The Importance of Objectivity in Packaging Design
----Mr. Kudo was involved in designing many masterpieces of packaging design until he left Shiseido in 2005. Designers Ms. Nagasaki and Mr. Muraoka, who would be considered his juniors in this field, described his designs as “fresh and surprising while retaining the character of Shiseido.” Could you give us some specific examples of these designs?
NagasakiThe Kudo design that left a deep impression on me was his design for the “qiora” brand. Although it has a very simple form, it leaves a powerful and intense impression on the mind. While remaining conscious of the character of Shiseido, the design gives a sense of innovation through elements such as the subtle curves. I think that these delicate twists are an attempt to communicate with the user. This is what makes the design so wonderful.
MuraokaI really like the “vocalise” perfume. I feel that the simple design is highly effective in many ways. Whether it is viewed from the front or the side, I am surprised and amazed that such a design is possible. It is packaging that offers much in terms of beauty and discoveries.
NagasakiIt is difficult to create a sense of delicacy and of the inner world within a simple design.
MuraokaI agree. When I began working in packaging design, I had a tendency to create forms that were compact. They tended to be shrunk. However, exposure to the boldness in Mr. Kudo’s work has given me a real sense of what comfortable design is like.
----Mr. Kudo, your works have had an impact on successive generations of Shiseido designers. At the time, what were the thoughts and ideas that you had in mind when you were producing these works?
KudoWhen I first started working, I thought that objectivity in design work was very important but we could not maintain it if we became too heated. I felt that an ego, represented by a desire to do things my way, would get in the way of design. I think that I maintained an attitude of constantly searching for the optimal answer to the work that was tasked to me, and carried out my design work from the perspective of objectivity.
----Perhaps it is vital to remember whom the design is for. Mr. Kudo, your attitude toward design may have been passed down to the designers of today.
KudoTsunekazu Nishioka, a shrine carpenter, wrote in his book Ki no inochi ki no kokoro (Life of trees and heart of trees) (1993) that “ultimately, the work of a shrine carpenter cannot be taught.” As an example, he wrote that the Shikinen Sengu, the rebuilding of Ise Jingu shrine, is held only once every 20 years, so there are extremely few opportunities to teach others directly at the site of the work. Even so, if the building is constructed properly, it is possible to learn many things when the structure is dismantled.
----In other words, by dismantling the structure, the skills and ideas of the craftsmen whom one has never met in person can still be conveyed.
KudoThat is why I am really happy to hear that Ms. Nagasaki and Mr. Muraoka were able to gain something through the products after seeing and touching the designs for “qiora” and “vocalise.” I would like to ask a question at this point. How do the two of you approach design? It may be a different process from the one we used in my younger days.
MuraokaTo expand and develop the image of the design, I collect as many hints and clues as I can, and draw sketches. In addition, I make prototypes over and over again.
NagasakiI believe the process itself has remained unchanged from the past. However, looking at Mr. Kudo’s designs, I get the sense that there were hardly any worries or doubts, but rather, that you arrived at the correct answer immediately.
“qiora” designed by Aoshi Kudo; recipient of the Mainichi Design Award (1998)
“vocalise,” a perfume bottle that leaves a strong impression with its smooth curves (1997)