Crossing borders to connect

We challenge frameworks and cross existing borders,
embracing diverse viewpoints, roles and positions,
to provide design that connect people, society and information.

With the times changing drastically, past experience and values are no longer sufficient to manage companies, organizations or local communities. New skills such as hypothesis generation, co-creation, and actualizing ideas, are becoming more and more important. This is why we try to transcend existing borders and frameworks for a wider viewpoint, understanding, ideating and creating together in collaboration with diverse players across different roles, such as clients and designers, or providers and consumers, in order to provide designs that are truly effective and can take root in reality. Our services include observation and analysis, concept ideation, product, space and communication design, and we also provide education programs for effective design driven organization management—all in a comprehensive context. Below are some examples of our design that “cross borders to connect.”


Signage and branding for the Marunouchi Hotel
Shared design literacy transforming an organization


Here we noted that all the values of a hotel finally resides in user experience. This is because when we observed the experience of a hotel from the guest’s point of view, we realized that everything from the overall brand concept, the space furnishing, and the interaction of the staff with the guests, to a single card or letterhead, is tied to the value of the experience.

From this learning, we strongly felt the need to make efforts beyond the existing design frameworks or business domains. So we began by sharing the basic “design literacy” with management and other staff in the hotel. Specifically, we first conveyed the relationship between the steps in the design process and resulting outcomes through a variety of case studies, to share a common understanding and expectation toward design. Then we worked in collaboration with our client throughout the entire process, from research and concept development to design verification and on-site management, to create a strong design from multiple perspectives and a system that will allow the hotel to proactively manage the design in the future. Among these, exchanging opinions with people in various positions was a very important process in identifying issues and building a design program.

For the final solution, we designed a system in which staff members can renew the design for each season themselves, based on the theme of “Japanese hospitality of sharing seasonal changes,” which was extracted from the hotel’s history. As a result, we were able to provide a design system that not only enhances the value of the guest experience, but also fosters a lasting sense of pride and motivation among the staff.

Artwork: mitografico

丸ノ内ホテルサイン・ブランディング 丸ノ内ホテルサイン・ブランディング


Design education projects for companies and municipalities:
Sharing design literacy for design driven organization management


Amidst the changing times, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage companies and local governments based solely on past experience. Concepts and methods of design, such as “hypothesis generation,” “collaborative creativity,” and “actualization” are attracting attention. Against this backdrop, we believe that in order to sustainably and proactively utilize design in organizations, internal changes are indispensable. Decision makers who can evaluate and judge design and employees and staff who can actively manage design are a necessity.

To this aim we are attempting a series of “design education projects” that makes use of our long years of experience in design practice and education. Specifically, we provide basic design training of controlling form and color to translate concepts into actual objects (concrete; Small d process,)* while at the same time facilitating collaborative creation workshops that deal with higher-level concepts such as research, analysis, concept formulation, and human resource development (conceptual; Big D process.)*

With one company we directed an exploration into their history and culture, a re-construction of their brand, and shared the results with the entire company, while at the same time providing a thorough basic design training for employee members. Furthermore, by designing actual products with consistency, the company succeeded in raising design literacy in both individual members and in the organization as a whole, leading to sustainable and deployable design management.

Hitachi, Ltd., Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd., Kyoiku-Shuppan. Co. Ltd., and others

* Small d here refers to design in the narrow sense, focusing on form and color, while Big D refers to design in the broader sense, including concepts, experiences and systems.



Visual identity planning for SC Foods Co., Ltd.
Crossing operational divisions to connect, Crossing job definition borders to connect


Crossing operational divisions to connect

SC Foods has developed as an operating company in food business within the Sumitomo Corporation Group. As the business expanded and grew in size, the need arose to develop its own visions and aims, in addition to the basic direction shared in the Corporation Group. Here was a need for a corporate identity renewal.

With future growth in sight, particular emphasis was placed on inner branding with the aim of increasing employee motivation. To this end, we selected members from across business divisions to work together with external partners (SIFT and GK) to share a common direction, and together with the development of a new logo, we aimed internal growth and improvement.
Here we placed special emphasis on bringing all the business units together and sharing internal differences coming from positions and awareness on the open table to explore a solution that all players could emphasize and share. After many discussions among the members, we finally reached a slogan, VI, and communication strategy that everyone could share.

After narrowing down the logo to several proposals, we explained the concept and held an internal vote. We listened to the members’ frank opinions, and by having them understand the process of translating aims and concepts into actual representations, a smooth decision was possible,


Crossing job definition borders to connect

Following the previous project we were asked to conduct a design workshop as part of Sumitomo Corporation’s 100th anniversary. After considering different approaches, we decided to hold a workshop to visualize the corporate message through design thinking.

Based on the corporate message “Enriching lives and the world” created for the centennial, each participant thought sincerely about what he or she wanted to convey, to whom, and how they wanted to express it. Using colored paper they each produced a unique design. Through this experience of non-verbal expression that they were unfamiliar with before, the participants were able to gain a hands-on feel of how messages are conveyed and what design is all about. By cultivating basic design skills that transcend job skills and roles in business, we believe we were able to share skills related to design evaluation, judgement and management.