Research & Development

To begin researching further into what I should be putting into my travel guide i looked at many different websites that either specialised in traveling to Tokyo, or they had sections with information about the best places to visit in the metropolis etc.

I found out a lot about Tokyo’s history whilst looking on these sites, some as follows:

Tokyo ranked third in the Global Economic Power Index and fourth in the Global Cities Index.

The metropolis is considered an alpha+ world city, in 2014 Tokyo was ranked first in the “Best overall experience” category of Trip-advisor’s World City Survey. Tokyo also ranked first in the following categories:
“Helpfulness of locals”
“Local public transportation”
“Cleanliness of streets”

In 2015, Tokyo was ranked as the world’s 11th most expensive city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s cost of living survey.
In 2015 Tokyo was named the Most Liveable City in the world by the magazine Monocle. The Michelin Guide has awarded Tokyo by far the most Michelin stars of any city in the world.
Tokyo ranked first in the world in the Safe Cities Index.
Tokyo hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 1979 G-7 summit, the 1986 G-7 summit, and the 1993 G-7 summit, the city will also host the 2020 Summer Olympics and the 2020 Summer Paralympics.

These are all points I can build the brand upon, things unique to Tokyo as a city that people would want to visit, just to see some of these specific qualities for themselves.

Looking at all of these logos, they are all very graphic and colourful – possibly to symbolise the diversity of the place or event these are representing – I want to stray away from that and create something a little more subtle and typography related. The reason being is that people have seen these sorts of things before, if I am branding a city to represent it’s people, I want them to feel like they have something fresh, new and innovative to be proud of – a fresh marketing technique.


Below are some travel guides currently in use, in my opinion these don’t have a very good brand image of the country – they are simply a picture and some surprisingly boring text above.
My mission is to get rid of the usual coloured stripe over a picture appearance and create something a little different that people will be proud to get out on the streets.


After evaluating these covers and logos (plus many more on the internet & from the travel agencies I visited) I decided that there was too much monotone going on, the same colours, old text goes with old text & new text goes with new text sort of invisible rule that was going on.
It was then that something sparked my interest – what if old and new were mixed? That would surely be a clash, though after looking at the below images of traditional Japanese art and modern day Tokyo, I realised that this may be one of the few contrasts in which this could work




I have decided to start creating my logo – to brand Tokyo.
I began with sketches so that I could get my ideas and general layouts on paper first.


Immediately I turned to the more traditional Japanese illustrations and typography as to keep the traditional feel, then I went for a bold, sans-serif font to contradict the old feel. This contradicting nature is a tactic of attracting consumers attention, because when they see something that isn’t meant to be together, it will seem unique – fresh and new.

After deciding on the contrast between new and old, I moved over to the mac and started playing around on indesign, keeping this old-new style mixture fresh in my mind.

After brainstorming all different ideas for my travel guide/Japan logo (see previous post) I took to the computer to recreate several of my favourite designs, below I have compiled the development stages of my logo.
I decided to go for the fully typographic & graphic appearance in the end, also to stick with the red colour, the same pantone as the Japanese Flag.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.21.13Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.20.51Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.20.53Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.20.58
I liked having the pantone of the Japanese flag in my work – though the designs above became a little crowded for my liking. Though the red looks good in limited quantities

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.21.02
Below are the logos I liked the best, though the one I have chosen to go with is shown below the following image.Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 07.21.05

Final Logo draft:

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 22.31.03.png

A final look into branding a city before I start creating my guide:

Brand Values and Brand Association

Style, design, quality, brand association, exclusivity and superiority reinforce brand ethos.

The report should also include reasons justifying your design decisions in response to your marketing analysis. Include how you have considered graphic elements of colour, shape, form, typeface(s) visual impact, style, fitness for purpose and mood.

How do cities successfully build a name and make a lasting impact.

Successful branding can turn a city into a place where people want to eat, live, work and visit.

A strong identity is vital if you are vying with other places for attention in tourism and business or

re-launching an area after a regeneration initiative.


To give myself a start, I researched some landmarks of Japan and some traditional Japanese patterns:

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One of these patterns I like in particular is the simple, circular pattern below:

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 22.26.10.png

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The reds and beautiful structures of Traditional Japanese architecture inspired me to create a very rough layout of my Travel Brochure. This isn’t what my final outcome will look like, just a kind of rough layout reference for my use. I do this with all my design work as I like to create something from things that already exist.. if that makes sense. I feel more comfortable if I have a “sketch”, much like when I draw. First thing’s first: font.
What I did was similar to my logo creation – I lined them up and decided which one looked the best next to my logo – I also took into consideration if the fonts had features like bold, thin, italic etc.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 09.37.32.png

I then kerned the type a tiny bit for personal reference, as per usual.

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Below is my first rough page design, as you can see I chose a simple 6 column page a little smaller than A4, more pocket size to make it suitable for travelling. For the header I chose a strip that spans the double page spread yet falls just short of the page edges. In my opinion this looks more unique than the standard line… whilst still fitting into the “line” category. The Kanji at the top says “Tokyo”.
From this one page I created a few more as my rough guides that I mentioned I like to work to.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 18.25.41.pngScreen Shot 2015-11-05 at 18.25.49.pngScreen Shot 2015-11-05 at 18.29.58.png

I decided to go with the “CIRCLES” theme as I find the simple pattern beautiful and versatile, as you can see I created clouds out of the pattern (I will show how I made it below) with the page info coming down like rain to mimic the Japanese wet season.
From the get go I knew I wanted to make something a little bit quirky, hopefully you can see my ideas forming… The next thing to add was the information for the travel guide and I must say…. writing all of this took me HOURS. The beginnings are below, I would explain everything that I wrote but the guide itself is pretty self explanatory.

Something I noticed with many travel guides is that they spread huge chunks of information over many pages with hugely unnecessary layouts and messy typography with far too many images. My goal is to try and avoid all of this and make a compact booklet that will hastily inform tourists over 1-4 pages at most. There shall be a mixture of illustration, typography and photography distributed as I see fit.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.50.24.png

Below is how I created the circular, traditional pattern in Illustrator – this was a bit of a learning experience for me as Illustrator is by no means my strong point.

The above basically shows the process of me making a pattern and arranging them to tile perfectly hence creating the pattern. I also showed how I made the clouds I mentioned by clipping into the picture with the pen tool and ‘stitching; them together.
Another thing I tried was the waves but I felt it was a little too typical and contradicted the block-colour red circular theme I have going on so I scrapped it – I just wanted to show this as part of my development.

Eventually I finished the text…. after a long long time haha. You can see below that I started to arrange the text into columns according to the grid system that I set up.Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 22.18.03.png

I used the grid system accordingly – setting the text into the lines. I chose to use two paragraphs of varying thicknesses for each page. Not only does this balance the page better but it avoids that horrible formal look I mentioned is present in a lot of modern travel guides.

More on the subject of typography, I wanted to stray away from the one-size-fits-all look. This is why I chose 3 different type sizes and fonts to accommodate these sizes and the message they give. Above you can see the regular type alongside a bold Japanese font, then two smaller Kana fonts. These are designed to balance out the page and add visually appealing typography to break up the information so it isn’t so overwhelming seems though I chose to use large paragraphs. Also the colours I chose are very important for grabbing attention.
The reason I used Japanese style typography is because I want to create an accurate representation of Tokyo – I want to make something the locals can be proud to say represents their home as well as being appealing to the reader.

Moving on to the images I chose to use.
Much like the typography, I have done many different things with the images you see in the travel guide. I have the standardised list of images for information purposes, as well as photographs featuring red overlays to keep in line with the red theme and cut through the whiteness of the page.
The purpose of full page images is to have an impact on the reader alongside showing them Japan in a way that will make them wow.
Black and white images are very moody and sombre – as you can see below I have chosen this image specifically to turn black and white because of it;s beautiful depth and almost eerie appearance.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 02.28.49Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 02.28.53Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 02.28.57Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 02.29.02

I thought it would be fun and informative to include the Japanese Hiragana & Katakana alphabets for the readers who are willing to go the extra learning step on their travels.

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 02.28.41.png

Finally was to create the billboards for the travel guide/for Tokyo itself. Below is some screenshots of the Photoshop process I used to make these billboards. Basically I used various warping/perspective tools to morph the size of the image before adding the logo on top.
I definitely opted for a really simple look – I think overcrowding the poster really detracts from the beauty of the images and the typography layout in the logo.

My final outcomes:

Billboard 1Billboard2
This has been a very fun project for me. I love Japan and I really enjoyed researching Tokyo as it may come in handy to myself if I ever travel there (which I probably will haha). I think I am becoming more accustomed to InDesign which was one of my goals when I first started my degree – it really shows practice makes perfect. Well, almost perfect.
Thank you for following my development journey and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See the finished outcome below:

Pocket Tour Guide


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