Kanai: Following our guidelines, we started adapting the color bars design theme for perimeter boards, promotional souvenirs, and other applications. Perimeter boards in particular are in the spotlight, always in view. We needed a layout that kept these colorful lines and the Sony logo clearly visible.
The tricky part was striking the right balance with the logo size. Ideally, all the letters of SONY must be visible when the logo appears in a segment on TV or a sports journalist's photo. But boards in some positions appear on camera more than others, and cameras pan across boards at different speeds. If we merely arranged the logo evenly across the space, only half of it might be visible at decisive moments. Effective design required delicate adjustment. Logo size varies depending on location (whether along the sidelines or by the goal line), and the letter spacing is based on an estimate of the camera angle.
Our work was complicated by the fact that board aspect ratios vary by stadium. And how corporate logos on the boards are lined up varies between printed boards and digital signage. Unfortunately, in most tournaments, we're not allowed to visit the stadium beforehand and check. This makes it critical to run simulations with computer graphics that are as realistic as possible. Working with photos of stadiums, we superimposed color bars and the Sony logo in the advertising areas. As we studied the simulations, we fine-tuned the balance of the logo layout. And then we repeated this process for each venue. All of this work went into preparing the perimeter boards that everyone who watches on TV or sees the matches in person will see.
Sumita: If introducing the color bars design theme was Phase 1 of our work, Phase 2 was taking this concept to new levels. I joined the project just as we were entering this second phase. There are many opportunities to demonstrate this design theme, whether on flat surfaces or in three-dimensional spaces. We needed to step forward in Japan and other countries to show people new possibilities in creative expression.
With a flat surface as our canvas, we began by designing magazine ads before moving on to online media. So far, our color bars had been quite abstract and intellectual. I changed this by adding player silhouettes to make the bars more emotionally engaging. Moving on to spatial design, in November 2008 I oversaw a special event at the Sony Building in Ginza. The entire building—from the fašade outside to the walls on each floor and the elevator interiors—was transformed into a giant canvas for the sport. More recently at stadiums, we also took the opportunity to add some color to hospitality areas and the background walls where interviews are conducted, which had been black and white. This was how we tweaked our color bars to make the world they frame fresher and more entertaining.
To maintain a consistent image, we make an effort to respond to inquiries about local applications of this promotional design around the world. There's a significant degree of freedom of expression and implementation where color bars are used. But on the other hand, the slightest change in some details (such as the number of bars or the combination of colors) can skew the impression it gives. Because satisfying design depends a lot on elements that appeal to our senses, it's hard to rely solely on verbal descriptions when collaborating. In this case, I join in and try to find the best combination of design elements. I consider it our duty, so that our statement with the color bars is conveyed correctly.