Brilliant Japanese Product & Packaging Design

It’s been more than a month since the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. It is one of the most devastating natural disasters of the century, having caused thousands of deaths to our brothers and sisters in Japan.

On a lighter side, let us remember what the crazy creative Japanese brought to the world. They are innovators, not imitators. One great difference I saw between Western and Japanese package and product design is the amount of energy and life found in the latter. Most Western packaging appeared limited, merely ‘contained’ on the canvas or package. Whereas Japanese design is more alive, spirited and energetic. Japanese packaging is created not to just contain the product, but has a unique soul of its own. It’s easy to tell–most of the packaging and product designs are based on nature and all things cute. In fact, they go through lengths to add tiny details like faces, eyes and smiles to products to make it more ‘kawaii’. Charming mascots, sweet characters and happy faces definitely sell in the company, and cute characters will definitely lure consumers into buying their products.

Here are some of the most brilliant product and packaging design brought to us by Japan–all weird and wonderful.

Kudamemo Fruit-shaped Notepads

Japanese brought us so many ‘kawaii’ items, or objects that are so good and yummy enough to be eaten. The Japanese taught us to see life from a more humorous perspective, even during the most mundane times like working in the office. Some of the more interesting takes on mundane office items are things like what Japanese design studio D-Bros brought us. D-Bros created awesome sticky notes that looked like sliced fruit.

The notepad is designed by Masashi Tentaku. The stem is an actual tree twig. The notepad has 150 sheets of notepaper. It is sold individually or in a 6 pack. It looks so realistic–it even comes with the netting like the actual fruits!

The Kudamemo sticky pads are available in apple and pear. The note pads look pretty on your desk, it makes a great decoration or gift.

Plastic Watering Cans

Could you imagine a watering can or a flower vase made out of a very thin plastic sheet? Sounds absurd, but it’s totally workable and practical.

Photo by JP Design

This quirky product design is again brought to you by the Japanese design company D-bros. It takes brilliant creativity to make a cheap material like plastic look beautiful, classy and elegant. D-bros has once again created an innovative design, using a flat plastic sheet as a watering can to water flowers and plants. In addition, you can also use them as a flower vase!

Image by JP Design

Did I mention that the company also made flower vases made of the same material?

Brilliant Package Design for Fruit Boxes

Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa takes packaging design to a whole new level through literalist design. Most brands and packaging nowadays bombard users with texts, fonts, colors and elements to stand out from the supermarket shelf. Fukasawa takes the road less traveled and created these brilliant packaging designs.

Above is the photo of Fukasawa’s brilliant design for a banana flavored juice box. He simulated the look, feel and texture of the fruit flavor contained inside. His design for a juice box is brilliant, vibrant and creative.

Naoto Fukasawa also designed fruit boxes for strawberry, kiwi and even tofu for a fruit box for soya milk.

Flower Packaging Design for Mizu-Yokan

You may have noticed by now that Japanese design tends to be inspired by nature–and the same is the case for the packaging design for a confectioner named Koujuken in Nara.

Image by PingMag

The flower packaging design is beautiful; giving careful attention to meticulous design and detail. It shows that the sweets are as natural and great tasting as the package implies. The packaging design celebrates the July flower Morning glory, with the foil printed with matte and gloss. It is sealed with a leaf fastener, looking like and pretty origami flower.

Lightbulb Lanterns by Kyouei

Japanese designer Kouichi Okamoto marries both traditional and modern design to come up with a contemporary, conceptual take on the Japanese lantern.

The lantern mimics that of an ordinary, modern lightbulb, but the materials used are that of the traditional paper lantern. It even comes with the text and elements to make it look like the real thing. The design first appeared during the 2008 Stockholm Furniture Fair, but is now available in for purchase.

Japanese Kawaii Matches

How can you make a cute design out of ordinary matches? Seem impossible? The Japanese apparently didn’t think so.

Image by The Dieline

Looking at the kawaii designs with their cute tiny heads and grins, it seems like sparking a light with these matches is a crime.

Tohato Caramel Corn

The packaging features cute characters with different expressions, along with the caramel corn inside the character’s mouth. It’s bright, colorful and eye-catching–certainly this will be the first snack in the grocery shelf that will catch your attention.

Image by Japan-Talk

Image by Jay-Han

Nendo Chocolate Pencils

Image by Architectradure

Image by JP Design

These chocolate pencils are practical and smart, great for garnishing chocolates and desserts. Chefs and chocolate lovers can use the special pencil sharpener that comes with it, in order to grate the chocolate on a dish.

The chocolate pencils are a collaboration with Nendo and patisserie Tsujiguchi Hironobu, the master behind dessert shops Mont St. Clair & Le Chocolat de H. Every meal and dessert plate is a masterpiece, just like a painting. And like a painting, it starts with a blank canvas and some art tools–thus the design of these chocolate pencils.

Minimalist Milk Packaging

A minimalist and fresh packaging for the Milk Forest brand that was created by Japanese design studio Rise Design Office. It looks fresh like the milk it contains, having been produced by cows that have been living in the forest freely throughout the year. You know what they say–the happier the cow, the better the milk!

Image by Vizeer

Other Amazing Japanese Packaging Design

Nachan Drink - Apple-flavored drink can

Image by Ochigo

Akanbe Felt Bag – a multi-purpose bag that can also be spread out into a mat. And we can’t help but love the smiley bag handle.

Image by JP Design

Chichiyasu Yogurt - charming, sweet characters definitely sell, especially with dairy products

Image by PingMag

Ajinomoto - Ajinomoto Salt Packaging in Japan.

Image by Hola Design

Monokuro Boo - Eye candy packaging

Image by Jamesbowskill

‘Alphabet’ Cigarettes - Regular, Heavy and Cool Mint cigarettes with minimalist packaging. The packaging is also a portable, mini-ashtray.

Image by PingMag

Rachel Arandilla

Rachel Arandilla is a curious subject -- she appreciates things that are quirky & clever. She loves spontaneity and adventure. She is a carefree soul, has a deep love for travel, culture and languages. And she's beginning to wonder she keeps on referring to herself in third person perspective.

15 Smart Tools To Help You Build Your Freelance Business

Discover the awesome tools we use in making our clients comfortable and happy in learning new things every day.

Download Now

Comments

  1. Brandon says

    I think it’s a good idea to gift someone a basket full of food products as we all know that packaged food products look so nice when well decorated in a basket. I think chocolates, wafers, different kinds of cookies, etc will make your basket full of love and also food products. It will be a good gift as far. Really what a beautiful way to present a product.

    Packaging Design

  2. says

    Those packaging designers are genious, very impressive. One thing I’m not sure, are those packaging design a concept or are there already available somewhere?

    • dreizehn says

      These products are sold in real. Not concept designs. Oh, Alphabet Cigarettes seems discontinued.

  3. Andre says

    Wow – thank you for this astonishing set of fine “art”.

    I really love the focus japanese have on details. It’s the little things that makes it special. Just like in life… ;-)

  4. Manouchka says

    Japanese aesthetics are quite unique in their minimalistic and playfulness always with pure shapes. Its all the more interesting how it goes from packaging to fashion and to the way spaces are furnished. For me the best designs are beautiful and practical, which Japanese designers are able to “nail” very well.

  5. says

    Great feature of those cute Japanese packages! I tell you, they got a million of those things and you can even find them in almost any convenient stores nearby.

  6. Brummie says

    Wow! Kudos for the Japanese people! It’s not just brilliant idea. This is very elegant packaging design. The “Kudamemo Fruit-shaped” is so yummy to look, their uniqueness of the Japanese showed up. Above the tragedy that they encountered still they are strong stood up.

  7. Philip says

    Great designs. Love the fruit memos. That transition between first and second paras – not so much. Very clunky.

  8. Rocket Bunny says

    Beautifully creative.Love the color combinations.I like the chocolate pencils.

  9. Monica says

    Thank you for linking to my blog! as you can see, I’m a big fan of Japanese packaging design.

  10. Jack says

    “On a lighter side, let us remember what the crazy creative Japanese brought to the …”

    Worst transition statement in the history of language!

  11. says

    These are so innovative!! I love them!!! Makes me wish I had thought of them first haha! My favorite was definitely the package design for the fruit boxes :)

  12. says

    Blown away by the simplicity of the fruit boxes. Fruit envelopes scream “Designer!” even more so now. Thank you for posting this.

  13. Adrian says

    Wow…I love the Kiwi Fruit drink box and the chocolate pencils. Very clever.

  14. Carlos Viloria says

    Definitely inspiring, it appreciates the imagination to make this type of design