Feature Design make.believe
Feature Design make.believe

From dynamic to static media

Maesaka:We also need to introduce the new make.believe brand message in print and other static media. This includes posters and concept booklets used internally as well as store signage, event displays, and other external media. My task was to adapt a dynamic logo to paper media without diminishing its impact or betraying the intentions of the original designers. To do it, I isolated the most symbolic elements in the traditional (2D) animated logo as resources for graphic design.

My creative palette consisted of curtains of light in two colors (representing make and believe) and the glow of the dot. But converting RGB source images to the CMYK color space for printing is not straightforward. The gamut is restricted, and it's hard to reproduce the original colors in print. What's more, paper properties, humidity at the time of printing, and other factors cause inconsistency in printed material. We paid close attention to the colors in our first internal posters, which set the standard for printing around the world. Our posters are created in about 40 languages. In printing, it takes a delicate touch to adjust hues, saturation, and contrast to match the original image.

And although we're all members of the same corporate group, graphic design guidelines vary among Sony companies. Our goal was to coordinate these guidelines and ensure a unified message from the group. Anticipating how the Sony logo and make.believe should be combined in graphic design, we created simulations of the print ads, brochures, websites, product packaging, store signs, and all the other static media of group companies that incorporate the logo, all around the world. After feedback from our local companies, we refined the simulations as needed. It was hard work, as we repeated this process. But it all seems worthwhile now that we see the new logo gradually being introduced by Sony group companies.

Design governance encouraging creativity

Ikeda:Our logo work was not finished when we distributed the final materials to group companies. Ensuring that it's used as intended in various areas, media, and scenarios, and that the concepts are conveyed accurately requires ongoing design governance. I've been working with the Group Marketing Communication Department (the make.believe project office) to manage overall project progress, help direct the establishment of logo guidelines, and even contribute to related copywriting.

What makes it difficult to establish guidelines is the fact that marketing conditions vary regionally and by group company. It would be easy to establish detailed rules on logo usage and prohibit all other usage. But because this would restrict creative expression, we wanted to avoid rules that were too strict. The guidelines we envisioned are not based on the logos themselves but on our brand message and the concepts involved. If there's a way to convey the intentions behind our message effectively, that's what we seek, and considering this possibility can inspire local creativity.

Toward this end, the department assessed local conditions by asking these representatives how we can express the new group message most effectively, and in this case, to cite any points to keep in mind. Their opinions were discussed by our make.believe working group, and in turn, our conclusions were documented. This process revealed that current guidelines needed to be refined, which slowed our progress. It was nerve-wracking to revise our guidelines so often. But ensuring flexibility in creative expression enabled unexpected, unique forms of promotion around the world, which are now seen at events and in stores.

Yamaguchi:Sony group companies represent an array of diverse cultures and marketing strategies. What enables us to understand and adapt to these conditions and speak with one voice (with a consistent message) is a team of in-house designers in close contact with top management. The make.believe logo project demonstrated the advantages we enjoy and was an excellent example of how affiliated departments and companies leverage our combined strengths.

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