--The direct mails (DMs) for 2015 express the colors of the changing seasons using photographs and advertising copy.
Hirokawa: The monthly DMs feature seasonal products that we recommend to purchasers through our clients, who mainly consist of cosmetics specialty stores, drug stores, and general merchandise stores (GMSs). The AD for the cover design changes every two years, and the position serves as a space for each individual to express themselves.
--On what theme were the 2015 DMs created?
Hirokawa: We produced the DMs by combining images of vast landscapes with materials with a focus on vibrant detail in the hope that together they would deliver a pleasant seasonal atmosphere and feel to the recipient.
--How did you pick the theme for each month?
Hirokawa: The theme for each cover was the feeling of the atmosphere and touch of the season. For example, for May I looked for a landscape with a bright and stunning green, while for October I looked for a landscape that expressed the month's slightly chilly and increasingly dry air. I decided the whole year while considering the overall coloring.
Hashiguchi: Regarding the advertising copy, first I worked on "creating a story" to serve as a link between the scene depicted by the photograph and the seasonal cosmetic information. Not just with this project but with all my work, I always feel a great deal of gratitude towards the customers who take the time to read my copies despite the limited number of hours in a day, even if it's only for a few seconds, or a few tens of seconds. In return, every time I work on a project I try to be creative in order to leave behind a sense of empathy and realization with the customers, such as "That's exactly right," or "This is new to me."
--How did the shooting proceed?
Hirokawa: We investigated and selected landscapes that would allow us to express the vivid colors of the different seasons in a manner that would feel well balanced when all 12 months were laid side by side. We limited the locations to within Japan, and looked for distinctive sceneries and terrains. We chose landscapes where we could create a composition of earth and sky with no obstacles in between. From there, we confirmed whether or not the locations were available for shooting during the period in which the materials were to be submitted. Sometimes we reorganized the shooting plan and proceeded with the shoot while considering the time of year, time of day, weather, and schedule. Since every shooting took place within a limited time period, we were staring at the sky for almost 24 hours a day in order not to miss an opportunity, gathering at 2 a.m. to watch the stars, at 4 a.m. to catch the morning sun, and during the day to capture blue skies.
Ito: As for the shooting locations, sometimes we asked a coordinator to find one for us, but we also referred back to landscapes that we had discovered in our private lives. For instance, one work featured a landscape that I had happened to find while travelling through the country by motorcycle. That was a good example of a time where my interests and those of the other team members met perfectly.
--Whether a person is in the landscape or not seems to significantly change the impression of these photographs.
Hirokawa: The person represents the image of, for example, a woman who walks positively towards her own goal. I created such an image in the hope that the viewers of the DM would overlap their own feelings with those of the image.
Hashiguchi: In addition to a person, sometimes animals such as birds are included in the photographs, so I wrote the copy differently depending on each character.
--Did you experience any trouble during the shooting?
Ito: The shooting site was always a one-shot deal, in that when we actually arrived at the site, sometimes we struggled to find a spot with a clear background, or we had to deal with the weather. With every shooting it was difficult to bring a uniformity to the pictures, which were taken in completely different locations.
Hirokawa: We made our best efforts to capture a moment from each season and to contain it within the square shape of the DM. We hope that people who see the DMs will feel the pleasant atmosphere and touch of the four seasons, and will spend a lovely time doing make-up and caring for their skin while enjoying the changing seasons.