[5th font adventure] Pursuing a happy relationship between management and design-Akihiro Nishizawa, Eight Branding Design


Hello, this is sales department Ando.

For the 5th "Adventures around Fonts", we visited the head office in Minami-Aoyama to talk to Akihiro Nishizawa, the representative of Eight Branding Design Co., Ltd.

In “The Adventures Over Fonts,” I've had many opportunities to talk to people with experience in the editorial world. Here Because of this, Mr. Nishizawa who has appeared this time has a background that he was enrolled in the Department of Architecture at a university. How did learning in the architectural field connect to your life? Please enjoy including the unique way of seeing the design that he saw from the company called Eight Branding Design.

Akihiro Nishizawa

Born in Shiga Prefecture in 1976. Representative of Eight Branding Design Co., Ltd. Based on the concept of "Energizing Japan with branding design," he is engaged in design activities in a wide range of genres, including company brand development, product development, and store development. With our unique design development method called "Focus RPCD®", we are engaged in a number of consistent branding designs including research, planning, and concept development. Main work is craft beer "COEDO", green tea cafe "nana's green tea", Sangetsu "WARDROBE sangetsu", IT venture "Osvision", Yamasa soy sauce "Maru ponzu", specialty coffee "Horiguchi coffee", handwoven carpet "Yamagata" "Matsudori", mower maker "OREC", Hakata "Kego Shrine", etc. His recent book, "Architectural Thinking Techniques for Realizing Ideas" (Nikkei BP).

Moving for the evolution of "branding design"

--Mr. Nishizawa, it's been a long time sincerely! It's been a few years since I held a font licensing seminar at your company.

Nishizawa: Thank you for that section. Thanks to that, we have become "the most detailed design company in Tokyo regarding the use of fonts" (laughs).

--I'm very sorry (laugh). We met for a long time, so please tell us about your recent major activities.

Nishizawa: I just published the book "Architectural Thinking Techniques for Realizing Ideas" the other day (September 24, 2019). This is a series of Nikkei Design's series of plans, and is mainly intended for people who studied architectural design when they were a student, but who have advanced to fields other than architecture. .

In this book, I advocate the idea of "architectural thinking" and write that the architectural design idea can be applied to other fields.

After studying architecture as a student, Nishizawa himself interviewed 8 creators (Rhizomatiks representative Seiichi Saito, studio-L representative and community designer Ryo Yamazaki, etc.) who are active in pioneering new fields. However, "Architectural Thinking Techniques that Realize Ideas, Architectural Thinking," which explored the origin of their thinking methods. "Tsukushi Gothic" is used in the title and Heading of the Text. Now on sale at bookstores and online!

――Mr. Nishizawa, you had a major in architecture at university, so that's the idea. I think the details will be "buying a book and reading it" (laughs), but can you briefly touch on the essential point of the book, architectural thinking?

Nishizawa: It wouldn't be good if the building had a cool surface only. Recently, the construction of elementary schools and kindergartens is very interesting, but the interior space, as well as the appearance, has changed completely from our time. Nowadays, there are no partitions for each classroom, or the classrooms and corridors are connected. What is happening is that the structure of the class and the relationship between teachers and students are changing. The management of the school, that is, the management changed, the messages sent by the school changed, and the design of the school changed as a result. This is the flow.

In today's era, designers are required to grasp the organization's way of thinking more than the surface design, form a partnership from the most rooted part to design the way of thinking, and achieve it as a team. Is that important?

-- Thank you. However, even before this "Architectural Thinking Techniques for Realizing Ideas", I have been busy with the publication of several design books in the last few years.

Nishizawa: I have to publish one book every two to three years, and I also invite creators who are active on the front lines as guests to work in each specialized field. We regularly hold a talk seminar called "Creative Night" to give a lecture on.

--What a stoic (laughs). “Creative Night”, in which Mr. Nishizawa himself waving the flag, is a very interesting initiative.

Nishizawa: The characteristic of architects is that they regard processes as works. Output = work is a matter of course, but I think the process is also a work. Once the process has been settled to a certain degree, I also have a culture that asks the world about it.

The “Creative Night” is actually built to study the process, and in the first half, guests are asked to talk about their specialized fields in a seminar format, and in the second half, I just dig deep into the Styles. In that way, we will delve into the creative secrets of becoming a guest person.

――Why do you have such a structure?

Nishizawa: It's just fun (laughs). Calling people I respect and organizing the context of those people and digging them can be my own research. It's already a hobby (laughs).

Above all, in order to further advance the Categories of branding design, we must always meet new processes and contexts. I myself have the pride of being a pioneer in the area of branding design, and I think it's important to work with a wide range of people from various industries in order to spread the word to the world.

The state when "Creative Night" was held. As Mr. Nishizawa deeply digs into the creative secrets of the guests who are at the forefront of the industry, visitors and Mr. Nishizawa will encounter new processes and contexts, further accelerating the evolution of branding design.

――I hear that your company regularly holds in-house study sessions, and sometimes reading assignments are given.

Nishizawa: I would like the staff to gain a new perspective by reading books, and a study session that incorporates reading tasks in order to prevent the situation of "Language mismatch" between me and the employee. I am doing.

For example, even if the word "management" is used, I can't get a job done because the management I think and the management the staff think are the same, but they are not the same. We are always conscious of improving the management and design literacy of our employees so that the meaning and recognition of words do not shift.

――I personally felt that under the leadership type representative, there are members with high consciousness to respond.

Nishizawa: Yes, I have a high level of awareness, but I think there are many strangers (laughs). Including me.

"I want to master design management!"

--Mr. Nishizawa says that "architecture" is at the core of your life. Could you tell us again how you got to work in design?

Nishizawa: I was studying architecture at Kyoto Institute of Technology, but while I was in school, a systematic study of "design management" (Department of Design Management Engineering) was launched for the first time in Japan. I feel that it is wonderful to study design management in that department and not only create things and shapes, but also have a total field of involvement from the perspective of management, so I want to master design management! The hugging is the starting point that leads to the present.

――“Design management” is a word that is honest and unfamiliar.

Nishizawa: “Design management” is the idea of using design as a management resource, and means that a design-based way of thinking is integrated with management.

-- So that's it. Nishizawa, who wanted to pursue design management, joined Toshiba after graduating from university.

Nishizawa: Yes. The reason for joining Toshiba is clear, and I wanted to join a company that faces design from a design management perspective. From that perspective, I was able to join Toshiba, which I had a close relationship with, while narrowing down to major electronics and car manufacturers.

The department I was assigned to after I joined the company was a development team that was unique in the design center, and I was in charge of everything from planning the proposals for power plants to design proposals, as well as being involved in the planning of upstream processes as a designer.

――In the end, how many years did you work for Toshiba?

Nishizawa: It's been 2 years. At first, I was supposed to be there for 5 to 6 years, but I was originally independent. I got too much momentum (laughs).

--Since you founded Eight Branding Design in 2006, you are finally in the stage of pursuing full-scale design management.

Nishizawa: It was hard work (laughs). I had no job at all. In such a state COEDO Shigeharu Asagiri, nana's green tea I had a chance to meet with Mr. Kuchiami. Both of you and I are still young, so let's get together and talk about our dreams. It seems that the two companies desperately working on design were so successful that other customers who saw it were connected seamlessly.

--Did your company have a big hit with COEDO and nana's green tea?

Nishizawa: Thanks to COEDO and nana's green tea, we are now. I respect the two owners, Asagiri and Kuchiami, and I still don't get up (laughs).

In the first place, I was able to say that I had to think about design from the management side, when there were no jobs to work with, I would say, "Let's do this kind of planning!" "Let's do this kind of design!" It was because he came to me. I was thoroughly trained there, and I think it's definitely because of you that I've come to understand that it's about designing management.

Based on Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, with the concept of "Beer Beautiful," COEDO beer continues to boldly take on the challenge of regional beer (craft beer). From the encounter with the co-ed Brewery morning fog Shigeharu president, logo and Packaging, corporate tool, WEB, it will be held once a year Event such as the design of "Koedobiru Festival", has been widely responsible. On the following day (October 1, 2019), it was reported that COEDO beer Packaging won the Asian Packaging design award, "Topawards Asia". Congratulations!
Under the aspiration of Mr. Kuchiami, who is the president of "Creating a cafe that nobody has ever done," nana's green tea is a matcha cafe brand that focuses on high-quality ingredients. Based on the brand concept "new Japanese shape", he is in charge of overall branding and design such as logos, menus, products and store interiors. Aiming at designing a new franchise system, we have expanded the number of stores with different interior designs at all stores under the concept of "modern tea room", and are currently growing at about 100 stores in Japan and overseas.

What is "3 levels of branding design"?

――By looking at your company's portfolio, I would like to hear about the rebranding of "Kego Shrine" which is located in the Tenjin area as a company of the Fukuoka head office.

Nishizawa: Based on a request from Mr. Yasufumi Maeda, the priest of Kego Shrine, "I want to keep the shape of the shrine and continue to exist 60 years later", we will rebrand the company after about 400 years. I went there.

The crest that has been used for over 400 years was a samurai crest that donated to the company, so while setting this as the main crest, it has an identity that represents the god's history of being "Mamoru." As a company crest, we have created a new design for the company crest. The identity was constructed by combining the basic forms of □ (shikaku) and 〇 (maru), which are extremely abstract.

――I think that it is a design that will surely remain in the world where no one is present right now without saying 60 years later.

Nishizawa: The kanji "Kou" was abstracted to express the company crest with □ and 〇. The color of the samurai crest (purple color) was inherited and developed without changing the flow of it. It doesn't seem to be designed. It's a logo I want to brag about (laughs). Of course, the trademark of the logo is also taken, and it is also secured as an intellectual property. It was also good that we rebranded Imasuka Inari Shrine, which was settled on the same site, and could change the crest in parallel with Kego Shrine.

In the first place, Miyata Maeda's idea of "I want to design a shrine from a branding perspective" is a genius. I think that the design was due to the decision of the priest as the manager.

Kego Shrine is located in the Tenjin district of Fukuoka. Eight branding design was in charge of rebranding, which is the change of company crest for the first time in about 400 years.

――Although the rebranding of Kego Shrine was foreseen by Miyashi Maeda, I think there is no doubt that your company's strengths will become apparent. As a background, Mr. Nishizawa originally set the concept of "3 levels of branding design" and is spreading it both inside and outside the company. Please tell me more about this as well.

Nishizawa: I think about the branding design in three layers of pyramid type. For example, at a restaurant, anyone can think of sticking to the taste (content) of the dish, and there is not much persistence of differentiation. In the true sense, the factors that are differentiating strongly and that leads to sustainability are the focus on the “background” that creates food and the management hierarchy.

If you create a differentiating factor in the management hierarchy, such as an employee education system, a store operation manual, etc., such a mechanism and management phase, the strength will continue as a brand for a long time. .. Then, we will make that strength concrete by design. This is the basic idea of the “three layers of branding design ®” that I consider. After much experience, this idea has finally come to be explained clearly. I will write in detail in the "Branding Design Textbook" that will be published next.

――Does your company not only Support the management at the top of the pyramid, but also the content in the middle and the communication at the bottom, all at once?

Nishizawa: That's right. Of course, the degree of involvement in each level is different. Almost 100% can be involved in the design of communication at the bottom, such as copying, planning, and graphics, but the design of content is about 30-50%, and at the strategic level of management, the degree of involvement is at most 10-20%. ..

However, there are almost no companies that give ideas to management strategies from the perspective of external creators, and it is important that the managers who are inspired by the ideas are creatively steering the strategies. So, I think it is the best methodology to create that flow.

――I think it is the timing when the foundation of the company has become even stronger for Eight Branding Design by focusing on the concept of "3 levels of branding design". What is Nishizawa's current interest? Is it in?

Nishizawa: The keywords are "local" and "community." We know that local people's efforts and how to create a community can be applied to branding, so we adopt the methodology for some projects. To tell the truth, we are steadily moving forward with plans to create a satellite office in Isumi City, Chiba Prefecture. It's not about making a welfare or work-style reform, but for evolving branding design (laughs).

――What a noble reason (laugh).

I want to make Japan more energetic through "branding design"!

--Sorry, Mr. Nishizawa's story was so interesting that I completely forgot that I was interviewing today as a font maker (laugh). Finally, please tell us a bit about fonts. Where did you come to use our typeface in the branding design process?

Nishizawa : " Chikushi typeface I think it's beautiful, "and I started using it. Beginning with the Chikushi typeface, it has a high level of "characteristics" including derivative fonts. I felt that the level of branding was high. You're still using it in the design field, mainly for the Tsukushi typeface.

―― 御社のクライアント様でも『LETS』をご契約頂いているところが数多く有りますよね。



―― 今年の8月にはクライアント様にWebフォント・サービス『FONTPLUS』を新規ご契約頂くなど、御社を基点に当社書体のご使用の輪が広がっており、本当に有難い限りです。


―― 今後も文字周りから御社を力強くご支援させていただきます!最後に、御社と西澤さんの「未来予想図」を教えてください。



―― 西澤さんご自身が一番楽しんでいる様子が窺えます。


―― 共感しかないです(笑)。本日は、貴重なお話をありがとうございました!

After Recording After the interview ...

By doing "branding design",
We are proposing to create a brand.
By not only making good things, but "telling good things correctly",
We will create a situation that many people can pick up.

Eight branding design Web site It is a place where the stance as a company is clearly stated in. "Properly convey what is good." It seems easy in words, but it's actually very difficult. They are seriously confronted by the method called "branding design". What impressed me most during the interview was the idea of "3 levels of branding design". The idea that differentiating in the management hierarchy will lead to further strengthening of the brand's power, I personally feel that it will be useful in the future.

In addition, the latest publication introduced by Mr. Nishizawa " Architectural thinking to realize ideas There was such a crap in the closing chapter of.

After all, learning begins with encounters. I read the article by Haruaki Deguchi, founder of Lifenet Life, who said that "people, books, and travel" are important for encountering new wisdom and knowledge. Meet different people, read different books, and go to different places. The input of such encounters creates new output.
(From pp.349 "To create a new design")

Through this interview, I was able to understand that Mr. Nishizawa himself is a manifestation of Mr. Deguchi's words, who constantly brush up the concept of branding design through the encounter with "people, books, and travel."

“I prefer the Japanese management Styles that people feel to be decent, rather than the systematic management with the division of labor that Western companies do,” says Nishizawa, who was involved in Japan based on an architectural approach. I can see that I will continue to guide the company strongly. Above all, I truly feel the happiness of being involved in a company with a high aspiration to "make Japan healthy" by making full use of branding design.

One unforgettable episode at the end.

"How many Type Designers is Fontworks right now?"
I started with a question to the author,
“Creatives support management. Design is a good example of being used as a management resource.”
"But it's better for a company to adopt a public relations stance of increasing the number of designers and doing corporate design!"

Mr. Nishizawa's corporate research on Fontworks started immediately during the interview (laugh).

Eight branding design Inside the company, the offering box was placed on the landing of the stairs. At the top of the offering box, there is a huge art work by Hisakazu Shimizu, which imitates Gennai Hiraga (1728-1780) called "Uchi no Shintai (the pioneer of promotion and branding in Japan)". The idea that the creative god will come down! "(Mr. Nishizawa). The collected offerings are dedicated to Kego Shrine. I felt that I had a glimpse of the "essence" of the company called Eight Branding Design, while casually balancing the art and the ecosystem in play.


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