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