Shoichiro Takei-Aira Bears Pable Cafe Series The Package of Sweets

At Design Interviews

(Excerpt) Interview with Shoichiro Takei : Frank Scott: What is the main principle, idea and inspiration behind your design?. Shoichiro Takei : My client’s sweets factory was in the middle of a gorgeous natural forest, in a district called Aira, so I thought up an imaginary animal called the “Aira bear” and that’s how the whole idea got started. (“Aira bear”, pronounced “Airaguma”, is a pun on “Araiguma”, or “raccoon”.) .Frank Scott: What has been your main focus in designing this work? Especially what did you want to achieve?. Shoichiro Takei : The most important thing for me was creating animals that would work well with the contents of the packages. After all, I was going with the idea that the “Aira Bear” owns a caf, and all the animals that work there make whatever sweets they’re best at. Take the baked donuts, for example; they’re not fried, so they’re healthy. It would take a wise old owl to come up with sweets that are actually good for you. The big eyes symbolize donuts as well. I made sure that the designs would give off a soft, gentle, heartwarming impression, but I also gave them a sort of cool nuance that doesn’t pander too much to the audience. .Frank Scott: What are your future plans for this award winning design?. Shoichiro Takei : I want this brand to grow into something that the whole world can enjoy, something whose taste and design can make people happy regardless of their age, gender, or country. .Frank Scott: How long did it take you to design this particular concept?. Shoichiro Takei : One week. .Frank Scott: Why did you design this particular concept? Was this design commissioned or did you decide to pursuit an inspiration?. Shoichiro Takei : The client originally wanted a chic metropolitan design, but the factory is in a forest way out in a rural area. I thought that those images would clash, so I asked, why not take advantage of what they already have? We could turn the rustic aspect into the strength and that's what I pressed on. I came up with three alternate proposals, and the client chose the one I presented in a heartbeat. .Frank Scott: Is your design being produced or used by another company, or do you plan to sell or lease the production rights or do you intent to produce your work yourself?. Shoichiro Takei : All of the characters and names for this design are the original creations of my company, but the trademark is registered under the client. .Frank Scott: What made you design this particular type of work?. Shoichiro Takei : In addition to my work in package design, I was also drawing picture books on the side. Before I worked on this project, I always felt hesitant, even guilty, about trying to approach package design with a picture-book mindset. But then, a few months before this design was born, I traveled to the Dick Bruna Museum in Holland. Seeing how he integrated his picture books with his designs really opened my eyes, and made me realize that I could use my picture-book skills in package design too. That became my motivation for this project. .Frank Scott: Where there any other designs and/or designers that helped the influence the design of your work?. Shoichiro Takei : Dick Bruna. .Frank Scott: Who is the target customer for his design?. Shoichiro Takei : Young women. .Frank Scott: What sets this design apart from other similar or resembling concepts?. Shoichiro Takei : The warm, gentle atmosphere of the whole thing, plus the presence of the characters with their organic lines. It’s sentimental and homey, but still has a taste of coolness, and that balance creates this whole unique world. .Frank Scott: How did you come up with the name for this design? What does it mean?. Shoichiro Takei : From the natural forest around the client’s sweets factory and the name of the city it’s in. .Frank Scott: Which design tools did you use when you were working on this project?. Shoichiro Takei : I drew out the characters with a pencil and drawing paper, then finalized the design with Illustrator and Photoshop for Mac. The textures use actual photos of the products (the bite mark on that donut is mine!). .Frank Scott: What is the most unique aspect of your design?. Shoichiro Takei : The storylike vision of imaginary animals working in a caf. For example, the next new product will also get its own animal to fit it, and get turned into a character, so every time a new product comes out the cast of characters grows and expands the idea of the sweets brand. It’s also easy to see this as a picture book or animation, so you can set up the image that the sweets are part of a story, and that adds value. .Frank Scott: Who did you collaborate with for this design? Did you work with people with technical / specialized skills?. Shoichiro Takei : I collaborated with an engineer to design the form of the boxes. We aimed for a tough, sturdy box that could be used around the house even after the sweets were gone (to put tissues in, etc.). The outside of the box is square and gives it the sense of sturdiness. The inside has softer, nicer curves. The contrast between them lets it strike that delicate balance between form and function. We went for organic lines, to go with the forest-animal motif. I also worked with a photographer. The dripping image on the chocolate package is actually a photograph of real chocolate that we melted and then drizzled on a pane of glass. Looking at it close up, you really become aware of the cacao inside. .Frank Scott: What is the role of technology in this particular design?. Shoichiro Takei : I tried to make each product look mouth-wateringly good. The rusk is golden brown, with a sweet smell and crisp texture . The baked donuts and roll cake are soft and moist. The chocolate is sweet and melts in your mouth. .Frank Scott: Is your design influenced by data or analytical research in any way? What kind of research did you conduct for making this design?. Shoichiro Takei : I don’t trust market research at all. You can base your whole business plan on it, but that won’t give your product an ounce of creativity or innovation. .Frank Scott: What are some of the challenges you faced during the design/realization of your concept?. Shoichiro Takei : I had some trouble at first convincing the client to go with the humorous name. Since “Airaguma” and “Araiguma” are so close, there was a lot of concern that the consumers would think that it was a misprint instead of a pun, but I tried to turn that into a selling point. Any customer who realizes it’s not a mistake (since the name is written in English) will want to tell their friends about it. Basically, everyone who buys the product becomes your advertising medium. That's the great thing about living in the information age. Even now, there are plenty of people uploading photos of these products to their blogs, raising more interest. .Frank Scott: How did you decide to submit your design to an international design competition?. Shoichiro Takei : One day I just got an email announc.[ End of Excerpt: Read complete interview with Shoichiro Takei on Aira Bears Pable Cafe Series The Package of Sweets at design-interviews.com ]

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