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Work / Graphic Design

KittoKatsu develops a speculative identity for Dusseldorf’s Japanese Quarter

Design agency KittoKatsu has designed an identity for ‘Little Tokyo,’ the Japanese quarter of Dusseldorf. “Little Tokyo is not only a fun place to eat sushi or have a cup of sake after work, it is also a unique fusion of Japanese and Rhineland culture,” says Vera Henco managing director of KittoKatsu. “Reflecting this special character while creating a strong and independent voice for the district was the goal in developing the Little Tokyo identity.”

This self-intiatied project mixes traditional elements of Japanese culture such as the maneki-neko (welcoming cat) or the onigiri (rice balls) with typical Rhineland icons like the Altbier (old beer) or Flönz (blood sausage) in simple images. Used with a palette of bold colours and clean crisp typefaces, the agency has developed a modern identity which is playful yet respectful of heritage and culture. “ The identity speaks as much of the city as it does for the Japanese community,” says Vera. “In creating an identity for Little Tokyo, we wanted to give the district its own voice, so that it can communicated across the city limits.”

Now that the concept has been developed, the studio is testing the idea with city representatives to see if there is a way of making the identity official. “Developing the initial concept and first designs has merely been the first step for us,” explains Vera. “We really believe in this project as a way to support intercultural understanding and a good means for the city and the Japanese community to communicate this unique fusion of two cultures. Now that the project has been so well received by the design community, we really hope to gain some momentum to be able to actually put it into action.”

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