-- uno has established great popularity as a men's cosmetics brand. What are the greatest changes in the recent renewal of its product packaging?
Hiraoka：Based on the theme of "simple and smart," uno has recently succeeded in appealing to young consumers. In these years, however, it has become less differentiated from competing products, and the unique brand character of uno is gradually disappearing from sight. These were the issues that we faced. In light of this, we have put in place branding efforts to clearly establish our target audience, and to redefine the original value of uno.
-- It seems that the company has created a new slogan each time the uno brand undergoes an update. What did the company perceive as the attributes and characteristics of the brand target for this update?
Hiraoka：While we have been targeting the brand at a generation that wishes to present a mature and chic image, we had narrowed down the target age group to those in their 20s to early 30s. To date, we have captured the male image of the era and changed our packaging to correspond with that image, such as the "free man" in 1992, the "simple man" in 1997, and the "casually chic man" in 2009. Now, the keywords and concept that have surfaced through long hours of research work and discussions are the "wealthy and mature man." While retaining our creative concept of "simple and smart," we have incorporated the image of versatility and mature confidence in this attempt to rebuild the core of the brand.
-- Based on the keywords that surface, what kinds of designs have you come up with?
Hiraoka：From the theme of "what is a wealthy man?," we first proceeded on the initial design work in a free and straightforward style, and came up with about 50 design draft proposals. The ideas were truly scattered and covered a wide range, from simple designs that sought to win out by typography alone, monochrome or geometric designs, and graphics with a strong sense of hybridity that symbolically combined two contrasting colors.
-- 50 design proposals is quite a large number. Graphics, black packaging, and logos that had not been a part of the uno image to date left a deep impression.
Hiraoka：The youth of today take a proactive attitude toward learning, and there is a tendency to value the current lifestyle while thinking about the future. These were the findings we obtained through many discussions. Taking that into consideration, we adopted an idea with the title "A Manual to be Gentlemen," which incorporates an instructional manual into the packaging to provide support for the user's evolution into the mature man proposed by uno. In addition, we also came up with a "How to" manual that contains styling images, and processed all these texts into graphical format.
-- What were the challenges faced in commercializing this design concept?
Hiraoka：uno is a mass-market product that sells more than 1 million items every year. Hence, we had to consider how to strike a balance with mass production. We carried out trial-and-error based on the criteria of factory production, and it was a challenging attempt to incorporate the passion for design into a mass-market product. Producing something new together with the factory staff under such conditions may also be one of the joys of being an in-house designer.
-- Other than that, what other aspects of design did you pay particular attention to?
Hiraoka：Ultimately, we came up with a simple design with a clear black base and a white logo, which exuded the sense of royalty that had been present when uno was first launched. We also added detailed updates, such as wax containers that are easy to stack up and which enhance the presence of the product at the storefront. Last fall, we also came up with a Star Wars collaboration, which is popular among regular uno users. Going forward, as we continue to upgrade the packaging, I hope that we will be able to communicate the core spirit of the brand directly to consumers.