above the rice paddies. Around 1800, farmers began seeing colorful mutations of the fish and cross-bred them to create and stabilize new strains in vibrant colors and patterns. The ornamental carp were largely unknown outside of Niigata until they were sent to the 1914 Tokyo Taisho Exhibition as a unique product of the prefecture. By 1938, they were being exported as decorative objects to other parts of the world. Today they are prized as their own unique living art form gracing the ponds of many home gardens — and on the bottles of premium sake. Read More »
SKYY, the American-made vodka, is transforming cities across the country into a knitted wonderland by taking everyone’s favorite ugly holiday sweater and wrapping it around everything from city buses in San Francisco, to bus shelters in Boston and downtown Chicago, to art installations in Manhattan’s Union Square and the Meatpacking District. Available for a limited time during the holiday season, SKYY’s iconic cobalt blue bottles are actually wrapped in blue and white Fair Isle knit sweaters. “Ugly sweaters have become a big pop culture trend, with people theming entire parties around them, and vodka is the number one spirit consumed during the holidays. It was a natural fit to combine the two, ” explains Umberto Luchini, Vice President of Marketing at Campari America.
This is a promotion for a fitness exercise app called 7 Daily Moves by Singapore-based physical trainer Sonam Mehra, founder of Small Spoon Pte. Ltd. Mehra worked closely with tech partner Prakas Donga from India and motion graphic designer Martin Kundby Nielsen from ccccccc in Denmark to demonstrate 48 basic exercise moves in a single GIF. The tiny animated figures are charming to view, and a great condensed version of all the workout moves you need to do to stay fit.
How do you describe in words what autism feels like from the perspective of the person afflicted with the disorder? Sometimes verbal explanations seem inadequate, incomplete, superficial. It’s better to show it and hear it from their eyes and ears. Rattling Stick Production Company made this public service video for the National Autism Society in the UK to help viewers feel the sensory way that some autistic people experience the world. Sounds that most people don’t even notice affect them with the jarring impact of a pile driver. The video was directed by Steve Cope, with creative direction by Kit Darayam. Turn up your sound to get the full effect.
Designers are always in search of ways to convey a message visually without the need for lengthy explanatory text. That’s the charm of this Greenpeace advertising released to coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last week. Created by London-based Stine Hole Mankovsky, the video and print ads communicate through a shorthand of visual metaphors that are widely understood by the public. Iconic Russian nesting “dolls” tie the story to Russia; stylized icy blue peaks suggest Arctic glaciers, and the decreasing size of the dolls serve as a metaphor for the ever- shrinking habitat of polar bears, which are fast vanishing in numbers. The only text is “Save the Russian Arctic. Greenpeace.” That says it all. Today the gravest threat to polar bears and the Arctic is the unmitigated release of greenhouse gases, which are warming the planet and causing the climate to change. Read More »
Pigment in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo is the kind of art supply store that fine artists dream about. Pigment carries art supplies that are considered rare throughout the world. It offers over 4,200 colors of pigment, more than 200 antique ink sticks, 50 types of animal glue, traditional “washi” papers, and brushes for every technique. The store is staffed with experts to advise customers on the unique features of each painting tool and how best to use it, and holds workshops taught by art professors and supply manufacturers. Designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, the modern and spare interior is constructed using organic curved surfaces inspired by bamboo blinds. The bamboo stretches from the roof to the eaves, with the environment displaying products in a manner that seems more like a museum exhibit than a show of retail wares. This is a store that has reverence for the arts and treats the tools of the trade as works of art in themselves. Read More »
Sainsbury’s, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has made a holiday TV commercial starring Mog the accident-prone cat, the beloved character in a series of popular children’s books by author Judith Kerr. Although categorized as advertisement, the 3 1/2 minute “Mog’s Christmas Calamity,” is a charming storybook tale narrated by acclaimed actress Emma Thompson in a voice akin to her role in “Nanny McPhee.”
Sainsbury’s ad agency Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO persuaded the 92-year-old Judith Kerr to write and illustrate a new Mog story for the Christmas campaign, despite having “killed off” Mog of old age in her 2002 book, “Goodbye, Mog.” Published in partnership with HarperCollins, the “Mog’s Christmas Calamity” book is being offered for purchase by Sainsbury’s with all proceeds going to Save the Children, a nonprofit dedicated to improving children’s literacy in the UK. Only on the market for a few days, the book has already sold in the thousands.
The Christmas advertisement program itself also has been a huge success with adults who fondly recall reading Mog books when they were young. The Sainsbury’s Mog ad campaign was written by AMV BBDO’s Alex Grieve, art directed by Adrian Rossi, and directed by James Rouse through Outsider.
Simply adding another blog post in light of recent horrors seems wrong. The terrorist attack in Paris last Friday, along with the twin bombings in Beirut the day before, and the downing of a Russian civilian jetliner two weeks earlier cannot pass without acknowledgement. We join the world in mourning the loss of humanity, and pray for peace.
This is a 17”x 23” handout from Kaiser Permanente Healthcare. We couldn’t learn who created it, but find it effective in its simplicity. A low-budget production piece on uncoated stock, the Kaiser poster is printed on one side with a list of lame excuses for not exercising or eating right, but hold the sheet up to the light and the type set in reverse on the back side fills in the empty spaces and presents a totally opposite and much healthier point-of-view. It’s a no-frills piece that is cleverly written and designed. Bravo whoever you are. Well done.
Boytjie Braai Sauce describes itself as “South Africa in a bottle.” It boasts that every part of the barbecue sauce product is sourced and produced locally in South Africa, from the raw ingredients and manufacturing to the packaging design. Muti, a creative agency in Cape Town, worked with Malinco Foods to develop the logo and labels for the line of sauces. Eschewing the use of slick food photography, Boytjie built its packaging identity around bold and quirky hand-drawn letters and illustrations. The name of the flavor and key words are expressed in a different vibrant colors with fleck of black from the background peeking through like peppery spice. The effect is rich with personality. Read More »
This is a clever low-tech, low-cost way to simulate motion in print advertising. No need for fancy augmented reality or QR triggers; the woman in the photograph starts her workout routine when the reader opens the magazine spread. The Adidas Forever Sport campaign, named “Designed to Move,” was created by Tequila/TBWA/Hong Kong for the Chinese market. Read More »
Don’t worry, no pets were harmed in the making of this ad for 3M Lint Rollers. Created by Grey Group Singapore, this print poster campaign for 3M India provides a wildly exaggerated demonstration of how effectively the product picks up pet fur and other types of lint. The Grey Group team included chief creative officer, Ali Shabaz, with art direction by Ang Sheng Jin, photography by Jeremy Wong (Nemesis Pictures), and major retouching by Evan Lim (Magic 3). Read More »
Even in the sophisticated fashion industry, companies occasionally adopt animals as brand mascots and feature them in their logos. This is probably more the case with sports and casual attire, especially for men. Often easier to remember than an abstract shape, many animals are recognizable as silhouettes and their admirable behavioral traits are widely known. Then again, the chosen animal may simply evoke an aspect of the company’s history or place of origin. Check out these animals and see if you can name the brands they represent. Read More »
Moscow-based designer Anna Kulachek has been designing show identities for the Prague School of Design since 2012. Over that time, she has taken her original typographic styling and evolved it into a modular vocabulary of lines and curves that she has morphed into new forms. The breaks in the letterforms suggest that the pieces can be split apart and reassembled into different letters as well as purely decorative lines, half circles and squiggles that look like they are made up of letterform leftovers. The result is a graphic system that retains a consistent look that identifies it with the Prague School of Design, yet changes in surprising and playful ways.
Insurance companies are their own liability when it comes to describing the services they provide in advertising. Boring. This explains why the insurance giants resort to surreal humor, wild exaggerations, and CGI characters to keep viewers from immediately switching channels. Particularly memorable are Geico ads, which feature anthropomorphic animals such as its gecko mascot, created by Richmond, Virginia-based The Martin Agency. Geico ads have featured other animals too, including a talking duck, pig, squirrel, goat, kraken, and chihuahua. Lately, a smart-ass camel has a starring role. What’s interesting is that the 30-second commercials give viewers no clue what product or brand they are promoting until the last five second closing voiceover. “It you want to save 15% or more on car insurance, get Geico. It’s what we do.” It must work because viewers remember Geico’s tagline. Read More »
This commercial for Honda does not promote its products as much as it highlights how its “Power of Dreams” philosophy has informed the brand’s approach to innovation and engineering over the years. The animated video, created by stop-motion filmmaker PES, uses sketches drawn on paper as a metaphor for the birth and development of ideas. Combining low-tech and high-tech skills, PES assigned multiple artists to hand draw and color thousands of illustrations and then shot the sketches in-camera to form a continuous “flip-paper” journey through Honda’s 60 year history, from founder Soichiro Honda’s use of a radio generator to power his wife’s bicycle, to the development of motorcycles and outboard motors, to today’s planes and automobiles. Reflecting the passage of time, the paper changes from yellowed fine line drawings to more colorful mechanical renderings. Even as the scenes change with ever-greater speed, the human hand plays a role in every frame. Very thoughtfully conceived and executed. Read More »