Cannes Lions

Experience Japan Pictograms

NIPPON DESIGN CENTER, Tokyo / EXPERIENCE JAPAN PICTOGRAMS / 2021

Presentation Image
Supporting Images
Supporting Images

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

EXPERIENCE JAPAN PICTOGRAMS are a novel set of visual symbols developed for people of all cultures and ages to enhance their tourism experience in Japan. It is a part of our agency’s ongoing effort to visualize the allures of Japan and promote Japanese tourism.

We saw that as global interest in Japanese tourism rose, there was a need for a unified set of functionally and aesthetically well-designed pictograms to serve as part of the basic infrastructure for tourism in Japan. This self-initiated project, run by a professional team of designers, copywriters, animators and web developers on an experimental budget, aims to both galvanize the Japanese tourism industry and spark tourists’ interest in Japan. Hence, all of the 280+ pictograms are available for free, even for commercial use. We hope that this project will ultimately alert the global tourism market to the power that design has to visualize hidden values.

Idea

Our core mission is to “support tourism in Japan from a visual design perspective”. We designed these uniquely simple and easy-to-understand pictograms under the key concept of a “second encounter with Japan”. On the website, pictograms are accompanied by animations and whimsical column text that invite visitors to explore and enjoy Japan a little deeper. With both an easy-to-use set of pictograms and an engaging website to distribute them, EXPERIENCE JAPAN PICTOGRAMS will aid both the Japanese locals wishing to entice global visitors, and the tourists who wish to gain a deeper understanding of Japan. It is our sincere wish that the pictograms will evoke the interest of present and future visitors of all cultures and ages and enrich the tourism experience of Japan.

Execution

The pictograms were designed in pursuit of originality, universality, and flexibility. The curves and negative spaces of the pictograms are carefully engineered to create maximum visibility on any medium— including but not limited to paper, digital displays, and outdoor signage. Each pictogram can be used by reversing black and white or changing colors for a broad range of applications. The possibilities are infinite for each user to explore.

The website is designed for users to get the most out of the pictograms. Pictograms are easily searchable and downloadable, and their informative blurbs engage the audience further into the unique cultural allures of Japan. Animations and animated pictograms allow for a deeper look into the seemingly complex traditions and culture of Japan.

The assets work together to provide a platform and a set of minimum tools to convey basic information about Japan, as well as its diverse aspects.

Outcome

In the month after the release of pictograms, more than 5500 organizations and individuals worldwide downloaded the pictograms for use in a variety of media. Individuals who organically sympathized with the project have spread the word on social media, resulting in a maximum of over 23,000 page views per day. The positive feedback that we are receiving surpasses our expectations and signifies that people from around the world are instinctively recognizing the power of visual design in cultural storytelling. Overseas users have told us that a versatile and culture-specific set of pictograms would be desirable in their countries as well, signifying this idea’s potential to spread beyond Japan. We aim to continuously create new sets of pictograms based on user feedback in the coming months, as well as collaborate with government and corporate entities to galvanize the discussion of promoting Japanese tourism in this day and age.