Creative Industry Report: Kashiwa Satō

Creative director Kashiwa Satō has not only electrified the design world but also injected vitality into struggling companies and stodgy institutions with his bold, innovative approach to branding. He launched his own design studio, Samurai, in 2000. His profession focuses ranging from logo design, product design to the orchestration of comprehensive branding strategies and even architectural design direction. Some of his high-profile clients as Honda; the National Art Center, Tokyo; Seven-Eleven Japan; NTT Docomo; Uniqlo; and Meiji Gakuin University.

Throughout his works, there are always inspiration from the Japanese culture and traditions within. His philosophy is that a brand has to be simple, memorable, and direct. Satō has proudly honed an approach of “iconic branding”. His idea is to identify the core message which he wants to bring across, then to design an icon to aid in bring the message further, succinctly and instantaneously across linguistic and cultural barriers.

Icon = Logo

Sato chose red and white, which he said instantly identifies Uniqlo as Japanese because it is reminiscent of the country’s flag. “logo” goes beyond the actual physical illustration. It becomes the visual pivot point from which comes the representation of the brand anywhere it appears. It’s the typeface, the color scheme, the placement and arrangement of those visual elements that take a brand beyond.

Icon = Space

Branding adapts beyond digital representation, color scheme, and message. Branding is the space you inhabit. He attributes his branding success to listening. Based around the concept “Architecture of kindergarten itself is one gigantic playground,” he contrived a building with a large wooden roof where children could learn and play.

Icon = Method

A rebranding project for the Imabari towels, a mainstay of the local economy of Ehime Prefecture. Where the Imabari towel industry was struggling in the face of cheap foreign competition. Capturing the essence of their complicated woven jacquard patterns and their amazing softness and absorbency in which he then uses a pure white towel to portray the message of “trust, safety, quality”. The logo also stands out from the white towel itself, the white in the logo stands for gentleness; the blue evokes the soft water of the Imabari region and conveys trust and safety; and red is a symbol of the sun and vitality.

All in all, Kashiwa Satō delivers a fresh perspective of design to the world but not to forgo his Japanese culture. His designs are not only clean, simple yet direct but also how everything has been carefully considered whether it be the architecture, product design, promotion and launch of a brand. The complete package.




Williams, S. (2020). Kashiwa Sato: Branding is limited by tradition & common sense | 816 New York. Retrieved October 2020, from

Journey to the West | Research & Moodboard

In group with Yan Ran and Jiaying.

Silk Road began in the Han dynasty period. Its a journey from China to rome. Some of the goods sold are silk, jade.. etc For our concept the 3 things we would be be focusing on will be its journey, the scenery along route and the calligraphy strokes during the Han dynasty period. We tried to incorporate this element of elbphilharmonie into our concept. Which resembles desert and there are many layers to this element. We are also inspired by the colour schemes of these few design. And therefore we decided to incorporate these earthy tones, Like yellow and brown for our own design.

There are 2 main elements in our design, brushstrokes and waves. Why we decide to use brushstrokes is to represent both the scenery and the trade route. The strokes starts from right to left to represent the journey, Xi’an to rome, which starts from east to west. Another reason that we start from right is because of the Reading and writing habits of Ancient Chinese. Co-currently, there will be more strokes coming in from the left side which represent the scenery along the Silk Road. There are 3 reasons why we chose to use brushstrokes is to depict the history of the Silk Road.

First reason is because the pressure of the brush strokes can be control, it can be both gentle and harsh. Which helps to create a dynamic movement and a sense of depth. Second reason is the strokes on paper look like the track left on sand, is it like the traces that are left behind by the traders/ people that have travelled along this Silk Road. And lastly, as how we do our calligraphy manually, it portrays the times where there wasn’t any advanced technology as people had to manually transport the goods across the country. We intend to use waves to portray the essence of mountain, desert and the ocean in an abstract way. There were more than one route in the Silk Road. Maritime route were also an important part of this network, linking the east and the west by sea. Hence, we decided to use waves in our piece.


Deliverable 1 & 2

Deliverable 1

Awareness poster;

Environmental advertising;

Deliverable 2

Pull tab cards;

Served as educational materials to be given out during the day of campaign or given out to students.

Pulling the tab to reveal the x-ray underneath. The used of red is to emphasize the risk of plastic surgery. With the tagline “It is as fragile as it is”.

Task 1A: Exploratory Research

Current issues confronting our world today:

1. Food wastage;

Many may not take the importance of food wastage where because the convenience of getting food anywhere but nearly one-third of the food that is produced in the world is lost or wasted due to one reason or the other. Food wastage, which includes both food loss and food waste, is not only morally irresponsible, but also causes huge economical losses as well as severe damage to the world around us. The UN estimates that one in nine people in the world do not have access to sufficient food to lead a healthy life.

Food wastage leads to harmful effects on the environment as well, when all food waste that ends up in landfills produces a large amount of methane – deadlier than CO2. Excess amounts of greenhouse gases such as methane, CO2 and chlorofluorocarbons absorb infrared radiation and heat up the earth’s atmosphere, causing global warming and climate change.

2. HIV-related stigma and discrimination;

In 35% of countries with available data, over 50% of people report having prejudice, negative attitudes, abuse directed and discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. People nowadays have the perception of HIV/AIDS can be transmitted like wildfire and it is always associated with death. And people that are contracted with HIV/AIDS is the result of personal irresponsibility or moral fault, deserves to be punished.

“My daughter refused to go hospital to receive medicines. My daughter died because of the fear of stigmatisation and discrimination” – Patience Eshun from Ghana, who lost her daughter to an AIDS-related illness

3. Mental disorders;

Society has stereotyped views about mental illness and how it affects people. Many people believe that people with mental ill health are violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people. Nearly nine out of ten people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their lives. People with mental health problems are amongst the least likely of any group with a long-term health condition or disability to find work, live in decent housing or even be socially included in mainstream society.

4. Cosmetics surgery;

Does cosmetic surgery really make people feel better about their bodies? In posts across Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, women have been denouncing the use of cosmetics and a culture that pressures as many as one in three women to undergo some form of plastic surgery. As society conforms to a set of standards for beauty, people are constantly trying to meet the standards also due to the convenience of cosmetics surgery.

Topic chosen: Cosmetics surgery

The media is full of makeover programmes glamorising cosmetic surgery and celebrities who look ever more perky. Subliminally and not so subliminally, our culture is changing how humans feel they should look. There is increasing pressure to look young and beautiful, especially for women, who are still more likely to be judged on appearances, particularly in the workplace. Although some statistics say people are happier after cosmetic surgery, those statistics (and the self-reported happiness) are just as skin-deep as the surgery itself. The truth is, people who pay thousands of dollars to go under the knife to change their appearance are engaging in a last resort to save their plummeting low self-esteem. There will be long term psychological effects of not being satisfied with the outcome of the surgery, hence constantly going for multiple surgeries to aim for perfection in their outlook.

Target audience:

Targeting mainly on women aged 17 to late 20s whereby one South Korean survey found that more than 60% of women in their late 20s and 40% of women in their early 20s had had a cosmetic procedure. Overall, 85% of people who have cosmetic surgery are women. People believe they will be happier and more successful if they conform more closely to these cultural norms.

This is often due to impossible standards of beauty set by society through the media. Celebrities who causally share their surgical journeys with their fans contribute to the normalisation of cosmetic procedures and increase the perception that these surgeries are harmless. Which makes them having the wrong impression of “since everyone’s doing it, it can’t be that dangerous, right?”

Visual reference:

Nose Cup

Agency: DDB | Client: Toronto Plastic Surgery | Medium: Plastic Cups | Year: 2006

This ad cleverly made use of literally plastics cup to symbolise the plastic surgery procedure and the perfection of nose and lips were printed on the cup. When a woman holds the cup and drinks from it, the design covers the user’s nose and lips to show that there’s nothing perfect under the portrayed perfection in the society.

Client: Simple Beauty Plastic Surgery Clinic | Medium: Advertisement | Year: 2015

A family portrait is displayed with both their parents, the mother and the father looking dashingly good but not the three kids. With the tagline “Explaining to your kids will be the only thing you need to worry about.” The fact that both their parents had undergone cosmetics surgery to look good but genes is something you cannot escape from, hence the three kids have their parents’ ugly genes.

100%YOU Campaign

Medium: Interactive Media | Year: 2017

100%YOU Campaign by Shaily. Her mission is to get young Asian women to change their perception of beauty by disregarding the monotony of the societal standards of beauty dictated by the media and get them to appreciate their unique and natural selves.

Dialogue in the dark

I have always thought that this was the same as the dining in the dark experience but didn’t expected it was more of a walk through. Initially I was kind of scared where I constantly thinking that I might trip over someone or hit someone with the stick. Therefore, I was laughing non-stop to make my presence known. After a few minutes in the dark, I kind of felt that I was being trapped and a little suffocating. But after sometime within the total blackness, The other senses rather than sight became more sensitive than ever. Especially the sense of touch and hearing. 

I kept relying on the walls or the person in front of me. Or whenever I couldn’t feel the person’s shoulder in front of me, I felt super lost and helpless all of a sudden. This is where I truly felt the importance of sense of sight. Near to the end of the tour, I then realised that the visually impaired have to go through the specific route times and times again to have it memorised in their head. 

This experience let me gained insight that we do not take any of our senses for granted where others may be as privileged as us. Also the understanding of the power of imagination+sense of touch, smell, hearing, where in this case the imagination takes control over sight. Everything we feel and smell would create an image in our heads.

The ideal of role-playing in design research studies is important whereby one may “step in one’s shoes” and whereby it can make us think much further and not just the surface for our designs. And also to strengthen our observations of the world.