Universal visual signs

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Aboard the Nozomi series Bullet train -

Most of the visuals used in both of these photos are universal, easy to
understand without the help of written language.

Universal language

It is only while living in a place where you can’t read the language
nor speak it, does it really make you understand how important expressions
and visuals are to you.
You got lost and need to find your way ? You might not understand the
Japanese that the person helping you is speaking, but you get the fact
that you need to keep going straight and then turn right.
You want vegetarian food ? The restaurant waiter shakes his head and you
can clearly read that –no way could you ever get completely vegetarian
food in Japan.
Smiles, gestures, body language are at times very important especially
when the language barrier comes in play.

We have somewhat universal signs for “Exit”, “Men’s room” ,
“Ladies room” etc. There are directional arrows to point you towards
the right gate at the airport. But can visuals truly be so
self-explanatory that anyone without any prior knowledge,background or
context about the visual be able to decipher it ?

Japan has fairly good signage system especially in tourist areas like
Kyoto and Tokyo.But how many can you actually decipher without any help
from a Japanese translator ?

During my stay in Japan I will try and study how strong can visual
language alone be and where, when and how could you best use translation.

Too Beautiful to Eat?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Posted by Picasa

Too Beautiful to Eat?, originally uploaded by moriza.

September Wagashi, originally uploaded by bananagranola.

Japan gives a high importance to visual look. How you present things
and how things "appear" are very important. This philosophy is very much
applied to food. If you check out the sweet sction in any store its a visual
treat. They are very detailed at times and their finish is very good.
Not only sweets, but lunch boxes at convenience stores are equally
presented beautifully.

I only really understood the degree of how important the appearance of
food is when I was having Zen buddhist lunch at a temple in Kyoto.
I was eating a sweet and saw that it had some small black granulated
substance all over. When I asked what it was, since it appeared to
have no taste of its own, I was informed that it was some herb just to
provide texture to the sweet.

So its not only how the food tastes, how you present the food and
how it looks, but also how it "feels".

Japan product design

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Found this awesome website that has archive of famous Japanese products
especially from 70's, 80's and 90's.
Really good to study the industrial design progression.


Packaging design

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The first most impressive thing about Japan's design that strikes you is their
beautiful and innovative packaging. Almost everything is beautifully packed, since in Japan its believed that the experience of unpacking a product is also a main part of your product experience(which can be seen in all Apple product designs esp. the iPhone).

Al thought at times its been debated if its wasteful putting so many layers of materials for a product.But Japan is now going green in the aspect too.

Here are some beautiful package designs :